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National Guard Post PA School

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I have been considering the military after I graduate PA school because I have a significant amount of debt and I think it would be a great experience. Can someone explain the process of joining the National Guard as a PA with no previous military experience? Also, what is the commitment and role of a PA in the guard? Are there significant benefits for loan repayment? I would rather hear this first from someone who has been in this situation rather than a recruiter. 


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This is a great option to get your loans repaid, BUT (and it is a big but), remember you are at the mercy of whichever service you join and they may ship you off on very short notice to Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. Recruiters lie. They will tell you it is "one weekend a month and two weeks every summer". In Peacetime, sure. Just remember you can be called up for national disasters, to back up regular army groups, etc. A good friend of mine signed up for loan repayment purposes, was told the chance of deployment was "unlikely and remote" and was shipped to Afghanistan right from his advanced officers basic training. No notice. Get on the bus. you are being activated. 

If you are ok with that and feel a desire or calling to serve, more power to you and best of luck, but if you think it is free loan repayment and a "money for nothing, chicks for free" situation you may find yourself unpleasantly surprised. 

Image result for picture one weekend a month two weeks a summer iraq

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EMEDPA gave good advice OP. I was in the Guard back in the day and spent a year in Afghanistan doing combat operations when it was pretty hot there. My unit has also spent significant amounts of time in Iraq, Kuwait, the horn of Africa, etc. I wasn't a PA when I was in, so I can't speak much on that specifically, but I've heard it's a sweet gig relative to a lot of other jobs (key word relative -- it's still the military, and there's still a lot of BS involved regardless of your specific job). 

The deployment tempo for the Guard was much higher in the mid-late 2000's and early 2010's, but you should still be aware of the possibility of deploying and should probably expect to do at least one deployment during your contract (not a guarantee, but it's a significant commitment if you do deploy since they're usually 9-12 months long). We still have troops (including National Guard units) in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Kuwait, etc, so those are still very real possibilities. Then of course there are the state-side disaster duties.  

The benefits can be pretty good, but just do your research and know what you're getting yourself into. 

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