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National Guard vs. Army Reserve

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I am a recent new grad (17 months out) and I am looking at joining the National Guard or the Army Reserve to get a little help with my CRUSHING school loan debt. Anybody have any thoughts on pros and cons of one vs. the other? Likelihood of deployment of one vs. the other?

 

I am older than the average new guy(40), and I have a wife and kids, so that's why I am considering one of the more "part-time" service options.

 

Thanks.

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It all depends on the type of unit in which you get attached. Different types of units deploy at different rates and in some cases, different lengths of time (also can depend on branch). Like EMEDPA said, check out the other services as well and don't forget about Coast Guard if you're looking to stay close by and you're near the beach somewhere. Marines are the only service to not have a medical branch for that everything medical related is provided by the Navy (i.e. Navy Corpsman, PA's, Dr's, Nurses, etc).

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I live in Tennessee so I know of Guard and Reserve units close to where I live. That is interesting about the PHS and a ready reserve unit.. I wonder what they would offer in the way of Loan repayment... Just did a quick search on PHS duty stations.. None in Tennessee.

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Air Guard is offering bonuses for PAs. Last I checked, it was about $45K. The Air Guard, you don't have as many deployments, unless you volunteer. There are plenty of opportunities to deploy and the tours are about 90-180 days.

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Get over the deployment thing. The question isn't if you will deploy only when. I hated it when PAs would whine and cry about deploying. They were happy to take the money but threw a fit when the Guard expected them to deploy. Once you get past that I had a great time as a PA in the Guard for 20+ yrs.

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Get over the deployment thing. The question isn't if you will deploy only when. I hated it when PAs would whine and cry about deploying. They were happy to take the money but threw a fit when the Guard expected them to deploy. Once you get past that I had a great time as a PA in the Guard for 20+ yrs.

 

Thank you for saying this. I don't even see why someone would want to join a part-time unit if they didn't want to deploy.

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Get over the deployment thing. The question isn't if you will deploy only when. I hated it when PAs would whine and cry about deploying. They were happy to take the money but threw a fit when the Guard expected them to deploy. Once you get past that I had a great time as a PA in the Guard for 20+ yrs.

 

Spot on. Being in the military and trying to avoid deployments is equivalent to someone who works in the ER but doesn't want to be around blood...

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If you're only interested in the loan repayment, please don't join the military. For a good understanding of what's involved, read Commander Richard Jadick's book "On Call in Hell." One of his reasons for writing it the book was to discourage the wrong sort of person from taking the Navy medical scholarship. While the Second Battle of Fallujah is a pretty extreme example of modern warfare, the book provides a detailed look of what a PA or MD in the military could be up against.

 

http://www.amazon.com/On-Call-Hell-Doctors-Story/dp/045122308X/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1359231152&sr=8-1

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I'm not a PA yet, but I have served in both the Guard and the Reserve. Here is my take on the two.

When I was in the Army Reserve, I was in an AR-MEDCOM USAH unit. We never deployed or mobilized as a whole unit but were instead mobilized one at a time on an individual basis. Actual deployments to war zones were very rare. What usually happened was when a Regular Army medical unit shipped off overseas, personnel in my unit were mobilized to provide for the missing medical professionals at their home base. Because of this, our roster constantly had at least 50% rotated/mobilized at any time. There was very little sense of camaraderie. Lots of command confusion.

 

I transferred to the Guard and have enjoyed it much better. You serve with a fixed group of individuals and will likely deploy with the same individuals you train with. You get to know the people much better. The CONUS mobilizations are extremely rare, but most Guard units deploy on a 5 year cycle. Every state is different in terms of quality.

 

It seemed like opportunities for promotion were easier in the Reserve than the Guard because promotions are often limited by available slots in your state.

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Troygem,

 

Your interest in the military is commendable. I have been in the Army National Guard for 10 years this summer, will be going to PA school starting this summer and intend to stay in for another 10 (at least) because I deeply enjoy taking care of Soldiers and serving my country. Make sure you are joining for the right reasons. Being a medic, I have come into contact with a number of providers who didnt want to be there. I suspect they only joined for the finanical reasons and thought it would be an easy way to pay for school. This is a completely bull*$#@ reason to join, in my humble opinion. Just make sure you join for the right reasons, money being VERY low on the list. If financial gain is the only reason, you will most likely regret your decision. Trust me, I've seen many disgruntled Soldiers for that very reason.

 

My best advice, and I went through this on a few occasions. Do some deep soul searching, make sure your family is FULLY aware of the variables and choose the service that fits you because you want to serve. It will be worth you time.

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I read this and thought you were asking, "how can I get money for loan repayment without having to do anything service related... you know wear the uniform and all but not really deploy. Is it better in the guard or reserves?". I am glad I'm not the only one who saw it that way. As a five time deployer and purple heart recipient we don't want you in our ranks.... Sorry, both the guard and the reserves deploy. If you're looking for an easy way to pay off school debt with minimal commitment go see Docs without boarders or the Public Health Service Corps. They pay well and have uniforms that resemble people who are really willing to serve their country.

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If you're only interested in the loan repayment, please don't join the military. For a good understanding of what's involved, read Commander Richard Jadick's book "On Call in Hell." One of his reasons for writing it the book was to discourage the wrong sort of person from taking the Navy medical scholarship. While the Second Battle of Fallujah is a pretty extreme example of modern warfare, the book provides a detailed look of what a PA or MD in the military could be up against.

 

http://www.amazon.com/On-Call-Hell-Doctors-Story/dp/045122308X/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1359231152&sr=8-1

 

Also read "Sabers Edge" and "Paradise General", both are about combat medics in wartime. Reflecting on what you can expect before deployment and when deployed. The sunny side and the gloomy side. You should see the pros and cons before you decide what is right for you and your family. But...Please join because you want to contribute medicine to this country, you will get allot of experience and be a better PA and soldier if you are there for the right reasons.

 

I am considering this same route, I have a family also. I have a brother-in-law and sister-in-law in the marines; deployed often for a year at a time. I think it is a scary idea to be deployed, I would think even the enlisted would be anxious about deployment...but...you join knowing that you will be sent to fight for this country, either on the front lines or in a hospital.

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If you're looking for an easy way to pay off school debt with minimal commitment go see Docs without borders .

doctors without borders doesn't typically use pa's, although they use np's....

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Hello Troygem, I just commissioned as 1LT as a PA in the ARNG. If you have any questions I can give you my experience, since its fresh (literally commissioned 2 days ago) I may be able to give you an idea of the current process.

 

Cheers!

Andrew

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doctors without borders doesn't typically use pa's, although they use np's....

 

Is there a reason for this? Is there anyone trying to change this? I thought about putting my language and love of austere locations to work for global good for a change, but when I checked their web page they said that the locals fill the role of PAs, so they don't need them.

 

I may stop contributing to them, and just sending a letter why in the envelope until they get with the program.

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I've been in the ANG for exactly one year and have had a great time. The reimbursement is much more significant in the ANG/Army Reserves than the other services. Also, if you're interested in line or infantry units the Guard is the way to go as there are no infantry units in the Army Reserves. Feel free to message me if you want and we can discuss the application process or what ever else you might want to know

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I am a 1LT in the NC National Guard. I firmly recommend that you look at the Army Reserves. There is a much larger pile of monies up for grabs at the federal level. My state is broke. I was promised $75K in loan repayments and it loooks like it may not happen. I will probably switch to regular Army after I complete my PA program. I wish you the best. Feel free to ask me anything you like. I am in the unique position to have some answers.

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So the HLRP (Health Loan Repayment Program) isn't funded by the states but the NGB. I looked at both the ANG and the Regular Army website and the dollar amounts for the special pay and loan reimbursement are no longer there. It may be that with the new financial landscape the $75K loan reimbursement is no longer available. I would check with both recruiters from both branches and find out what is still available

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