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Guard Vs AF Reserves

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Okay - I've found a few different threads that sort of tackled this question but I was hoping to get a better thread put together for this. I just realized that I could apply for Guard units (and that they existed), and that opens up a few more doors to me in terms of available units to apply to. I'm looking to stay somewhat local if possible, and I found some Guard units near me that fly the planes I'm most interested in. It would be ideal if I could get a slot at one of the local ones so I can be more involved in the unit's activities and have more opportunities to fly and is just better for long term (I'm in it for the long haul!). I don't have a problem moving for a few years to other reserve units that are further away, but not having to commute after moving back home would be more advantageous for everyone I'm sure.

Anyway so some main points I wanted to figure out are:

1.) Are the missions the same for both? Would a guard unit (any airframe: Fighters, Transports, Tankers) have the same opportunities of involvement on the war on terror, or future wars/battles we may have? I've seen Guard units do international missions - humanitarian missions in countries (like puerto rico), and training missions with other countries over seas.

1a) If we do go to war with another country - does the Guard have the opportunity to be called to fight in the war overseas (or are they more/less likely to be involved)? I know for reserves you could be called by the president to active duty - but the Guard is under control of state I believe so I'm not sure how that works.

2.) Are the benefits the same for both? Medical benefits is the biggest concern for me and my family of course. But how about retirement, and any other ones? The ANG website wasn't as descriptive as the AFR website with benefits.

3.) Does the Guard have the same 'schedule' - for example: training x days per month and x weeks per year and then going on active duty missions for x months every x years? Is it more, or less for Guard - the time spent doing training or active duty missions (correct terminology if it's off!)?

4.) Any doors/opportunities that shut if you join either one? 

5.) Is the training all the same for both for piloting - OTS, IFT (for no ppl), UPT, etc.?

6.) Any other miscellaneous things you want to point out? 

As always, I appreciate your input!

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1. Yes, missions are 99% the same in flying squadrons. Guard units can be activated by the state or federal, which get interesting with CoC, but it's all the same. You will deploy.

2. Can't speak to Guard benefits, but if you're ANG (which you probably will be for the first few years), you'll have the same coverage as active duty.

3. Flying squadrons typically don't have that schedule, regardless of Guard/Reserves. You'll have your UTA weekends, but you'll also spend another 5-7 days at the squadron as well. TDYs are fairly frequent, so basically ignore the "one weekend a month two weeks a year" thing - doesn't exits.

4. Not really.

5. Yes, it's all the same.

6. Plan on moving near your base. Especially your first few years, you'll be at the squadron everyday, so you don't want to plan on traveling.

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I’m in the Reserves...been in for about 11 years.... deployed numerous times.... Guard and reserve are the same...just different pot of money... (in my opinion).  Both are awesome! 

1)...yes.  deployments for reserves...seems like every two years, 120-day deployments with an opportunity to split that if you want.  During time of war, Commander in chief is the president....and during peace, it’s your governor. (for Guard). The government is not going to allow assets like the F-16 or other airframe within the Guard sit on the sidelines during a time of war.

2) Yes....Tricare


3)It depends....every weekend and two weeks a year are what’s required.  Staying current within your airframe is another set.  There are many orders that can drop....TDY's, TACC, pickup another units etc.


4) None


5) Total Force Training....One Team One Fight!! we all train together. Same.


6) your question was loaded...but good on you for seeking out answers and figuring out what’s best for you and your family!  


Again, I am a reservist.....I love it! I've been all over the world and been treated very well.  Its what you make of it.  I have also worked with the Guard, they're phenomenal.  Both have great opportunities and in my honest opinion...very similar.  If you want to stay close to home...find that unit and apply.  You will not be disappointed if you make the best of it.  Good luck.


If I seemed to miss some of your questions...let me know.  More than happy to help.

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