Iowa National Guard - Frequently Asked Questions
Choosing to serve in any component of the military is an important decision. It is a choice we do not expect you to take lightly. We have put together a list of questions and answers compiled from years of helping people transition into the military. You might even find an answer to a question you didn't think to ask!
Soldiers must meet and maintain strict medical, moral, and physical
standards. Unfortunately, not everyone meets our strict eligibility
You can enlist for as few as three years, with an additional
commitment to the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). IRR Soldiers don't
train with a unit, but can still be called up in the event of an
For more information about our enlistment options and service obligations, you should contact a recruiter.
Yes. Because of the National Guard's dual state-federal mission,
Guard members can be mobilized to protect and defend America in battle
domestically or overseas.
Should this happen, you'll be trained, ready and prepared to go, mentally and physically. Soldiers cannot be deployed until they have completed both Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training, or while they are attending High School.
The National Guard is unique, both in terms of our mission, and our
Unlike the other branches of the Armed Forces, we have a dual mission, meaning we answer to both State and Federal governments while simultaneously receiving benefits funded by both. Our Soldiers train part-time, which allows them to take advantage of our benefits while they serve as opposed to waiting until their service obligation has ended.
The length of time for deployments will vary, depending on the
State active duty missions usually run from 15-60 days, while federal deployments are usually a minimum of 12 months. Guard Soldiers may also choose to volunteer for active duty assignments (for example, Border Patrol), and again, the length of deployment will vary.
Your total enlistment period will be eight years, but you can serve
as little as three or six years, and spend the remainder in the
Individual Ready Reserve (IRR).
IRR Soldiers don't train with a unit, but can still be called up in the event of an emergency. Your local recruiter can explain how this works, discuss your options with you, and help you make the best choice for your needs.
For more information about our enlistments options and service obligations, you should contact a recruiter.
Some schools take as few as 4-9 weeks, while other more specialized or critical jobs require training that could last up to 64 weeks.
Yes. Many of our Soldiers choose to join while they are still
attending high school as a Junior or Senior.
New Warriors train in special units as part of our Recruit Sustainment Program (RSP) which is designed to help prepare them for Basic Training. We even offer a Split Training Option for high school students, which allows them to attend Basic Training during the Summer between their Junior and Senior year.
It's hard. Intense. Demanding. You'll love it! Basic
Combat Training (BCT) is a 10-week training program consisting of
exercises and drills designed to transform you into a Soldier, and
indoctrinate you into military culture.
The time is broken down into three phases. Each phase lasts approximately three weeks. The final phase concludes with a graduation ceremony before you return home to your family as a Citizen-Soldier.
The ASVAB, or Armed Services Vocational Aptitude
Battery, is a series of tests used to determine an applicant's
qualification for military service and help determine their intellectual
and occupational strengths.
That's up to you. When you enlist, you'll choose a job—known as a
Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), which is Guard
speak for “your job.”
You will have the opportunity to choose from a variety of occupations available within the National Guard. Each job has unique eligibility requirements, specific to that MOS, and your recruiter will have to determine your eligibility before helping you select the MOS that is right for you.
You'll train (also called “drill”) one weekend per month plus a
two-week period each year. For most of the training weekends, you'll be
with us Saturday and Sunday only, though occasionally you'll be asked to
report for duty on a Friday night.
Annual training can run slightly longer (generally 2 weeks), depending on your Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). Soldiers cannot be deployed or attend Annual Training until they have completed both Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training, or while they are attending High School. When Soldiers are deployed, they serve whenever and wherever they are needed.
You will attend drill at one of the 40 locations throughout Iowa!
If called to action, it is probable that you will remain in-state. However, in the case of a major emergency, such as in Hurricane Katrina, you could be sent to another state to help. It's also possible you'll be deployed to another country in support of combat operations, such as to the Middle East to assist in the War on Terrorism.