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When I got out of AIT and came to my Reserve unit there was a pretty sudden reality check. It was a weird change in pace to go from a highly structured TRADOC environment to a unit where an officer in her early 60s had a negligent discharge and flagged a firing line was considered normal. If you've seen A Combat Veteran's Drew Hernandez incredible videos describing the ugliness of being a part-time Soldier, you know that there's a real gold-mine of material from the other half of the military.
i can relate slightly.. i joined the virginia guard back in 2000. we deployed to iraq in 2003 and then came home in 2004.. the guard is alot more relaxed than active duty and alot of reserve units.. but the guys i served with were shit tight when it came to deployment to a war zone.. not to say we didnt have our share of bad apples.. every unit does... but yea after iraq the guard seemed like a joke in alot of ways..
I was told I missed a GREAT National Guard experience pre- 9/11. They used to load the artillery with beer and ice so you could open the breach on a howitzer and pull out a bud light during drill weekend. They tightened up quite a bit after the towers fell, started actually enforcing SOME kinda standard, but reserve/NG is always looser than active for sure.
the guard experience wasnt all bad.. i was a guy that needed to be active duty.. cause the constant transition from 2 day a month 2 weeks a year soldier back to 28 days a civi i lost the bearing to keep up the height and weight standard it was hard as hell to do. if i was active and it was in my face all the time i wouldnt have lost the dicipline . how i made it 6 years in the guard is beyond me.. probably because pt tests were once a year and i would start working out a month in advance to pass them..
if i would have went active i would probably have stayed in and made a career cause the military isnt a bad career choice.. i joined in jan/2000 and if would have stayed in i could retire at 37 and im 36 now.. i kick myself in the ass sometimes.. but i get a va pension for issues from iraq. that combined with a good job im doing well.. but still
I got done with my 4 years as a POG, was told that reserves would be great. Once I was checked in I started hear stories of reservists just disappearing. Some would just walk up to GySgt's and talk to them like they were bros. Its a whole different world in the reserves.