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Air National Guard allows Airmen to continue serving, keep benefits

Air National Guard allows Airmen to continue serving, keep benefits

Grand reopening of the New Mexico Air National Guard Storefront occurred on April 6th, 2019. (Air National Guard Photo by Senior Airman Ian Beckley)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

Separating from the military can be a stressful experience, people are often nervous when transitioning from the military to the civilian world. The Air National Guard can allow them to experience the best of both worlds.

The Guard is currently comprised of more than 100,000 Airmen, a majority of whom have spent some time on active duty. These Airmen have continued to serve in both a part-time and full-time capacity upon separation from the active duty Air Force.

"People coming off of active duty are the backbone of the Guard and Reserve,” Tech. Sgt. Jessica Prigmore, 195th Wing recruiting and retention, NCOIC. “There are people who have grown up in the Guard, but it’s around 25 percent of the force. The rest of it is people who did at least four years of active duty and are able to train the others.”

Some of the main factors for people who decide to transition to the Guard is the desire to keep serving in some capacity and the benefits, which include affordable health care, educational assistance, and pay.

“What most people think about when they get out of active duty is whether or not they want to cut ties with the military or hang on to some benefits,” said Prigmore. “One of the most tangible benefits is the Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP), which is six months of Tricare. After that, you can enroll in Tricare select reserve. The educational benefits like grants and tuition assistance vary state to state, but a few states provide full-tuition.”

Prigmore hopes anyone considering joining look into a program in the Guard known as the ‘try one’ where an Airmen can sign a one year contract.

"The try one is a program where someone can try just one year with us in a part-time capacity and feel it out to see if it is something they enjoy,” said Prigmore.”The commitment is one weekend out of the month and two weeks out of the year.”

Prigmore recommends to individuals interested in Palace Front, which is the process from going from active duty into the Guard, to begin the process six months before their date of separation.

“They are going to work with two recruiters,” said Prigmore. “Every base is going to have an in-service recruiter. The in-service recruiter provides them with options and once they help narrow down what the person wants to do and connects them with a state recruiter. The state recruiter provides them with info on openings and gets them medically qualified to cross over.”

Many of the Airmen who join the Guard enjoy the opportunities provided to them, which includes cross training, progressing in rank, and controlling where they are stationed.

“I did a little over seven years active duty and the transition for me was very easy.” Tech. Sgt. Renee Martin, 195th Wing training manager. “I like the fact that I have more control over my career, where i want to be, and what I want to do.”

For more information please visit www.goang.com and contact your local in-service recruiter.