A group of male Service Members on patrol.
Understanding the  Military Experience
Reserves and National Guard

"They may be called upon to strengthen active forces in peacetime and in time of war, provide support during national emergencies or lead community service efforts." (Quote Source)

Reserve and National Guard forces serve with the active duty counterparts in support of our military. Often balancing a life of service with civilian jobs and duties, these service members generally serve part-time and have a commitment to participate in training drills one weekend a month and two weeks per year.

While the Reserve are under the federal command of their respective military branch (for example, Army Reserve are under the command of the Army) the National Guard is normally organized and controlled by the state. However, in times of war, the National Guard can become federalized and deployed.

Of note, the National Guard is a dual mission force with both a federal and a state mission. Each guardsman holds membership in the National Guard of his or her state and in the National Guard of the United States.

Each Reserve and National Guard service involves different requirements, commitments and responsibilities.

  • Learn more about the difference between someone who is 'active duty' and someone who is in the Reserve or National Guard.

    Learn about the difference, the roles of the Reserve and National Guard, and what it means when they deploy in our Active Duty vs. Reserve or National Guard handout.

  • Reserve and National Guard Eligibility for VA Benefits:
    Learn more.




" Reserve and National Guard forces serve with the active duty counterparts in support of our military."