Guard Guide 101

Guard Guide 101

Military life can be draining, especially when you don’t live near other military families. Guard your family by being prepared for what ever this life throws your way!

Guard Guide 101 is dedicated to providing resources and information for National Guard and Reserve families.


The only event out there for National Guard, Reserve, and spouses not near a military installation!

We recognize that the daily life of a National Guard and Reserve spouse looks a little different than the active counterpart. The close knit on-post community doesn’t always translate into the daily life of those that are geographically dispersed. This event is designed to take you through an interactive experience built with the Reserve component spouse in mind. You will have the chance to:

  •   Find impactful support
  •   Share coping tips and skills
  •   Create a support network of like-minded friends with similar experiences and challenges

Find an event near you and register for free. Don’t see an upcoming event near you? Reach out to us at to request us to come to your area!



After speaking with Guard and Reserve families, a numerous amount of research was compiled for this section. Families voiced their concerns on what information would be helpful. This section provides information on resources available to help Guard and Reserve families. If you know of a resource not on this list, please send it to

5 Military Organizations That Actually Serve National Guard Families

New to the National Guard

The Role of the Army National GuardNGLowDown

The first thing you should know is that the National Guard answers to both state and Federal governments. This means that they can be called up by the governor of the state or by the President of the United States. They can be called to deploy overseas or to help their home state during a natural disaster or another type of emergency. Sometimes they get called in to help other states that need extra help.

Preparing yourself for any of these assignments is a good idea. Keeping the idea in mind will make it easier if it ever happens. You can’t exactly plan for this but you can be aware of the possibility.

Monthly Drills

Your service member will drill every month of the year. Sometimes they will have three weeks in between, other times a month, and even possibly six weeks between drills. They will receive a calendar ahead of time which is helpful, but the dates can also change. The calendar will allow you to plan ahead, but don’t forget that the dates could change. Some drills are just two days, some are three, and about twice a year they have only been one day on the weekend. You will see on the drill calendar either “Unit Training Assemblies” (UTA) or “Multiple Unit Training Assemblies” (MUTA).

A UTA is an evening drill or a half-day drill that lasts two to four hours. A MUTA refers to two or more UTAs that take place during one day or over the course of two or more days. No more than two training assemblies may be performed in one calendar day, meaning that a single-day MUTA will last a maximum of eight hours. Each time a National Guard member attends a UTA, he or she earns one retirement point. Thus, attending a MUTA that lasts one full day (eight hours) earns two retirement points. The National Guard offers a detailed explanation of the point and retirement system on its official website.

Image Courtesy Google Images

They will also be paid based on a number of days they have for a drill for the month. So the pay will be different monthly. You can figure out the exact pay using the Pay Calculator.

Annual Training


When you think of the National Guard, you hear the “One weekend a month, two weeks a year” slogan. So what is the “two weeks a year” all about? This is when they go to their Annual Training and are gone for two weeks. The location varies by state unit and is normally out of state for two weeks of training.


Deployment and Family

Be Prepared, Make a Readiness Folder

Contact Information:

Gather together key contact information from your spouse, the base website or anyone else you can get it from.

1. Family Services ContactsLet Me Have A Look At The Reports” by stockimages

  • Family Programs local
  • Family Readiness Assistant
  • Youth Programs
  • Air Wing Family Programs Coordinator (or other branch Equivalent)

2. Support Services

  • Military OneSource Consultant
  • Transition Assistance Advisor
  • ESGR (Employer Support Guard/Reserve)
  • TriWest (for your area)
  • ID Cards/DEERS
  • Survivor Outreach Services
  • American Red Cross

3. Wellness Team

  • Director of Psychological Health
  • Military Family Life Consultant (adult/family & child/youth)
  • Chaplain
  • Personal Finance Counselor
  • Suicide Hotline (national (800) 273-TALK)

4. Yellow Ribbon Program contact info

5. Your local unit or operations group contacts

  • Group Commander
  • Squadron Commander
  • Operations Support Commander
  • Director of Operations
  • First Sergeant

6. Track down the list of FRG or Key Spouses, or maybe your s/o’s buddy’s spouse or significant other. Finding a connection with another spouse, girlfriend or family member connected to your spouse is important, even if it’s just one.

Pre-deployment Information Form

Find one of these and fill it out before a deployment. This will have important information for the unit,; like deployment location and time information, who your family is, who your children are, emergency contacts, information about you so that you can be located, and specific concerns about the deployment. It is important that you are kept in the loop during a deployment.

Important Dates

Include an important dates section in your folder – drill schedules, special events, or local events that might be helpful to those stationed near you, and for those that are not. They may want to make the trek closer if there will be special base events or holiday events (especially for families). There is also usually a unit BBQ. For the National Guard, many states have a State Military Ball where all branches affiliated with the Guard and Reserves in the area are usually invited.

What My Family Should Know:

This is a guide for all the things you should know, your family should know. It is also a great way to get the conversation going about topics no one wants to talk about. Let’s face it, who really wants to have a conversation about funeral arrangements before anyone is actually passed on. Talking about those things is important none the less. Here’s a link to a packet if your unit doesn’t have one.

Support Sites

Joint Services Support

Defense Centers of Excellence

DoD Reserve Affairs

National Guard Bureau Family Program

Army Reserve Family Programs

Army FRG

Air Force Crossroads

Air Force Casualty Services

Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Family Programs

National Center for PTSD, Returning from the War Zone: A Guide for Families of Military Members, 06

National Military Families Association

Army Community Servicehelp-your-spouse-prepare-for-military-transition-e1439326447222

Mental Health Resources

Defense Centers of Excellence

Health Care Information


TRICARE Service Centers

Employment Resources

Organizations/Financial Resources

Air Compassion For Veterans
Air Warrior Courage Foundation (AWCF)
American Veterans With Brain Injuries
America’s VetDogs
Armed Forces Foundation (AFF)
Army Emergency Relief
Association of the United States Army – Family Programs
Azalea Charities, Inc
Back in the Saddle, Bit by Bit (BITS)
Blue Star Riders
Bob Woodruff Foundation
Bryan McDonough Military Heroes Foundation
Caring Bridge
Caring For Troops
Coalition To Salute America’s Heroes
Comfort for America’s Uniformed Services (CAUSE)
Disabled Sports, USA
Enable America/Vet Connect
Family and Friends For Freedom Fund, Inc
Fisher House Foundation
Folds of Honor
Freedom Alliance
Freedom Calls Foundation
Give An Hour
Grace After Fire
Helmets to Hardhats
Heroes To Hometowns
Hire Heroes USA
Hope For The Warriors
Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund
Lakeshore Foundation – Lima Foxtrot Programs
Marine Parents
Military Heroes Fund – Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation
Military Ministry
Military Order of the Purple Heart( MOPH)
Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN)
National Military Family Association
National Veterans Foundation
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
Net Pet’s Military Pets Foster Program
Operation First Response
Operation Healthy Reunions
Operation Life Transformed
Operation Second Chance
Our Military Kids
Pilots for Christ International
Project Victory (part of The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research Foundation)
Rebuilding Together’s Veterans Housing
Reserve Aid
Road 2 Recovery
Salute Military Golf Association
Salute Our Services
Sew Much Comfort
Sock Monkey Ministries
Soldiers’ Angels
Still Serving Veterans
Strategic Outreach To Families of All Reservists (SOFAR)
Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund
The 4E Network (A NJ Nonprofit Corporation)
The Coming Home Project
The Soldier’s Project
The Thank You Foundation
US Troop Support Foundation
USA Cares
USO of Metropolitan Washington
Vacations For Veterans
Veteran’ Families United
Veteran Love and Appreciation Fund
Veteran’s Airlift Command
Veterans Outreach Center
Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation
Wounded Warrior Project
Yellow Ribbon Fund

Commissary Resources – Guard/Reserve On–site Sales

Bringing the benefit to you

The Guard/Reserve On-site Sales Program provides the commissary benefit to deserving Guard/Reserve members and their families that live in areas that are not close to an existing commissary store. These sales are not only for the Guard and Reserve…they’re for any authorized shopper. We bring the benefit directly to you at these sales which provide patrons savings of 30% or more; the same as active duty military and their families who shop the commissaries on a regular basis. Read More.


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