The Air Guard takes care of its people! When you join, you become eligible for a long list of benefits.
We encourage you to talk with a recruiter, who can explain each of these in more detail. For now, here are a few highlights, starting with two of the most popular -- pay and education.
First -- yes, members of the National Guard do get paid!
How much you get paid depends on a number of factors, with your rank and your time in service being two of the most important.
A quick explanation: There are nine enlisted ranks, from Airman Basic (commonly called an E-1) to Chief Master Sergeant (E-9). When you first enlist in the Air National Guard, your rank will be either E-1, E-2 or E-3, depending on a variety of factors (for example: the career field you sign up for, the amount of college you've had, JROTC participation, and whether you were an Eagle Scout or Billy Mitchell Award winner).
If you enlist with no prior military experience, you can expect to take home about $205 for one drill weekend. That number climbs with rank and experience. A Master Sergeant (E-7) who has served for 10 years will take home around $435 per weekend.
If you have a college degree, you may be eligible for an officer position. If commissioned as an officer you will join the guard as a Second Lieutenant (O-1). Ask your recruiter how this process works.
ENLISTMENT BONUSES: Above and beyond regular pay, the 176th Wing also offers cash bonuses for enlisting in some critical career fields. We can't tell you what those fields are here, because they change depending on what job openings the wing needs to fill. To find out what those fields are, and what the bonus amounts are, just ask a recruiter.
The State of Alaska will pay your tuition at the University of Alaska, for up to 12 credit hours per semester for undergraduate studies. (Payment is made by school upon proof of eligibility. All payments are subject to the state budget.)
Montgomery G.I. Bill (Basic)
The Montgomery GI Bill pays you money to attend college. Full-time students earn $317/month; 3/4-time students earn $237/month; 1/2-time students $158.50/month; and 1/4-time students $79.25/month.
Montgomery G.I. Bill (Kicker)
Guard members in certain selected specialty fields can earn an additional kicker (from $87.50 for 1/4-time students to $350 for full-time students) on top of their basic Montgomery GI Bill payment. So full-time students in one of these specialty areas earn $667/month just for going to school!
Student Loan Repayment Bonus
Members in selected specialties may qualify for up to $20,000 in repayment on their outstanding approved student loans.
Various scholarships are available only to military members and dependents. Ask your recruiter for details.
If you'd like to become a mechanic, journalist, medic, photographer, electronics technician, plumber, air traffic controller or member of any one of dozens of other career fields, the Air National Guard is a deal almost too good to be true. We'll send you to one of the best technical training schools in the country in your chosen field. And not only will it not cost you a dime, we'll pay you while you're there.
When you return from your training, you'll gain experience by practicing your trade in real-world situations. You'll also have a new skillset to market in your "other life" as a civilian.
HEALTH AND DENTAL INSURANCE
The Air National Guard has a strong interest in keeping its members and their families healthy. Even if you only work for the Guard part-time, you'll be eligible to purchase a low-cost but comprehensive medical coverage called Tricare Reserve Select. As of 2009, the rates were $47.51 for member-only coverage; and $180.17 for a plan that covers both members and their families.
And as you might expect, we also offer a low-cost, comprehensive dental plan. In fact, our plan is so cost-effective that many of our members elect to receive it as additional coverage on top of what their civilian employers provide.
TERM LIFE INSURANCE
All guard members are eligible for our life insurance plan. It costs less than $7 per $100,000 of coverage!
FREE "SPACE AVAILABLE" TRAVEL
At any given moment, day or night, the Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force are flying passenger and cargo planes across the country and around the world. You will able to ride along on these flights for free whenever space is available.
COMMISSARY, BX AND OTHER BASE PRIVILEGES
As a Guard member, you will be entitled to the same base privileges -- at any military base, around the country -- as active-duty members. Shopping at the beautiful new commissary on Elmendorf, for example, is estimated to save a typical shopper 30 percent compared to what they would pay at a normal grocery store.
There are many more of these kinds of benefits available to Guard members. Base lodging; use of base ski hills, movie theaters and bowling alleys; ski, canoe and other outdoor equipment rentals; recreation camps; all kinds of classes; child care; an auto shop ... the list goes on and on.
Services offered at Elmendorf (be sure to click on the "Dining and Entertainment," "Family and Youth" and "Travel and Recreation" links at the top of the page)
Services offered on Fort Richardson
BUY A HOME WITH NO DOWN PAYMENT
After serving six years in the Air Guard, you will become entitled to a Veterans Administration (VA) Certificate of Eligibility. This authorizes you to apply for a VA home loan with no down payment.
Very few part-time jobs offer retirement! But in the Alaska Air National Guard, 20 years of service (including all active-duty time!) entitles you to receive a retirement income upon reaching age 60. Which leads us to ...
THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN
This plan is on top of your regular retirement. It lets you take money you earn from your guard job -- you choose anywhere from one percent to 92 percent of your pay -- and sock it away before taxes. Those funds are then invested, so the money works for you, growing as you grow.
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