The theory behind the National Guard and the whole “one weekend a month, two weeks in the summer” thing is that you maintain a baseline level of readiness and training such that when invited by Uncle Sam to join The War, you can rapidly train up to the level you need for effective support to the collective effort.
So with only 39 training days per year, you focus on the universal tasks that everyone needs (shoot, move, communicate, don’t sexually harass anyone) and as many of the specialty tasks for your particular job as you can make time for, with the expectation that once Big Army calls, your unit will suddenly have additional money to pay for training days and schools and whatnot. Once that happens, you will now be balancing your regular job or school, training for your Army deployment, and spending time with your family/friends/dog prior to being absent for some duration of time between nine months and eternity.
This can be somewhat stressful. On the one hand, your job wants you to wrap up some projects before you go and isn’t happy about you being gone for nine months, let alone additional weeks or months beforehand. Your kids want to spend time with you. Your spouse wants to spend time with you. Your dog wants to spend time with you.
On the other hand, you need the training. It might be in stuff you haven’t done in the decade(s) since your initial entry training. It might be in something you’ve never done, either because it’s specific to your mission this time, or because it’s new since last you had training, or perhaps because you could never get into the school before (because people deploying have priority). You may not (probably don’t) know exactly what you will be doing downrange, but you want all of the training you can possibly get before you go, to increase your odds of success when friendly lives may be riding on your competence.
On the gripping hand, you simply may not be able to afford it. Continue reading