November 16, 2007:
units of the United States National Guard, soldiers who're interested in switching
to the Active Army, are finding their paperwork going astray. Apparently Guard
units would like to discourage seasoned personnel from leaving for the
regulars. Some Guardsmen who are interested in joining the Active Army have,
however, found a work-around; by checking in with their local Army recruiter
they can initiate the transfer from the Army's side. That cannot be blocked by
the National Guard brass.
Thousands of National Guard
troops have been answering the regular army's call for experienced reserve
troops to join the regular army. For many National Guard troops from rural
area, such a move means a substantial raise, and better benefits. But most National
Guard troops go full time for patriotic motives.
The National Guard is a unique
force of 350,000 troops. Descended from the local militias of pre-colonial
times, it first evolved into the armed forces of the individual states. But
about a century ago, the present relationship between the state National Guard
commander, and the federal government was worked out. That is, the federal
government can, under certain circumstances, call the state National Guard
units into federal service. Normally, these units answer to the state governor,
and are used mainly for natural disasters, or civil disorder. These reforms
also made the National Guard units indistinguishable, in terms of uniforms,
equipment and training, from the rest of the military.