Perceptions about National Guardsmen and reservists have changed in the nearly seventeen years after the September 11, 2001 Islamic terrorist attacks on the U.S. There is a little bit more respect for them. But people still might not fully appreciate just how unique and important they are. A series of new videos produced by the National Guard about Guard Special Forces soldiers can help change that. The videos show that a highly trained warrior might also be your next-door neighbor, or the guy you work with in the office.
The videos, obviously, highlight Special Forces soldiers in the National Guard. People are interested in any type of special operations and so focusing on SF makes sense. But while many of the activities you see in the video are unique to special operations troops, when they talk about how their military lives intersect with their civilian lives in the first two videos, that is something that is applicable to any reserve component servicemen (of all branches).
(Also, during one of the videos an SF soldier says that being a Special Forces Guardsman means doing more annual duty than one weekend per month and two weeks per year. But the same holds true for other reserve component troops. For instance, I performed duty for many more days than one weekend per month, two weeks per years annually during my final few years in the Army Reserve, and I was in military intelligence.)
On multiple occasions the soldiers talk about how the National Guard allows them to perform military service while also pursuing other goals in the civilian world. This is one of the biggest things that factored into me choosing the Reserve over active duty. Active duty can be great, but life has a lot to offer outside of the armed forces as well. This is something you particularly realize as you get older.
Special Forces Guardsmen are unique, and as the videos make clear, not even all soldiers are aware that they exist. And while the videos do a great job of showing military and civilian people alike how it’s possible that your next-door neighbor could be one of these elite troops, by extension they also show how your neighbor could be a conventional Guardsman or reservist in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard.
Reserve component forces are an important part of America’s armed forces. And with all the different opportunities they provide for the citizens that fill their ranks, they are fascinating as well.