Well, What Do You Think?

An SSD reader sent me this meme. Yes, he’s a Guard guy, but a proud Guardsman all the same.

I’m not sure of its origin, but the information is true. In year 15 of this ongoing war, reserve component service members have been a vital part of our Nation’s defense, but are they truly better than their active duty counterparts? 

What’s your take?

52 Responses to “Well, What Do You Think?”

  1. Chuck says:

    To say “better” is kind of absurd. Just different. Guardsmen are grounded in the reality of the real world. A lot of soldiers on active duty come to only know that world. Not to say there’s anything wrong with that, but my experience in the TN National Guard taught me that the combined experience of craftsmen, industrial workers, rail workers, sales people, electricians, truck drivers, etc. brings something special to the table. There’s also a willingness to stand up to the institutional inertia and gray leadership in the Army that is usually frowned upon by our active duty brethren.

    • Ahisa says:

      Well said. As an active duty Army Officer, they stereotypes of National Guard and Reservists are often true. However, I was very I mpressed by the real life skills, social skills, and sacrifice that NG and reservists brought to the table. I think these skills are even more invaluable when training and working with other host nation militaries since they can often relate better to the local populous than most Active Duty types.

      • Chuck says:

        Thanks, I appreciate your feedback.

      • DAN III says:


        So tell me about all those “stereotypes of National Guard” being true. You mean the stereotype that Guardsman aren’t “in it for the college money” like you active duty pogues ?

        I once had an active duty senior NCO tell me how he wished his troops were half as motivated as my Guardsmen.

        BTW….your commissioned officer arrogance disgusts me now as much as it did years ago. Those stereotypes of commissioned officers are often true.

        • How was Aisha arrogant? Because he pointed out that stereotypes are often true?

          YOU brought up the college stereotype and used the “pogue” invective.

          Aisha’s commissioned status or alleged arrogance isn’t the disgusting thing here.

          I’d agree that Guardsman bring some special qualities to the battlefield. I’d also add working 40+ hour weeks and volunteering to serve on top of that is an exceptionally commendable quality unique to Guardsmen. (Troops I was very privileged to serve with as an active duty advisor for two years.)

          That said, superior patriotism doesn’t make up for technical and tactical competence on the battlefield. While small unit level Guard units can and often do demonstrate performance equal to their active brethren. They do not have the same capabilities (specifically combat arms) of performing the same as active duty units across the whole spectrum of operations. There’s just not enough time to train and the problem gets bigger the higher you go assessing units. Everyone seems to forget the last time Guard units did exactly the same as active units was when they were taken away from their local surroundings and trained for two years straight on their war time tasks. Waging war hasn’t gotten less complicated since WWII.

          It’s for this training/full spectrum prep reason Guard combat arms units (except aviation) have rarely been given the same missions as their active components over the last 15 years and often executed more repetitive type duties like fixed site & convoy security as well as training indigenous forces.

          As for the meme. Congrats! As for making larger assumptions I’d observe the Guard makes up HALF of the US Army. We’ve been at war for 15 years. Equal competitors should split winning about 50% of the time. Not three times, twice of once in 15 years…

          SSD – don’t think this kind of pot stirring is good for the force. The active component needs the Guard and the Guard needs the active component. Together they make up the Army. Sadly you sometimes see this same friction between SOF and conventional. It helps nobody, creates bad blood which can cost blood.

          • DAN III says:


            I challenged commissioned ofifcer Aisha to explain his/her remark attempting to denigrate Guardsmen, with his undefined “stereotypes of National Guard and Reservists are often true”.

            Aisha’s arrogance stems from his/her declaration that Guard/Reservist “stereotypes” are true while failing to remark what those stereotypes happen to be. In continuing his arrogance he justifies how righteous his remarks are with his declaration “as an active duty Army officer”. As being commissioned and an active duty pogue somehow makes him an authority on the performance of Guard and Reserve troops.

            Your observation the Guard makes up half of the US Army is incorrect. The most recent available Demographic Reports indicates Army Guard troops comprise less than 35% of the total Army. So, if active duty performance is anything like your innacurate assessment of personnel strength Army is in trouble.

            Your declaration that the Guard are “equal competitors” is hogwash as are your incorrect personnel statistics. First, they are not “equal” in equipment funding as compared to the active Army. But, more applicable, the Guard does not subordinate to the Commander-in-Chief. They report to the governor and the TAG of their individual states and territories. Not the POTUS, like active components do, unless specifically called to active service. Lastly, they are not troops 24/7 like you make them out to be in your effort to justify your anti-Guard arguments.

            In the meantime I’ll be looking forward to the commissioned “warrior” Aisha’s response to my remarks. I’m certain Aisha appreciates your responding for him/her.

          • 32sbct says:

            In Iraq in 2005 46 % of all Army Soldiers in Iraq were Guard or Resevre, and 52 % of combat arms . So you don’t need to go back to WW Ii. And you forget the Guard divisions in Korea. Oh and by the way, in 2005 two active duty BCTS reported to a Guard Infantry Division. One Team One Fight.

        • Bill says:

          I’ve been enlisted and commissioned in both the active component and the Guard and don’t need anyone to explain what stereotypes he or she was referring to.
          Something about training for your job 5-7 days a week vs one weekend a month and being paid to do PT everyday has an overall effect on the capabilities and status of formations. Don’t get all butt hurt because he struck a nerve.
          There are exceptional guard units, and worthless toxic active ones, you have fit and fat people in both; however only an idiot would argue that the NG units are more capable and in better shape than their active counterparts across the entire force.

          Both components serve a continually developing role in our nation’s defense. Both will continue to evolve. Going forward the NG will continue to take on a greater role from FORCECOM. We (the National Guard) have perhaps the most experienced force ever with regards to combat. Many of these combat seasoned leaders got their experience in Active component units. Don’t pretend for a second however, that a Guard combat arms unit can replicate the proficiency of full time professional Soldiers.

          • DAN III says:


            “Hey Sarge, I’m just in it for the college money.”

            Homosexuals, transvestites and females….now being brought into combat arms. What a force of professionalism that will be. How well do you think Suzie and her aforementioned cutie pies will do when assaulting a Spetsnaz trench line ?

            The ranks of the US Armed Forces are far from professional. They are no more professional than the Patriots who were drafted and fought in Vietnam. Draftees who by the way were called, did their 2 year duty and came home, hopefully not in a body bag, then got out and made their lives as citizens.

            If you want “professional” soldiers look at the French Foreign Legion….those are professionals. The US military ? They’re only in it because they can’t find a decent job that pays anything today. Oh, and for the college money.

            • Mat Gamon says:

              DAN III,

              I find your argument to be filled with arrogance.

              The integration of Homosexuals, Transvestites and females into combat arms has not, and will not, hinder the professionalism of the force.

              Your comment, “They’re only in it because they can’t find a decent job that pays anything today. Oh, and for the college money,” is absurd. I would argue that majority of the men and women I have worked with serve for experience and honor. That is commendable. The unprofessional is the one who makes comments like, “Homosexuals, transvestites and females….now being brought into combat arms. What a force of professionalism that will be”. These comments are what hurt the force.

              A professional adapts, grows and changes with the work environment they are presented with. If they did not their businesses would not succeed.

              Having served in both conventional and in the special operations community, the biggest hindrance is standards. Those who do not uphold standards and allow for mediocrity is what leads to failure. Society changes and we must adapt with it.

              Remember when African Americans were integrated into the military, many, including senior leadership in the military, believed this would cause for a failure in the force. However, as history reflects it only strengthened the nation and improved the capabilities of the force. In 1941 fewer than 4,000 African Americans were serving in the military and only twelve African Americans had become officers. Today these numbers have grown exponentially and have only strengthened our nation.

              I have worked with many females and those who identified as homosexuals and never had an issue. In fact having different perspectives on complex problems from all demographics is vital to success of any mission. The individuals who cannot get past these changes are the ones who will hurt the force and cause for unprofessionalism in the ranks.

              As for your comment on the French Foreign Legion, I have worked with them and have had soldiers under me that have served with them. As in any organization, there are professionals but as a whole I find your comment unjustified unless you are strictly talking about appearance. They have very high uniform standards which to the outsider can appear professional but again this does not reflect them as a whole. I can honestly say the U.S. Military is far more professional than you give credit for.

              I respect your high regard to the National Guard and Reserve forces, however, your arguments are moot, unjustified and unprofessional. If you are active or not, it depends on strong leadership to uphold standards, motivate their men to meet and exceed standards and individuals with the fortitude and motivation to better themselves and their team.

              Active components have more money, time and resources to actively train than their reserve counterparts. This is not to say that reserve or National Guard components are not capable of doing the same jobs, however, if you want them to be able to, they must have a vigorous training path and ample time to prepare.

              As leaders and professionals, we must be unemotional to the comments and “stereotypes” that exist. Empirical data and experience should be the measuring tool to assess your men and their capabilities. Winning the Best Ranger Competition and Sniper Competition should speak for itself on the stereotypes.

  2. Lucky says:

    Reserve CA versus Active CA… Which 38’s do more in a year, and with less training and worse equipment?

  3. Sere says:

    This meme is about context. In a context of the controlled environment of a competition or selection course, well done those dudes.

  4. Preston says:

    Not better but different. I was active and then joined the guard. Eventually I retired from the guard. During deployments the life experience and older age average of the company made a difference. Don’t forget that a lot of the guard were active first.

  5. Gavin says:

    I served 4 years in the SF Guard during a break-in-service, and have served 22 years Active duty (and counting). News flash…all components are made up of individuals. Some better, some worse. There are professional soldiers and shitbirds in all formations, and the fact that some Guardsmen won two competitions this year does not mean “The Guard” is better than anything else. It means that last year, some good competitors that happen to be Guardsmen won. The best ODA I served on during 20 years of SF service was a Guard ODA…in that same company we had ODAs that were worthless.

    I absolutely concur with Chuck on how refreshing it can be to have Guardsman stand up to silliness that AD folks put up with.

    • Chuck says:

      I wish there was a “like” button for this. Plenty of shitbags. Some good dudes you’ll love forever.

    • CWG says:

      How do NG guys “stand up to AD silliness” when they don’t have to suffer it outside of NGB?

    • Paul says:

      I agree. I spent 11.5 years regular Army, 10 months as a drilling reservist, 12 months as a mobilized reservist and then and another 9 years as an active AGR soldier. There’s good and there’s bad in all of the above. These outstanding guard soldiers exceeded the standard and won the competitions. Congratulations to them.

  6. bert says:

    And the sullivan cup

  7. just my .02 says:

    My NYARNG days in the 80’s were uneventful. But looking back admirably to Basic AIT, etc., and being among the “no-go ‘s” as our DI’s used to say, man its come along way. Thanks fellas :)

  8. Harry says:

    My last assignment in the Army was training /assessing enhanced Reserve Component Infantry Battalions. I have two opinions on the subject. First, no one won any competition by only training one weekend a month and two weeks a summer. The winning teams were dedicated and went the extra mile to succeed. Secondly, although I think it’s harder to be a part time soldier and balance the civilian world with the military one, I also think that a Reserve Component trooper may have a edge to block out time to train for a specific competition without having training/mission/post support cycles or a deployment getting in the way.

  9. CWG says:

    Fucking part timers. Listen, we all get that you guys made the better decision than us. You guys only have to deal with the fun parts of the Army. Schools, the field, and deployment. But the fact is you don’t have what it takes to be active duty. You can’t ruck through the perpetual fucking tsunami of crippling bureaucratic bullshit that consumes 16-20 hours of every single day. I’m talking the kind of unending garristan suffering that turns your heart black and makes you hate your family for trying to take up the four hours you have to sleep everyday despite having accomplished nothing. Wait two years to get a cavity filled, always have time to do retarded small injury inducing PT every day, but never have time to actually get physical therapy for them. Have some clown shoe O4 who hasn’t seen a loaded rifle or his dick since Gulf 1 put your joes in the parking lot every day at 0430 so that he can have a parking space when he rolls in right before work.

    But sure, part time guy who wasn’t active duty first. Tell me about all about your superior PT scores, promote-by-mail boards, and endless time to go to all the cool schools. I’ll be listening on the radio as you clear routes @3MPH.

    For real tho still NG>RES

    • Chuck says:

      Completely understandable. AD sucks. I appreciate that you did your time in Army hell. Maybe something should change as far as all the hell you put up with.

      I put up with a fuck ton of hell as far as NG goes. Dealing with incompetence and boot morons affects us all.

    • LowSpeed says:

      There’s so much I can do with all the salt in this comment I don’t even know where to start. I’m just gonna bask in the ire and ignorance.

      You’re so right CWG, Guardsman and Reservists have never had to deal with bureaucratic shenanigans and general military dumbassery. ONLY YOU. JUST YOU. *sarcasm*

      We’re over here on easy street juggling full-time civilian careers, families, school, managing joes/sailors/airmen/marines who are sometimes 100s of miles away, keeping up with other inane admin stuff NCOs/Petty Officers have to stay on top of, planning large scale training exercises over emails and phone calls over weeks with limited CAC access, the list goes on…

      That being said, I’m glad we’re all on the same side, and for all our bitching and moaning and incessant dick measuring contests, we’re (all the branches/components) still the best on the world stage.

      • CWG says:

        I know there is equitable dumb stuff in the guard, but at least you can escape some of it outside of mutadrama/AT.

        I was at the VA hospital and held an elevator for a Nam vet in a chair. He asked if I wanted to hear and joke then said

        “How many GWOT vets does it take to screw in a light bulb?”

        I dunno.

        “Just one, to hold it up while the whole fucking world revolves around him”


        • Doc Ras says:

          As a GWOT vet I fucking love this comment. It has been a very long time since I have literally LOL’d

          • Tony says:

            I have been in for 28 years, and I just now learned the term “mutadrama” . Fucking awesome.

        • Low Speed says:

          1. LMAO at the GWOT vet joke.

          2. Perhaps ranks E-1 – E-4, O-1s, SMP Caditiots, maybe even some E-5s can escape the dumbassery outside of MUTA/AT. NOT the case for leadership doing counselings, sending joes/attending PME, planning MUTA, securing housing, ranges, meals, etc..

          There is no escape my friend.

  10. Marcus says:

    The heart of a warrior comes from some people you would expect and many you wouldn’t.

    Never quit brothers.

    That’s all I’m gonna say.

  11. Justin says:

    Is a weekend golfer better than Tiger Woods? I joined the ARNG in 2004 and served 12 years. I saw the improvements that were made over that time. The Guard has come a long way, but there is still room for improvement. Some units are better than others. I think as a whole the active component is probably better prepared to actually go into battle. They have more time to train and if they actually use that time there isn’t any reason why they shouldn’t be better.

    Another thing to consider is there are a lot of former active duty soldiers in the Guard and Reserve. They don’t just lose their experience when they leave the active force. That experience and information gets passed on. The guard should continue to make improvements and strive towards better performance. I think the Guard winning these competitions is a sign that things are improving.

  12. Chuck says:

    I was passing through Ft Benning a bit back and ran into a team of NG guys who were on “active” service and being paid American tax payer dollars to train full time at the pre-ranger compound run by the national guard. If guys on active duty were paid full time to only train for those competitions they would probably win but with the whole GWOT and deployments and what not it makes it difficult to set up a training schedule. Unless of course you don’t have a real job….. those guys in that pic look really familiar……

    I hate to unleash the truth sometimes

    • Chuck says:

      I don’t doubt any of this. National Guard officers love to wave their dicks. How else are they going to get that super secret Apocalyose Now mission? How else does a Light Col become a Col? Set up a training routine for your dudes to go win best spit shining knuckle dragger. Like I said before, some NG guys are dicks. The majority of those being slick sleeve officers.

      • DAN III says:


        You claim to have served in a Guard unit. What was your rank, MOS and type unit(s) assigned ?

        You appear to be somewhat of a know-it-all about the workings of MTOE Guard units. Perhaps you can post some of your “vitals” ?

    • Realist says:

      Two Questions for the “truth” and a few thoughts.
      1) How many times has the AMU won the Sniper Competition? Aren’t they paid full time to go to work each day and “shoot”.
      2) How many times has the Best Range Competition been won by Ranger School Instructors? Aren’t they paid to oversee and performing Ranger Competition tasks daily. People loose sight of the bigger picture….. There is good and bad on both sides of the fence, there have been active duty soldiers win that had full time duties that afforded them plenty of time to train for the competitions as well. Truth is you would be happy to see a boy scout with a sling shot if you were pinned down and needed help. We have the best fighting force in the world, just be happy were on the same team, and if you don’t like this team, take a flight to some other place and see where that gets you.

      • Chuck says:

        So your answer to me addressing the fact that these guys get special treatment to train for a competition, is for me to leave the country. You know you can proof read your crap before you post. My unit sent a team to the best ranger competition and both guys were on multiple deployments prior to and within a week of departing for the comp so that’s what I’m addressing. I actually met the guys getting paid to go active guard duty solely to train for the comp. I’m just making sure people understand that yes they were in great shape and did a great job but…… it comes with an asterisk. It seems unreal that a guard team would win until you understand how it works. Also every time we want to send guys to the international sniper comp, we are hindered by keeping our best shooters to go on deployments and be on call. If our best shooter is back competing, how are we serving our purpose? So it’s back to…. if you have a real job you don’t have the luxury or privilege of training for and going to competitions.

        However if you are not needed….. you can be cut loose to train and compete. But you’re right I should leave the country because I’m irrational.

        • Realist says:

          let me clarify as I’m I think my lack of typing more details and my poor word choice created some confusion from my original meaning.

          except from my reply: Truth is you (change you to anyone, “not you as a person”) would be happy to see a boy scout with a sling shot if you (change you to anyone, “not you as a person”) were pinned down and needed help. We have the best fighting force in the world, just be happy were on the same team, and if you (change you to anyone, “not you as a person”) don’t like this team, take a flight to some other place and see where that gets you (change you to them, “not you as a person”).

          didn’t mean to appear as an Internet Troll bashing you as other sometimes do on here.

  13. Gavin says:

    Hmm…a bit of anger and bitterness here…

    No service component has cornered the market on professionalism, nor set all standards for douchebaggery.

  14. Joe momma says:

    I almost joined….

    • SGT Heintz says:

      Don’t worry, you don’t have too. It’s cool that we get that choice. Most of the world does not. Only a small handful of Western nations have an all volunteer military at present time. Another reason I love my nation. More choices, more freedom. For the time being though I gave up some of my choices so that you could have yours. Proud to do it too.

  15. All good says:

    On the topic of the original photo, not that all the competitors are not good troops, but sometimes some units have the time to cut some folks free to focus on their training for these types of competitions. That can often make a difference.

  16. Tony says:

    This is the best back and forth I’ve seen here in months.

    Let’s see, we got:
    1. Anecdotal examples that prove nothing
    2. Thoughtful comments that are pertinent to the article
    3. “My War was better than your War” comments
    4. “Officers Suck!”
    5. Some asshole who tries to wrap it up with a snarky review of comments.

  17. Comp shooter says:

    Little known facts about the guard winning the recent ISC. They had a full 6 month train up along with a full 30 day TDY to Ft. Benning. Prior to the competition they trained and had access to ranges. This meme really doesn’t mean anything. If you were jobless or had flexible work hours to train up, these can easily be achieved. Those on active duty unfortunately don’t have the same opportunities for train up.

  18. DV says:

    All I know is… whomever took the 2nd photo, should never be allowed to hold a camera (or a gun) again.

  19. Diddler says:

    We all know that the military is the opposite of heterosexual, especially considering all the pro-non-hetero agenda stuff that is being forced down everyone’s throats currently (yuck). What everyone seems to miss the point on, is that a competition win means one thing: for that competition you did best. Doesn’t mean that if a comp were run the following week or month or year that you’d still be best. Maybe, but considering how few of these comps are won year after year by the same guys, I’d say, “doubtful.”

    Comps are supposed to be for fun, not dick measuring. Great job to the guys who won. They are not indicative of the prowess of the guard, nor would losses by the guard be indicative that they are inferior to active duty formations. Does the fact that Hillary was not charged with crimes by a pussy FBI director and an attorney general who should have recused herself after putting herself in a position of questionable dealings prove that Hillary is not corrupt? I’d say it doesn’t. Just like winning or losing a comp or two doesn’t prove anything about a fighting force.

    This is like idiot jarheads who say, “well, yes huh, the Marines are tougher because if a marine goes to the army they don’t have to go through basic training but umm, army people have to go through boot camp to be marines…but uhh, they’ll never make it because they went through boot camp for pussies. Yeah, and they aren’t tough enough to be marines.”

  20. Ab5olut3zero says:

    Don’t forget the Sullivan Cup- top US Tanker competition- went the te NC ARNG this year also.

  21. Jon says:

    I think this is a great thing, especially to offset the still perceived idea that national guardsmembers are “nasty girls”. I did an ECP scholarship to commission and was fortunate to serve in the Cal guard. (B co- 160th INF) as a new LT without BOLC/IOBC. I was put under the wings of some good NCOs. Some lessons I learned were bad ones, some lessons were really good. I learned a lot about initiative as an LT and my place in the puzzle, often misguided by “making a name” on active duty. I was invited to NCODPs and a lot of guard specific stuff (State active duty, so on). This helped me a lot transitioning to active duty. Some of the habits I learned not to do (cutting corners so on) and some great habits (how to do property book stuff or run an effective range/FTX) I had down before going to my first EOD unit. Once I got to my unit, I was able to link up with the right NCOs and be successful.

    I value my guard experience and what my Soldiers brought to the table to accomplish the mission. 80% of my Soldiers in CA were police/corrections so their daily experience as Police really helped with the national guard mission of supporting the state authorities. Their ability to do a lot with little helped me make my Active Soldier’s lives better with quality training even when we had minimal equipment.

    I think as we have transitioned in the last 15 years of war, the guard is very much different than it was in the 80s and 90s. It has been forced to become just as prepared as the active component. For those who have had bad experiences with the guard, it’s like any other unit. There are good units and bad units out there- their part time status has nothing to do with it- it’s on their leadership IMO.

  22. BIG G says:

    Guard also won the All Army Small Arms Championships (ILARNG) this year, and won the same championship the last three years prior to that (CAARNG)… now the ISC. I coached the three CAARNG teams, we never had more than 4 days of actual range time to prep for each one of those wins. If you want good rifle shooters, send them to the Guard SDM course, that’s where it starts. To win competitions, requires losing a bunch of them first. We did plenty of losing before we won that first one, always placed in among the top 10 though.

    Competition is essential to your development as a combat shooter: train, practice, compete.