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Guard or Active duty?

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For context, I am 30 years old, married, and just found out I am going to have my first kid. I've been in the Air National Guard for almost 9 years, 7.5 years on active orders, currently an E-6.  The Guard unit in my state has allowed me to go before their board without first having to join the unit, which I greatly appreciate, and my packet is 99% done (just waiting to take the SIFT). I was very excited for the opportunity to join this unit, but after finding out I am going to have a kid, I am beginning to wonder if Guard is still the right choice.

-The Guard has the airframe I want to fly, a lifestyle I am acclimated to, would keep me in my city and I wouldn't have to PCS after Rucker. However, the regiment is based on the opposite side of my state, with only a small detachment  of 10-15 personnel and a small handful of helicopters in my city. The Army doesn't really have a base here, which concerns me about the type of support my wife and kid will get when I inevitably deploy for 9+ months. Additionally, I have no guarantee of getting any kind of full time position and I don't have a civilian job. 
-Active duty would be a very difficult lifestyle change after being Air Guard for this long. However, the benefits would include a guaranteed paycheck and health insurance for my growing family, all the amenities of being on an active duty base; plus with my almost 8 years of active duty time, I would retire in my early 40s with a full active duty retirement. The downsides, of course, are going to be the severe difference in lifestyle, being at the beck and call of the Army 24/7, the possibly of getting assigned to undesirable places, lack of time to actually spend with my family. Additionally, I feel like backing out of my Guard board now would be a slap in the face to the individuals who have helped me get to where I am now in the process.
Right now my plan is to go to the Guard board and if they don't take me, I'd bring my packet to the active duty and try again. Do any of you experienced guys have any advice?
Also, I don't want to clog the feed up with another thread, but if anyone would be willing to critique my essay, I would greatly appreciate it.
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  • 4 months later...

Stay guard. Active duty ain't it. You still get TriCare reserve select which is really good healthcare. Support in your hometown will be alot better than the support you get while on active duty, which will be all of nothing. Flight school will be 12-18 months of active duty. Plenty of time to look at going back to school and getting a full time job. 

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On 12/19/2022 at 5:49 PM, ArmyAviationCandidate said:

all the amenities of being on an active duty base

LOL. Guard 9 times out of 10. PM me if you want to discuss a bit further. I've been regular Army, Army Guard and Air Guard. It may be rougher to be a part-timer after flight school, but as long as your wife and kids are close to family it'll all be ok. Put the hammer down on commercial fixed wing training and you'll have a job that'll put you ahead financially and lifestyle-wise from the active duty life within 5 years. If you or the wife aren't comfortable with an airline/cargo pilot life I've got bad news for you about going active duty.

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