Who are the people in Utah's National Guard forces? Why did they join? And how long do they plan to stay?

A new survey of 1,301 of the 6,400 Army and Air National Guard members in Utah attempts to answer those questions. The resulting statistics and responses to survey questions lend insight to the makeup of some of Utah's reserve forces.Reactions in the survey from Guard members about their employment status, the attitudes employers have about employees serving in the Guard and the attitudes family members have about Guard service varied greatly, depending on individual circumstances.

The reactions from Air National Guard members were almost always different from those in the Army National Guard, so percentages are mentioned separately, with Air Guard reactions listed first. In some categories the survey respondents listed more than one answer, so the statistics do not all add up to 100 percent.

When asked what things they liked most about being in the Guard, respondents listed service to state and nation, the pay, chances for travel and friends met in the Guard as their top reasons for staying in. About one-third said they like the help the military offers for educational expenses.

One-third also said they like the chance to do something different from their civilian jobs. Just more than one-thid said they like the particular jobs they have in the Guard, and 18 percent in both the Air and Army branches said they like having an opportunity to wear the uniform.

Employers are generally supportive of their employees who take time off from work for weekend drills and two-week annual training, with 37 and 20 percent of the employers giving their workers paid leave, and another 16 to 11 percent of employers paying the difference between the employees' salaries and the military pay received during the two-week training. Some 18 and 35 percent of the employers require their employees to take vacation time or leave without pay.

Employers who encourage their workers to stay in the Guard according to those surveyed, totaled 19 and 17 percent, and 4 and 5 percent wish their workers would get out of the Guard.

Family support was high, with 65 and 53 percent wanting the Guard member in their family to stay in. A sizable group, 23 and 33 percent, had no preference, and 10 and 12 percent wanted their family member out of the Guard.

The percnetage of Gaurd members who plan to stay in the Guard until they qualify for retirement ranged from 70 percent in the Air National Guard to 84 percent in the Army National Guard.

*****

Additional Information

Army National Guard Air National Gaurd

Males 98% 91%

Females 2% 9%

Age:

17-25 40% 22%

26-40 49 46

41-55 11 32

Marital status:

Single 39% 23%

Married 61 77

Years of service

(combined Army National Guard and Air National Guard)

0-4 36%

5-12 27

13-20 28

21 plus 9

Education:

Less than high school graduation 6% 1%

High school graduate 33 23

One or more years college 44 40

Bachelor's degree 15 23

Master's degree or equivalent 1 6

Doctorate or equivalent 3 1