Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Guard and Reserve

Guard vs Reserve

If you are trying to differentiate a person in the Guard from the Reserve, as in the case of the National Guard and the Army Reserve, you might be surprised to find out that the two are really distinct from each other and have dissimilar duties, responsibilities, or roles to take. This is true even if they have similar uniforms and weaponry.

The Army Reserve has been around since 1908 to work hand in hand with the medical division of the Army. Later on, reserves have long expanded their roles to suit other important functions. By contrast, the National Guard has existed far longer since the time when the Revolutionary War surfaced.

Unlike the real members of the active army, the two are considered as civilian soldiers. They aren’t really doing active military duties. Rather, the two can have other careers apart from being in the military. Nonetheless, the Reserves are on-call and can be summoned almost any time when the need arises.

The Reserve supplements the Army that is actively doing its field work overseas. As such, they are usually stationed in stateside positions. The National Guard has a much more independent role of support compared to the Reserve.

Based on the chain of command, the Reserve is under the direct authority of the Army. They are usually bound by an eight-year service term. Guards, on the contrary, are under the umbrella of both the Federal and the State government, but they often respond to the latter. Thus, they are the State militia who’ll treat the State governor as their Commander-in-chief while the country’s President is still considered as their general Commander-in-Chief. As such, they can still be pressed to become part of the active Army, but they are often tasked to crush civil riots, enforce state curfews, and be deployed at time of natural disasters.

During wartime or any moment when harm’s on the way, the two will be called upon to do their duties. Reserves will be switched to their active statuses changing their general terms of service. Although they have also witnessed combat, this is rarely the case with the National Guards.

Reserves usually do periodic training. They are asked to train monthly for only one weekend on top of a two-week yearly training. After being active for quite some time, Army soldiers can already be switched back to become Reservists wherein they’ll be asked to share their wealth of experience to their less-skilled Reserve counterparts.


1.National Guards are often tasked much closer to home as compared to the Army Reserves who are deployed overseas when activated.
2.National Guards are under the umbrella of both Federal and State governments.
3.National Guards are usually called in to help calm civil riots and calamities of the state.
4.The President is the one who usually calls upon the Army Reserve while the governor is the one who frequently calls on the National Guard.

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1 Comment

  1. I agree with most of this article, with the exception of National Guard members rarely seeing combat. In the past this statement was correct, but with 911 attacks that statistic has changed dramactically. Most states have sent many National Guard units to either Iraq or Afghanistan; many have seen multiple deployments. So I would like for that statement to be corrected.

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