The Guard has two missions; the "Wartime Mission," and the "Peacetime Mission." The citizen-soldiers of the Guard can serve their country and communities in a stateside, non-combat role, and they can serve in combat.
In my case, it could happen all within the same year. I got the call today; be ready to be activated, possibly tomorrow, to support civil authorities due to the horrendous wind storm that caused more damage to Ohio's power grid than has been seen in 30 years.
I belong to a combat-oriented unit. We are not Engineers, we have no heavy equipment, nor do we even have much hand-operated equipment that may be of use in cleanup operations. That didn't prevent us from being useful when deployed in Louisiana due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita a few years ago.
We spent a month in Lafayette, Louisiana running a distribution center and a series of POD's (Points Of Distribution) distributing food, water, and ice to citizens. I've got a few stories... some of them not so nice... about that experience. Stories aside, it gave us experience operating in a completely different role from a combat reconnaissance unit training for combat.
We were there for the citizens of Louisiana, and now we find ourselves being useful to the citizens of Ohio.
My goodness, that sounds noble.
I talked to my kids tonight about how 90+% of Afghan kids grow up without electricity, TV, and have little to no idea what an iPod is. I'm sure that my sixteen year old, in particular, was singularly unimpressed.
Then I told her that a lot of Afghan kids can't read, so curling up with a book when the power is out wouldn't be an option.
Her screams still echo in my ears.
For a great example of a citizen who serves the community in the long haul, please read about Dana White and support Fisher House.