RICHMOND, Va. –
Helping grow the Virginia Army National Guard recently became an even more lucrative endeavor with the expansion of the ARNG’s Stripes for Buddies program and the announcement of a new Army Recruiting Ribbon. When paired with the VNG’s Referral Enlistment Program, or REP, getting a buddy to enlist could equate to a $1,000 bonus, a promotion up to the rank of specialist or promotion points for sergeants and staff sergeants, and the award of the Army Recruiting Ribbon.
“Our Soldiers who are just joining are probably the most connected with our young people out there in high schools and colleges, and they can leverage this with their friends and start spreading the word about all the benefits of joining the National Guard, and this is a great way to recognize them for that,” said Col. Todd Hubbard, chief of staff for the Virginia Army National Guard.
The ARNG Stripes for Buddies program now allows commanders to advance Soldiers one enlisted grade per referral that enlists up to the grade of E4, or the rank of corporal or specialist. Previously, the program allowed promotion only to the grade of E3, or the rank of private first class.
The newly-accounted Army Recruiting Ribbon may be awarded to all Soldiers who provide a valid referral to the ARNG who enlists and ships to Initial Military Training, or IMT. The ribbon may be awarded up to four times during a Soldier’s career, with additional awards identified with a numerical device added to the ribbon. With each award of the Army Recruiting Ribbon, Soldiers will also be awarded 10 points toward promotion of sergeant and staff sergeant, up to a total of 40 promotion points during their career.
The REP allows for any adult citizen of Virginia to receive up to $1,000 per referral who enlists into the Virginia Army or Air National Guard and completes IMT. The program, announced late last year, is unique to Virginia and aims to provide a tangible form of appreciation for those who help grow the force.
“It’s a great program and I encourage everyone to get out and spread the word about how the benefits of the National Guard can help our communities,” Hubbard said.
The Virginia National Guard is a unique dual-status force with a federal mission to provide a combat reserve for the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force and a state mission to provide a domestic response force to defend the commonwealth. VNG Soldiers and Airmen live, work and serve in the same communities and are often called upon to help their fellow citizens during times of need. National Guard Soldiers and Airmen can also be federally mobilized for deployments both at home and abroad. Most members of the National Guard serve part-time, usually just one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer for annual training. The part-time nature of the National Guard means Soldiers and Airmen can pursue careers and higher education goals while serving their nation, as well as their community and state.
“The good thing about the National Guard is that, not only are you able to take advantage of training opportunities across the country, but also you can see the world, and you can serve your community in times of natural disaster,” Hubbard said.