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NEWS | April 6, 2023

229th BEB leaders share Guard experiences with high school students

By Cotton Puryear | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

Leaders from the Virginia National Guard’s Fredericksburg-based 229th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team partnered with the Virginia Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion to highlight the benefits of National Guard membership during showcase events April 3 and 5, 2023, at Courtland High School and Colonial Forge High School. The event generated three leads for individuals interested in joining the VNG.
Unit leaders from the 229th shared life and career experiences as well as sparking conversations on topics on life after high school. They also found the students were more interested in engaging conversation than presentation slides.
In addition to discussing benefits of joining the Guard, leaders also discussed the capabilities of the 229th, a unique organization with two engineer Sapper companies as well as a signal company and military intelligence company.
Soldiers from signal and MI companies were present to discuss the career opportunities within their respective military specialities as well the benefits within the civilian job market.
The National Guard’s Simultaneous Membership Program generated interest amongst the students, as did the opportunity to learn skills they could apply to civilian jobs like leadership and information technology. The SMP Program allows students to serve in the National Guard and be a member of their college's ROTC program.
Unit leaders from the 229th said they plan to conduct more capability and career briefs at local high schools in the future. They will continue to build relationships not only with the local high schools, but with Recruiting and Retention Battalion as well.
Benefits of service in the National Guard are extensive. In addition to sign-on bonuses of up to $20,000, education benefits can offset the cost of tuition by more than $20,000 each year. Additional benefits through the Montgomery G.I Bill can provide a monthly stipend for those attending school, while programs like the Minuteman Scholarship can cover the cost of an undergraduate degree. Affordable health, dental and life insurance is available for both individuals and their families, as well.
Qualifications for service in the Army and Air National Guard can vary based on career field, but all potential recruits must meet the following basic requirements: Be between the ages of 17 and 35 for the Virginia Army National Guard and between 17 and 39 for the Virginia Air National Guard; be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; be at least a high school junior or have a high school diploma or equivalent; achieve a minimum score on the ASVAB; and pass a medical screening and background check.
The Virginia National Guard’s Referral Incentive Program, or REP, is now offering $1,000 to Virginia citizens who help grow the force with qualified leads who successfully enlist into the Virginia Army or Air National Guard. Previously, referral bonuses were capped at $750.
First announced in September 2022, the REP aims to reward Virginia’s assistance who help the Virginia National Guard with recruiting efforts. Since the program’s induction, approximately 12 individuals have submitted leads that either enlisted into the VNG or are pending enlistment.
The REP is open to any adult citizen of Virginia except those who work with a Virginia Army or Air National Guard recruiting element or who share a household with someone who does. Participation in the program requires interested individuals to fill out a few forms and become a Personnel Development Coordinator, or PDC. From there, PDCs may submit contact information for individuals eligible for and interested in service in the Virginia Army or Air National Guard. PDCs can receive $500 for each eligible lead who successfully enlists into the Virginia Air or Army National Guard. Once that individual completes their training requirements, PDCs will receive an additional $500, for a total incentive of $1000.
To contact a recruiter, become a PDC or submit a lead, visit the REP website at

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