National Guard


Annika Milko and her sister Michaela Milko pose for a picture in their National Guard Uniforms.

Every single day there are men and women that risk their lives to keep this country safe and allow us to continue to have the freedoms that we have. The National Guard is part of the reserve components of the United States Armed Forces, which just means only in extreme need for extra troops maybe for war or just protection here in the U.S. member National Guard..
Annika Milko currently a junior, chose the Guard to be a combat medic but also because she really wanted to be in the military. “I wanted to use the skills I have and can learn to serve others and our great Nation. Joining the Guard was a way that I could start a military career and go to college at the same time, I would like to eventually earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing,.” said Milko.
Annika’s choice to go to the National Guard has had a lot of support from her family as they have even been a major influence for her and the branch she wanted to enlist in. “I have a long, proud family history in the military, a member of my family has served in every war beginning with the Civil War to present day,” said Milko.
Annika’s sister Michaela has probably had the largest impact on her. “My sister, SPC. Michaela Milko, joined the National Guard at the age of 17 and really enjoyed the process of becoming a permanent party soldier. She is a Combat Medic for the guard and is going to college to earn a BSN. Since my sister enlisted first, she inspired me with her motivation and gave a lot of good advice. I thought I would follow in her footsteps since the outcome was so good and I was interested in doing the same thing,” said Milko.
While the guard may not deploy you, you are still being trained as an active duty soldier. Mentally and physically you will be strained to your limits and past them. Because of that strain, part of the enlistment process is attending MEPS to see if you are even capable of enlisting. MEPS (military entrance processing station) is a Department of Defense joint-service organization staffed with military and civilians. Their job is to determine an applicant’s physical qualifications, aptitude and moral standards as set by each branch of military service, the Department of Defense, and federal law.
Enlisting for Annika wasn’t so easy at first, “I have had scoliosis since I was 5 years old, I was not sure they would accept me at all. The first time I went to MEPS, I was turned down for this reason. However, they eventually granted me a waiver.” Upon being accepted Annika then encountered another setback, “When I went back to MEPS to enlist, I was not able to acquire the original job I chose because of my medical waiver, which was a Signal Support Systems Specialist. I instead chose to be a Combat Medic, just like my sister,” said Milko. Instead of taking this negative approach Milko was actually happy, “Getting the medic position was probably meant to be, after all I would like to go into the medical field,” said Milko.
Right now she is currently a part of RSP and will be shipping out for basic when school is over if everything continues to go well. RSP is the Recruit Sustainment Program that is designed to introduce new recruits to the fundamentals of the U.S. Army before they leave to Basic Combat Training (BCT) and Advanced Individual Training (AIT).
As for anyone interested in going into the military, Annika’s advice is,”I would just suggest they do as much research as possible, in order to determine the perfect branch and job for themselves. Everyone has a different personality, life goals, and interest. The best path can probably be determined by the person through their own research and contemplation. I wish all those joining the best of luck,” said Milko.
“Overall, I am extremely excited and honored to be an Army National Guard recruit! Since I joined, I have more motivation to exercise and have a goal to work toward. I am very thankful God has blessed me with a supportive family and outstanding recruiting team.” said Milko.