Continuation from Part 1 of 3 on Who Qualifies as a Veteran.

Veteran Definition Unofficial

 "Whether active duty, retired, national guard, or reserve - is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The 'United States of America', for an amount of 'up to and including my life.”

 Most Reserve Component units (Guard and Reserves) are authorized to have full-time support personnel in an "active duty" status as either under Title 10 U.S.C. or Title 32 U.S.C. In most cases these are referred to as Active Guard Reserves; however, depending on their branch of service, AGR personnel are referred to by different names. In the Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve, they are simply referred to as AGRs, an acronym for Active Guard and Reserve. In the Navy Reserve they are referred to as TARs, an acronym for Training and Administration of Reserves. In the Coast Guard Reserve, they are referred to as RPAs, an acronym for Reserve Program Administrators. In the Marine Corps Reserve, they are known as Marine Corps Active Reserves or ARs. Active Duty Guard Reservists support all branches of service throughout the country and around the world. They are order to federal active service under Presidential, act of Congress, Secretary of Defense or Service Secretaries.

California Air National GuardCredit: Senior Airman Matt Smith, U.S. Air Force, 2008

Reserve Component Active Duty

Army Reserves (AGRs), Air Force Reserves (AGRs), Marine Corps Reserves (ARs), Navy Reserves (TARs), and Coast Guard Reserves (RPAs) fulltime active duty personnel are usually in a Title 10 status or regular active duty thus meeting the 38 U.S.C.s definition of "active" service for veteran qualification purposes. All that's left to be met are the time-in-service and condition of discharge or release from active duty requirements as discussed earlier. As for the National Guard, both Title 10 and Title 32 are under what is called "The AGR Program."

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AGR, Full-time Skills to Support a Part-Time Force

The AGR program provides skilled and experienced enlisted soldiers and airmen, officers and warrant officers to perform full-time support requirements and missions for Army National Guard of the United States (ARNGUS) and the Air National Guard of the United States (ANGUS). Title 10 active duty status is the category that service-members assigned to the Army and Air Force National Guard Bureau Headquarters, any Army or Air National Guardsman deployed overseas and all fulltime support personnel for the Reserves of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard). In the case of Title 32 Active Guard Reservists (AGR) a State Governor, with approval of the President or Secretary of Defense, can order a National Guardsmen voluntarily or involuntarily to active duty in support of Army and Air National Guard units within his or her state. Army and Air National Guard AGR personnel serving on active duty under Title 32 are Fulltime National Guard Duty (FTNGD). AGRs are not part-time service members; they serve fulltime active duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 52 weeks a year throughout the country and worldwide. They have physical fitness, civilian and military education, and specialty skills, medical care as their regular active military counterparts. AGRs can serve as long as 20 or more years on active duty resulting in receiving a full regular active duty retirement (officers are limited to 20 years without a waiver for additional time on active duty).

Title 10 and Title 32

According to Title 10 and Title 32, 502(f)) active duty Guard/Reserve duties are to organize, administer, recruit, instruct, and train the reserve components; they may also provide training to active component personnel, DOD contractors, DOD civilians, and foreign military personnel and they may also perform certain operational support duties as dictated by the President or the Secretary of Defense to include duties related to defense against weapons of mass destruction and Home Land Defense. [5][6] Title 32 active duty personnel categorized under operational support perform duties related to specific missions but not limited to, wartime support missions in conjunction with the regular active component organizations, the Global War on Terror, Anti-Drug operations, U.S. Border security operations and operations in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan and more. However, if for any reason a Guard/Reservist fulltime or part-time is placed in a Title 10 status this is categorized as federal active duty.

Although a Title 32 AGR's order to duty states "Ordered to Active Duty," the associated federal documents delineate a difference between federal active duty under Title 10 versus active duty under Title 32. This is most likely due to the fact that Title 32 AGRs are assigned and fill National Guard units within their particular state of residency. By law AGRs, as FTNGD are ordered to active duty for a period of 180 consecutive days or more; however, Army and Air Force regulations specify initial AGR tours as being much longer, usually three to four years with a maximum initial duration of six years before any tour continuation is ordered.

National Guard CH-146 Griffon Patriot 2006Credit: Original uploader was Desertsky85451, 2006

It’s all in the Mix

Full-time support for Reserve Component units consists of a mix of AGR Troops, Regular Active Component (AC) Troops, Military Civilian Technicians (dual status Guard and Reservist that are civilian technicians for their military unit) and regular civilian employees. On September 30, 2010 the mix of active duty Guard/Reserves plus Regular Active Military is (obviously the 2014 numbers are different; however, they were not available at the time of the writing of this article). The current 2014 draw-down of the military will likely, significantly reduce the AGR numbers as well as the regular active duty troop strength:

Army National Guard: 29,578 (AGR) + 184 (AC) = 29,762 (Total)

Army Reserve: 16,261 (AGR) + 74 (AC) = 16,335 (Total)

Navy Reserve: 10,806 (AGR) + 2,222 (AC) = 13,028 (Total)

Marine Corps Reserve: 2,206 (AGR) + 4,405 (AC) = 6,611 (Total)

Air National Guard: 14,470 (AGR) + 208 (AC) = 14,678 (Total)

Air Force Reserve: 2,662 (AGR) + 511 (AC) = 3,173 (Total)

Total: 75,983 (AGR) + 7,604 (AC) = 83,567 Total AGR and AC Fulltime Support to Guard and the Reserves.

How can a Title 32 AGR receive recognition as a Veteran?

All Reserve Component units Guard or Reserves if activated for wartime service or national emergency by presidential-federal order (Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and domestic national emergency call-up) are placed in regular federal active duty or Title 10 AGR status and are officially veterans. There are also other circumstances whereby Title 32 AGRs may meet "special" conditions that exist resulting in satisfying the definition of a veteran from either the 38 U.S.C. standards or from the more flexible VA standards. If a Title 32 AGR is deployed overseas for any duration that AGR will be in placed in a Title 10 federal active duty status until they return to the United States and then usually returned to Title 32 status. Title 10 federal active duty meets requirements of 38 U.S.C. as long as duration and discharge conditions are also met.

The duration an AGR would have to be in one of these situations depends on other variables that may include: whether or not the Title 10 time consists at one day served during time of war (actual combat related duties not required); or Title 10 (no war and not for training) and Title 32 active duty duration combined exceed the 181 days or 24 months’ time in service depending on when the Title 32 AGR first enlisted; total combined consecutive time or time in conjunction together may all be counted as Title 10 for VA veteran status. Presidential call-up may and usually does involve 181 days or more of regular active duty and may result in sufficient time to meet veteran status requirements, especially if at least one day is served during wartime (actual combat not required). 

What If I Have Both Title 10 and Title 32 Time?

As for a Title 32 AGR serving with a combination of Title 10 and 32 time, the minimum duration of service is situational: example, a soldier serving in Title 10 service for 180 days or less and then is placed on Title 32 status without a break-in-service for a total of three and a half consecutive years, or a Title 32 soldier on a four year tour of duty and is sent overseas at any time within that period time (all overseas service is performed in a Title 10 status), the VA has the latitude to count the entire period of service as Title 10 active duty service for the classification as a veteran. Additionally, if you are an AGR injured or ill as a result of duties performed within the parameters of 32 U.S.C. 502(f), to the point that the VA considers the medical condition(s) permanent and service-connected and compensable, the VA will use this for establishing "veteran" status for VA purpose.

Discharged AGR's who can establish veteran status, are eligible for the full-range of VA benefits. Usually the most sought after benefits are VA medical care and Educational Benefits. For 20-year retired Title 32 AGRs and Traditional Guard/Reservist, although 38 U.S.C doesn't specifically categorize AGRs and Guard/Reserves retirees as veterans, more recent VA regulations (2006 through 2011), however, allow the VA to include AGRs and Guard/Reserves retirees to receive VA medical care if these retired Title 32 AGRs and or Guard/Reservists are receiving retired pay (traditional Guard/Reservist retirement pay starts between age 50 to age 60) and they accept that their retirement income will be offset by the amount of medical compensable disability payments they receive. As for the actual VA Service-Connected Disability Compensation, to qualify veterans must also meet all three of the following criteria: 20 or more years of active duty, or full-time AGR Title 32, or satisfactory service as a Reservist (Army, Air, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard), or in a Retired status; be receiving retired pay (again, must be offset by VA payments). Retirees do not need to apply for this benefit. Payment is coordinated between VA and the Department of Defense. If the VA determines that you have compensable medical conditions such as 10% through 100%, you may also be eligible for non-service connected medical care.

For Wartime Service Dates: See Part 1 of 3 of this series.

Next in part 3 of this series we will finish with State Benefits and a final word on veterans qualifications.