MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --
Many of us have never been on State Active Duty orders and some have never heard of them. However, with the extreme weather we’ve seen over the last couple of years, we’ve had more opportunities for the domestic operations response mission that we, in the Air National Guard, are charged with. Most recently we were called by the Governor to support efforts in response to the hurricanes that affected our state. It was an awesome feeling to be able to help out our home state and neighbors. With that said, there was certainly a learning curve as many of us had never dealt with this special type of order.
The type of orders we are placed on during domestic operations, or the state mission, are called State Active Duty orders, often referred to as SAD orders. There are some very big differences between being placed on Active Duty and being placed on SAD orders. The biggest of which is where the funding and direction to act come from. With Active Duty, it’s coming from the federal budget and the President. However, with SAD orders, funding comes from the state budget and direction comes from the Governor. Benefits, as well as compensation, are very different. To start, while on SAD, you do not earn any leave and it does not count toward your retirement. In addition, you are not guaranteed BAS or BAH. This is decided by state leadership each time members are called up for SAD orders. Another unique thing we found while serving on SAD was unless you are currently a state employee, your pay will come to you in the form of a paper check. So, it is vitally important your address and contact information is correct in MyPay. If the Governor approves BAH and BAS, these entitlements will also come to you as a separate check. These checks may take time to process and may come after your service is complete. This is something to keep in mind when going on SAD. A key difference with pay is who performs the finance functions. Our finance office does not work with SAD orders. This function runs through Mrs. Linda Linsey at the TAG office downtown. (Side note, if you ever have a finance issue with a SAD order, she can be reached at 803-299-4411)
While there are differences between the two order types, I would highly encourage you to step up if given the opportunity to go on State Active Duty orders. In most cases, the opportunity will be voluntary. As with any volunteer opportunity, before stepping up, ensure you and your family are in the position do so. Additionally, be prepared for flexible timelines since the situations we are called to answer are emergencies with varying mission sets. That said, I had the privilege of serving alongside over 60 Swamp Fox Airmen and hundreds of our Army brethren due to last year’s active hurricane season and flooding. I can tell you it was worth it! I am appreciative of the experience, of those I served alongside, and those who stand ready in the future. Take pride in the fact we have the opportunity to not only serve our country but as Air Guardsmen, to help our neighbors in their greatest times of need. Semper Primus.