How to Calculate Good Years for Retirement in the Guard & Reserves

The military reserve components all allow members to retire with benefits after 20 qualifying years of service. Chief among these benefits is a pension that begins when the retired service member turns 60. Certain members who have deployed for war or other national emergency may qualify for an earlier start date, however. Because reservists and Guardsmen are part-time soldiers, sailors, Marines or airmen, reserve component retirement works on a point system, rather than a calendar system. To be eligible to retire, you must amass a minimum number of 50 points in 20 separate years.

Give yourself 15 points for membership in a Guard or reserve unit. The system awards you points just for being on the unit phone roster.

Count up the number of unit training assemblies you attended for each year of service. This can get a little tricky, because some drill weekends have more unit training assemblies than others. Normally, a drill weekend has four unit training assemblies, each four or more hours long. However, you may have some drills that are five or six units long, and other drills that are only two or three units long. Check your pay documents, or LESs, to determine how many unit training assemblies you had in any given drill weekend, if you have any doubt. Your unit training NCO will also have records of drill schedules going back several years.

Award yourself one point for each day of active duty, or ADT (active duty for training). Annual training periods count towards this category. In addition, you must also have attended an annual training period each year to have the year count as a qualifying year towards retirement, although active duty for training, schools, etc., generally counts towards this requirement.

Add up the years in which you have amassed at least 50 points. Once you get to 20 years, you will be eligible to retire. Your unit S1 NCO, first sergeant or admin clerk can help you review your records.


  • Some states, such as Florida, grant state retirement benefits to National Guard members who remain in service for 20 or 30 years. Check with your chain of command or unit S1 NCO to find out if your state offers state retirement benefits in addition to federal retirement benefits.