How to Get Excused from National Guard Drill: Tips and Strategies

Being a member of the National Guard requires a significant commitment of time and energy. However, there may be instances when you need to get excused from a drill or training session. Whether it’s due to personal reasons, work obligations, or health issues, there are strategies you can employ to navigate this process successfully.

First and foremost, it’s crucial to communicate your situation clearly and promptly to your superiors. This means providing them with all the necessary details about why you cannot attend the drill, including any relevant documentation or proof. Remember to be respectful and professional in your communication, as this will improve your chances of being excused.

Another effective strategy is to seek support from your fellow soldiers. If you have a valid reason for missing a drill, your peers may be willing to cover for you or offer assistance. Building positive relationships within your unit can help create a support system that can work in your favor when you need to be excused.

Additionally, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the regulations and policies of the National Guard regarding excused absences. Each state and unit may have different rules, so make sure you know what is expected of you. By understanding the guidelines, you can present your case more effectively and increase your chances of being granted an excused absence.

Understanding National Guard Drill Responsibilities


The National Guard is a reserve component of the United States Armed Forces that is composed of both part-time and full-time soldiers who are trained to support the military and provide assistance during times of national emergencies. National Guard soldiers are required to attend regular drill weekends, during which they fulfill various responsibilities and obligations.


One of the primary responsibilities of National Guard soldiers is to attend scheduled drill weekends. These drill weekends are typically held one weekend per month, with additional training periods throughout the year. Attendance is mandatory, and soldiers are expected to be present unless granted an excused absence by their unit commander. Failure to attend drill weekends without proper authorization may result in disciplinary actions.


During drill weekends, National Guard soldiers undergo various training exercises and activities to maintain their proficiency and readiness. This includes physical fitness training, weapons qualifications, tactical training, and other job-related skills. Additionally, soldiers may receive briefings on topics such as military regulations, deployment readiness, and leadership development.

Tasks and Duties

While attending drill weekends, National Guard soldiers may be assigned specific tasks and duties based on their rank, specialty, and unit needs. This could include participating in field exercises, conducting equipment maintenance and inspections, performing administrative duties, or attending meetings and briefings. It is important for soldiers to take their assigned tasks seriously and complete them in a timely and satisfactory manner.

Uniform and Appearance

Uniform and Appearance

When attending drill weekends, National Guard soldiers are required to wear the appropriate military uniform as specified by their unit. Soldiers must adhere to the regulations regarding uniform standards and appearance, which includes grooming, personal hygiene, and proper wear of insignia, patches, and accessories. Maintaining a professional appearance is essential to instill discipline and a sense of unity within the military organization.

Leadership and Professional Development

Leadership and Professional Development

Being a member of the National Guard provides opportunities for soldiers to develop leadership skills and enhance their professional growth. During drill weekends, soldiers may receive guidance and mentorship from more experienced leaders, participate in leadership workshops and development courses, and engage in team-building exercises. National Guard soldiers are encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities to improve their military and civilian lives.



Understanding the responsibilities of National Guard drill weekends is crucial for soldiers to fulfill their obligations and contribute effectively to the mission of the National Guard. By attending drill weekends, completing assigned tasks, participating in training, and adhering to military standards, National Guard soldiers can maintain their readiness and contribute to the overall success of the organization.

Reasons for Needing Excusal from National Guard Drill

There are various legitimate reasons why a National Guard member may need to be excused from drill. While it is important to fulfill one’s obligation to the National Guard, there are situations and circumstances that may warrant excusal. Some common reasons for needing excusal include:

  • Personal Illness or Injury: If a member is dealing with a personal illness or has sustained an injury that prevents them from participating in drill, they may request excusal. Proper documentation from a medical professional may be required.
  • Family Emergency: In the event of a family emergency or significant crisis, a National Guard member may need to be excused from drill in order to attend to the situation. Examples of family emergencies may include the illness or death of a close family member.
  • Work or School Commitments: Sometimes work or school obligations can conflict with National Guard drill dates. Members may need to request excusal if they have work or school commitments that cannot be rescheduled or rearranged.
  • Travel or Distance: National Guard units may be stationed far away from a member’s place of residence. If the distance or travel required to attend drill is impractical or burdensome, a member may request excusal. This may be the case if the cost of travel is prohibitive or if the member is unable to secure transportation.
  • Religious Observance: If a member’s religious beliefs prevent them from participating in military activities on certain days or during certain times, they may request excusal. The National Guard is generally accommodating of religious practices and will work to find a solution that respects an individual’s beliefs.
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It is important for National Guard members to communicate their need for excusal in a timely manner and to follow the proper protocol for requesting excusal. Each situation is unique, and the appropriate course of action may differ depending on the individual’s circumstances. It is always recommended to consult with the chain of command or the unit’s administrative personnel for guidance on how to request excusal from National Guard drill.

Communicating with Your Commanding Officer

When it comes to getting excused from National Guard drill, one of the most important steps is to communicate effectively with your commanding officer. Here are some tips to help you have a successful conversation:

Be Respectful

  • Show respect to your commanding officer by addressing them properly and using appropriate language.
  • Listen attentively and avoid interrupting during the conversation.
  • Express your concerns or reasons for wanting to be excused in a respectful and professional manner.

Plan Ahead

  • Before speaking with your commanding officer, think about what you want to say and how you want to say it.
  • Consider preparing a written request outlining your reasons for wanting to be excused from drill.
  • Anticipate any questions or concerns your commanding officer may have and be prepared to address them.

Provide Documentation

  • If you have any supporting documentation, such as a doctor’s note or a letter from your employer, bring it with you to the meeting.
  • Show your commanding officer that you have valid reasons for requesting to be excused.
  • Be prepared to explain how your absence will not negatively impact your unit or mission readiness.

Suggest Alternatives

  • If possible, propose alternative ways to fulfill your obligations and responsibilities outside of the scheduled drill dates.
  • Offer to make up the missed time or contribute to the unit in another way.
  • Show your willingness to be flexible and find a solution that works for both you and your commanding officer.

Remember, effective communication is key in any conversation with your commanding officer. Be honest, transparent, and respectful, and you may be able to find a mutually beneficial solution for excusing yourself from National Guard drill.

Providing Legitimate Documentation

If you have a legitimate reason for needing to be excused from National Guard drill, it is important to provide proper documentation to support your request. This documentation will help establish the validity of your excuse and increase your chances of being granted an exemption. Here are some examples of legitimate documentation you can provide:

  • Medical Records: If you are unable to attend drill due to a medical condition or ongoing treatment, you should obtain medical records from your healthcare provider. These records can serve as evidence of your condition and the need for ongoing medical care.
  • Legal Documents: If you are involved in legal proceedings such as a court appearance, jury duty, or probation, you can provide copies of the relevant legal documents to support your request for an exemption.
  • Employment Verification: If attending drill would cause a conflict with your employment, you can provide a letter from your employer stating the dates and times that you are required to work. This can help demonstrate that attending drill would interfere with your job responsibilities.
  • Education Schedule: If you are currently enrolled in a full-time educational program, you can provide a copy of your class schedule to show that attending drill would conflict with your academic obligations.

It is important to make sure that the documentation you provide is legitimate and accurately supports your reason for needing to be excused. Any fraudulent or misleading documentation can have serious consequences, including legal repercussions.

Once you have gathered the necessary documentation, you should submit it to your National Guard unit as soon as possible. Be sure to follow any specific instructions provided by your unit for requesting an exemption and include a clear explanation of your situation.

Remember, providing legitimate documentation increases your chances of being excused from National Guard drill, but it is ultimately up to your unit’s discretion to grant exemptions. It is important to be honest and transparent throughout the process and to communicate openly with your unit about your circumstances.

Supportive Documentation for Family Emergencies

Supportive Documentation for Family Emergencies

In order to be excused from National Guard drill due to a family emergency, you will need to provide appropriate documentation to support your request. This documentation can help demonstrate the legitimacy of your situation and increase your chances of being excused. Here are some examples of supportive documentation you should consider:

1. Medical Documentation

If a family member falls ill or has a medical emergency, you can provide medical documentation to support your request. This can include medical reports, doctor’s notes, hospital admission records, or any other relevant medical documents. Make sure the documentation includes the name of the person, the nature of the emergency, and the dates of the incident.

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2. Death Certificate

In the unfortunate event of a family member’s passing, you can submit a death certificate as supportive documentation. This official document proves the death and can be obtained from the relevant authorities or funeral home. It is important to include the deceased person’s name, date of death, and your relationship to them.

3. Legal Documents

3. Legal Documents

If you are dealing with a legal matter involving your family, such as custody battles, court hearings, or adoption proceedings, you can provide legal documents as evidence. These can include court summonses, legal notices, or any other documents related to the proceedings. It is essential to include your name, the nature of the legal matter, and the dates of the hearings or proceedings.

4. Travel Documentation

If you need to attend to a family emergency that requires travel, you can provide travel documentation as proof. This can include flight itineraries, hotel bookings, or other travel arrangements. It is crucial to highlight the dates of travel and the purpose of the trip.

5. Witness Statements

If you do not have any official documentation but have witnesses who can vouch for your family emergency, you can gather witness statements. These statements should include the names and contact information of the witnesses, a detailed account of the emergency, and their relationship to you or the affected family member.

6. Rehabilitation or Treatment Plan

In situations where a family member requires rehabilitation or treatment for physical or mental health issues, you can include a rehabilitation or treatment plan as supportive documentation. This can be a letter or report from a healthcare provider outlining the recommended course of action and the dates of treatment.

Remember, it is important to provide clear and concise documentation that accurately reflects the family emergency. Providing supportive documentation can help your case and increase the likelihood of being excused from National Guard drill.

Seeking Medical Excuse for National Guard Drill

One strategy for getting excused from National Guard drill is seeking a medical excuse. This can be done by providing a medical statement from a healthcare professional that outlines the reasons why you are unable to participate in the drill.

Here are some steps to follow when seeking a medical excuse:

  1. Contact your healthcare provider: Schedule an appointment with your doctor or healthcare provider to discuss your situation and request a medical statement. It’s important to be honest and provide all necessary information about your condition or any limitations that prevent you from participating in the drill.
  2. Provide relevant documentation: In order to support your request for a medical excuse, it may be necessary to provide any relevant medical documentation or test results to your healthcare provider. This could include imaging scans, lab reports, or previous medical records.
  3. Clearly explain your situation: During your appointment, make sure to clearly explain to your healthcare provider why you are seeking a medical excuse for the National Guard drill. Describe any symptoms, limitations, or conditions that prevent you from being able to attend.
  4. Ask for a written medical statement: Request that your healthcare provider provide you with a written medical statement that outlines your condition and why you are unable to participate in the drill. It’s important that this statement is detailed and specific, as it will be used to determine whether or not you can be excused.
  5. Submit the medical statement: Once you have received the written medical statement, submit it to the appropriate National Guard authority. This may be your unit commander or another designated person. Make sure to follow any specific procedures or protocols for submitting medical documentation.

It’s important to note that seeking a medical excuse for National Guard drill should only be done if you have a legitimate medical reason that prevents you from participating. Faking an illness or injury is unethical and may have serious consequences.

By following these steps and providing the necessary documentation, you can increase your chances of obtaining a legitimate medical excuse for National Guard drill.

Exploring Legal Options for Excusal

Exploring Legal Options for Excusal

While it is expected that all National Guard members fulfill their obligations and attend their scheduled drills, there may be certain situations where individuals need to explore legal options for excusal. Here are some potential avenues to consider:

1. Obtaining a Medical Excuse

If you have a medical condition or injury that prevents you from participating in National Guard drills, you may be able to obtain a medical excuse. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine if your condition qualifies for an excusal and follow the necessary procedures to obtain the required documentation.

2. Applying for a Hardship Discharge

In cases where National Guard service presents an extreme hardship, individuals may be eligible for a hardship discharge. Hardship discharge is typically granted for situations such as financial hardship, caring for a disabled family member, or other extraordinary circumstances. Contact your unit’s administrative office to inquire about the process and requirements for applying for a hardship discharge.

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3. Seeking Legal Counsel

If you believe that you have legitimate reasons for excusal but are facing difficulties in obtaining it through standard channels, you may want to consider seeking legal counsel. A lawyer with experience in military law can provide guidance on your options and help you navigate the process.

4. Exploring Family Care Programs

If your inability to attend National Guard drills is due to caregiving responsibilities, you may consider exploring family care programs that allow for temporary leave from duty. These programs are designed to support National Guard members who need to care for family members during emergencies or other challenging circumstances.

5. Understanding Military Regulations

5. Understanding Military Regulations

Familiarize yourself with military regulations regarding excusal from drills. Research the specific guidelines and procedures outlined in the National Guard’s policies to ensure that you are aware of all available options and requirements.

6. Communicating with Your Chain of Command

6. Communicating with Your Chain of Command

Be open and honest with your chain of command about your circumstances. Discuss your situation and reasons for seeking excusal during drills. They may be able to offer guidance or provide resources to help you address your concerns.

Remember that each situation is unique, and it is crucial to follow the appropriate legal procedures and guidelines to request excusal from National Guard drills. Always consult with the appropriate authorities and seek professional advice when necessary.

Reviewing Repercussions and Rescheduling Options

Understanding the Repercussions

  • Being absent from National Guard drill without a valid excuse can lead to disciplinary actions and consequences.
  • Military regulations and policies vary, but commonly, unexcused absences can result in loss of pay, reduction in rank, or other penalties.
  • Repeated unexcused absences can lead to dishonorable discharge from the National Guard.

Exploring Rescheduling Options

If you are unable to attend a National Guard drill, it is essential to explore rescheduling options to avoid the repercussions mentioned above. Here are a few options you may consider:

  • Notify Your Chain of Command: As soon as you know you won’t be able to attend, inform your chain of command and seek guidance on the rescheduling process.
  • Submit a Valid Excuse: If you have a legitimate reason for missing a drill, such as a medical emergency or family emergency, provide documentation and submit it to your unit command for consideration.
  • Request a Makeup Drill: In some cases, the National Guard may offer makeup drills for those who couldn’t attend the scheduled drill. Check with your unit to see if this option is available.
  • Swap Drills with Another Member: If permitted by your unit, you may be able to arrange a drill swap with another National Guard member who is willing to trade drills with you.

Keep in mind that it is crucial to follow the proper procedures and communicate with your unit to explore rescheduling options.


Understanding the repercussions of unexcused absences from National Guard drills should motivate individuals to seek rescheduling options when necessary. By notifying your chain of command and providing a valid excuse or exploring other options, you can minimize the negative consequences and maintain a good standing within the National Guard.


What is the National Guard drill?

The National Guard drill is a regularly scheduled training period for members of the National Guard, during which they engage in various military activities and exercises.

What are some valid reasons to be excused from National Guard drill?

Some valid reasons to be excused from National Guard drill include illness, medical conditions, family emergencies, work obligations, and educational commitments.

How can I request to be excused from National Guard drill due to illness?

To request to be excused from National Guard drill due to illness, you should contact your unit’s commanding officer as soon as possible and provide documentation from a medical professional supporting your request.

What should I do if I have a family emergency and need to be excused from National Guard drill?

If you have a family emergency and need to be excused from National Guard drill, you should contact your unit’s commanding officer immediately, explain the situation, and provide any necessary documentation or proof of the emergency.

Can I be excused from National Guard drill if it conflicts with my work schedule?

If National Guard drill conflicts with your work schedule, you should inform your employer in advance and provide them with any necessary documentation from your unit’s commanding officer. Your employer may be required by law to provide you with time off for military duty.

What should I do if I have a scheduled educational commitment during National Guard drill?

If you have a scheduled educational commitment during National Guard drill, you should inform your unit’s commanding officer as soon as possible and provide documentation or proof of the commitment. They may be able to work out a solution or provide guidance on how to handle the situation.


Harrison Clayton

Harrison Clayton

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