The Army has multiple offers for sign-on bonuses right now. There is a small list of jobs in the Army National Guard that offer a $20,000 sign-on bonus with a six-year enlistment. These special bonuses available are dependent on what state you are in and what the critical need jobs are in the state. The Virginia National Guard recently added a new career field to their list of sign-on bonuses with the lucrative $20,000 bonus. It is for 13B Cannon Crewmembers. Typically, where there’s a great need or demand for skill, there’s a greater chance for more money. And the military is similar to industry, with a willingness to offer more incentives.

VA National Guard Sign-on Bonus Options

Currently, there are only three career fields in the Virginia National Guard with a sign-on bonus and 13B is the only one with a $20,000 bonus. The other two career fields are 11B Infantryman with a $12,500 bonus and 88M Motor Transport Operator with a $7,500 bonus. Individuals may qualify for bonuses for other factors of when they leave for training but those are the only three career fields with signing bonuses.

And what is the reason for this new Military Operation Specialty (MOS) being added to the list? According to Col Todd Hubbard, chief of staff for the Virginia Army National Guard, “The Army is expanding our artillery force, and Virginia is part of this effort. Over the past few years, we have fielded the most modern guns we have ever seen. The M119A3 105mm howitzer and the M777A2 155mm howitzer are the same as used by our active duty counterparts, plus the fire control systems are fully digitized with the latest technology.”

Cannon Crewmember is under the field artillery career field, field 13. The primary mission for field artillery units is to support infantry and tank units in combat by providing effective fire support on enemy troops and vehicles. Cannon Crewmembers are the soldiers who load and fire howitzers, sets fuse and charge on a variety of munitions, including high explosive rounds, laser-guided projectiles. To qualify for this career field you must score a 93 on the aptitude area of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests.

In the Virginia National Guard, the state’s field artillery capability is organized under the Norfolk-based 1-111th FA, with units also located in Hanover and Hampton. The battalion includes three batteries of six howitzers each, two firing the M119A3 105mm howitzer and one firing the M777A3 towed 155mm howitzer.

“It is one of the best MOSs in the military. Once we fire, all you have to do is look at the smiles on the faces of the Soldiers manning the guns and know why you should be a 13B.” said Capt Adrian Fonville, the battalion fire direction officer for the 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

Benefits for the Virginia National Guard

In addition to firing the most lethal weapon in the U.S. Army, there are a number of other benefits of serving in the Virginia National Guard as a 13B. State and federal tuition assistance provide up to $11,000 per year for use at colleges, universities, or trade schools, with additional benefits like the Montgomery GI Bill Kicker providing a monthly stipend up to $350. There is also low-cost health, life, and dental insurance available for both single Soldiers and families.  A student loan repayment program is also available and can pay up to $50,000 on existing federal student loans.

Do you think you have what it takes to be a 13B? Your career starts with 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training followed by seven weeks of advanced training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. At the training, you will learn how to calculate targets, how to handle ammunition, artillery tactics, and how to operate the gun system.

“Field artillery is responsible for shaping the battlefield,” explained Hubbard. And right now, with a new signing bonus for FY22 might be the perfect time to join the Virginia Army National Guard.


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Amanda is a military spouse and veteran who served in the Air Force for six years as a Civil Engineer including a deployment to Afghanistan. She traded in her combat boots for a diaper bag to stay home with her two boys and follow her husband’s military career. She published her first book in 2019 titled Women of the Military, sharing the stories of 28 military women. In 2019 she also launched her podcast also titled Women of the Military. In 2020, she was published as a collaborative author in Brave Women Strong Faith. And in 2021, she launched a YouTube channel to help young women answer their questions about military life, Girl’s Guide to the Military. You can learn more about Amanda at her blog Airman to Mom.