They're always available when their country needs them – war, wildfire or when something like an earthquake is wreaking havoc on the home front.
But now some of the pay California's National Guardsmen count on won't be available for them for three weeks.
"We understand it's an inconvenience for them with short notice,” said Captain Will Martin of the California National Guard.
Notice came just a few days ago that drill slated for this weekend in California and 11 other states wouldn't be happening because of a $101 million federal gap in National Guard funding.
Sixteen thousand people in the golden state had training on their calendars for Saturday and Sunday.
More troops completing advanced training schools - just one of the scenarios drawing on accounts meant to pay for drill weekends.
"The National Guard Bureau, again that overseeing agency in D.C., didn't anticipate such a high number of success…and a decrease in mobilizations also skewed the numbers for them. Those things are good problems to have obviously, but they did play with the numbers a bit,” said Martin.
And if that numbers game will leave a guardsman in crisis during the planned three week delay, California is ready to step up and serve.
"We're making an effort, all the commanders to reach out to the lowest ranks to make sure no hardship's involved, also being flexible with those individuals. If there's a financial hardship of sorts we'll work with them.” Martin said.
The delay on most training will free up federal cash buy pushing the pay issue into a new budget cycle.
Those regularly on-call for emergency response operations and other essential functions will still drill to keep the state prepared