For them, it can be especially hard. In many cases, they must take pay cuts from their civilian jobs when they enter active duty.
Not even combat pay will cover the loss in wages.
When asked if they'd mow a lawn for $5 or wash a dirty car for $5, many people might say no to both. But consider this: for people in the military, the bonus for possibly getting shot and facing chemical weapons is only $5 a day.
The military pays $150 a month extra for combat pay - again, only $5 a day.
"It's not very much," said Lt. Terry Green of the Wake County Sheriff's Office.
Green is a sergeant in the Army reserves who could get called to duty.
As for the combat pay, all $5 of it?
"You don't join in to get rich, " Green said. "You join because it's a sense of duty and honor that you owe to your country."
Soldiers do get a regular salary.
According to the Department of Defense, most low-ranking soldiers make less than $2,000 a month. If Green was called up, he estimates he'd make around $1,200 less per month than he does as a deputy.
The county helps pay the difference. But employers of most reservists reportedly don't help out.
"Obviously, we'd like it to be higher," Green said. "But as a soldier, we look at it from a loyalty and duty and honor standpoint."
It's an honor that includes risks many would not take, no matter what the price.
Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.