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"The Infantryman is the backbone of any fighting force; his role is to "close with and destroy the enemy". Trained
to fight as a member of a Combat Arms team, which also includes Armor, Artillery and Field Engineer occupations, the Infantryman is capable of performing in special operations such as airmobile and amphibious
operations and environmental operations including those in arctic, mountain, jungle, and desert areas.

What is an Infantryman?

The foot soldier has always carried the bared the cross of misery in battle. He must march long distances carrying
heavy-loads. Subject to extremes of temperature, adverse terrain, and all of the military weaponry he can carry.  His life in wartime can range from boredom to terror. Once the bombs have been dropped and the artillery fire lifts, however, he is expected to cross the final 300m separating his position from the enemy's, leaving the security of his trench or armored vehicle to "close with and destroy the enemy." Everything else is the preparation for his assault. That he is able to accomplish his mission - often against his own natural fears - is a testament to his spirit, initiative, fitness,
and commitment to his fellow soldiers and to the leadership of his NCOs and officers. 

He has been able to persevere over the centuries because he is fit and he is flexible in his approach and
employment in battle. New advances in technology give him the lethality and the mobility to continue to play a
crucial role in our country's conflicts. 

As a soldier, he is self sufficient as a fighting unit. He carries the tools of his trade on his back, needs little
individual support and is expected to function efficiently in his assigned role. He must possess initiative,
determination, team spirit and must unstintingly give of himself to those chosen to lead him and to his fellow soldiers. Readily he must display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the objective and complete the mission though he be the lone survivor. 

What They Do

  • Use weapons such as rifles and pistols 
  • Use explosives and pyrotechnics 
  • Use mortars, machine guns, anti-tank weapons,        missiles and grenades 
  • Use communication, navigation and riot control equipment 
  • Inspect and maintain weapons systems, vehicles and equipment (eg. clothing, survival gear and personal    equipment) 
  • Operate with support elements such as fighter aircraft, helicopters (troop carrying and reconnaissance, and artillery) 
  • Unarmed combat, fieldcraft and battle procedures including camouflage and concealment, internal security, patrolling, escape and evasion tactics 
Working Environment

The Infantryman performs his duties outdoors, by day or by night exposed to all weather conditions. The work is
physically and mentally demanding and is often carried out for long periods of time with little chance for rest. In
combat or operational situations the job is mentally stressful and the risk of physical injury is always present. 

Geographical employment can vary from stations within the United States to oversea locations throughout the world, in response to NATO and UN commitments. 

Qualifications and Interests 

An Infantryman must be dependable, able to react quickly and adapt readily to changing situations. Courage, self-discipline, physical and mental stamina and a positive attitude are essential attributes. 

So you want to be in the Infantry?

Every year candidates arrive at basic expecting to be enrolled and trained as infantry soldiers, but have done little preparation of their own ... especially in respect to their personal fitness. As a result they cannot keep up with the rigors of daily physical training and field exercises. They fall back, they develop stress injuries, some quit and some are sent home for medical reasons due to their injuries. Others are given failing grades because they lack the necessary stamina to succeed in the infantry. This is particularly regrettable when they demonstrate the potential to be successful otherwise. In many cases, prior knowledge of the training with an emphasis on individual physical preparation can prevent the loss of a potential soldier.

Career Progression

Opportunities to career progression, promotion and advancement are good for the Infantryman. Personnel with good attitudes, leadership and man management qualities may advance quickly in comparison to other military occupational skills. 

Related Civilian Jobs

The Infantry is a unique military MOS that has no related civilian occupation. The experience gained in the use and
maintenance of vehicles, communication equipment, weapons and tools of all types as well as the leadership and management skills learned in the MOS can however, be very useful in the civilian labor market." 

Last Update: 04 October 2001


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