Army 12W MOS: Carpentry and Masonry Specialist

The Army 12W MOS is the Carpentry and Masonry Specialist. It is part of the Engineer Corps.

According to Wiki, “A carpenter is a skilled trade in which the primary work performed is the cutting, shaping and installation of building materials during the construction of buildings, ships, timber bridges, concrete form work, etc.”  On the other hand, masonry is the building of structures from individual units laid in and bound together by mortar, which includes brick, stone, granite, marble and concrete block, to name a few.

12W Job Description, Duties and Responsibilities

Here are some of the duties and responsibilities you could have in this MOS:

  • Build structures for the US Army
  • All aspects of wood frame, steel frame and concrete block construction
  • Read and interpret blueprints and plans
  • Install batter boards and lay out string line for foundations
  • Layout and construct walls, floors and roofing system
  • Use hand tools and power tools
  • Frame up doors and windows
  • Install wood flooring and stairways
  • Put up drop siding and roofing
  • Mix concrete and cement mortar for masonry
  • Lay concrete block using various mortar joints
  • Reinforce concrete walls
  • Support Army Operations in the field day or night
  • Build wooden or concrete block structures
  • Assist plumbers, electricians and others trades during construction
  • Construct base camps and help build barracks, dining halls, or other facilities
  • Lift heavy lumber and concrete blocks


To be eligible for the 12W MOS, these are the following requirements (as of 2014):

  • No security clearance needed
  • ASVAB score of 88 in aptitude area GM
  • Physical Profile of 111221
  • Normal vision
  • Not scared of heights

AIT for 12W MOS

The AIT for the 12W MOS is in Gulf Port, Mississippi.  From what I found online, it is a seven week course.  This is where you will learn the technical skills of your job.  The course is done with the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Reasons to Pick This MOS

There are many reasons to pick the 12W MOS.  First and foremost, you learn a skilled trade that you can utilize the rest of your career.  After you leave the Army, you can become a carpenter or mason for the government, in the private sector, or even start your own business.  If you plan on making a career out of the Army you can stay in this MOS your entire career, or even get a second MOS later on down the road.

The best reason to pick this MOS would be if you truly enjoyed doing this type of work.  What better way to spend a few years in the Army than doing something you really love.  So if you are a natural carpenter, builder or mason, this might be just what you are looking for.

Your Role in Combat

I decided to add this section to the article, just because I saw a lot of people asking questions online about this MOS.  When it comes to combat, you could deploy overseas.  You might and you might not.  It all boils down to what unit you are assigned to and what the needs of the Army are.

For example, if your first assignment is with a division (like the 82nd Airborne) there is a good chance you could deploy overseas.  You won’t be fighting like the infantry does (not in most cases anyway), but you could be on convoys, provide base security or even work a traffic control point, in addition to your primary job.  Just keep that in the back of your mind.

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Final Thoughts

In summary, the 12W MOS is a great career choice for anyone who enjoys carpentry or masonry.  You will learn valuable skills that you can use inside and outside of the military.  Best of all, you can be assigned to almost any type of unit, anywhere in the world.

What are your thoughts?  If you spent time as a 12W in the Army I would love to hear from you.  Please tell me about your experience at AIT and what you did in your duty assignments.  Just leave a comment below to share your thoughts.  I look forward to hearing from you.


chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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4 thoughts on “Army 12W MOS: Carpentry and Masonry Specialist”

  1. I am trying to decide which branch would be most beneficial to my career choice. I want to become a master carpenter. I do not want to spend a lot of time being a grunt. I love carpentry work and I want to get a degree in construction technology. However I want to also become special forces which the navy offers while being a seebee. I am trying to determine which path is best for me I have spoken to recruiters from both branches and cannot decide.

    1. That can be a difficult decision, and no one can make it for you. I know that it is good to talk with many different people…not just recruiters. Do keep in mind that the Army has special forces too, and you could get your carpenter degree and then go to Ranger school. Just a thought! Good luck!

  2. As a person who has done a lot of construction throughout my life, I would tell anyone that this would be a great MOS to undertake if joining the Army. You could learn a great skill that will help you after your service both with jobs, and even at your own residence. It sure helped me to know those skills when owning a home. There are so many things that come up with home ownership that we have to pay others to fix. If you know how to yourself, it can save a lot of money.

    Look in any help wanted section of a newspaper and you will always find jobs needing skilled construction labor.

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