Army 42A MOS: Human Resources Specialist

The 42A Army MOS is a human resources specialist.  Soldiers serving in this MOS are sometimes known as “paper pushers.”  They handle all of the administrative paperwork in the Army – everything from leave, to evaluation reports to awards.  I spent several years in this MOS (as a 71L) and enjoyed it.

What I want to do in this post is cover the following things:

  • Job Duties of the 42A
  • Types of Jobs You Can Have
  • Sample Job Descriptions
  • Requirements to Serve in the MOS
  • Life After the Army
  • AIT and Training
  • My Experience

By the time you are finished reading this article, you should have a pretty good understanding about the MOS and know if it is a good fit for you.


The 42A is the jack of all trades in the “personnel” world.  Here are some of the most common duties you would do in this job:

  • Prepares and processes recommendations for awards and decorations and plans the awards ceremony
  • Reviews evaluation reports for administrative errors before they are submitted to higher headquarters
  • Processes and monitors requests for promotions and arranges for promotion ceremony
  • Handles requests for reductions, transfers, and discharges
  • Handles requests for identification cards and tags, leaves, and passes, line of duty determination, MILPER data and information management, orders for temporary duty and travel, personnel processing, military and special pay programs, transition processing, legal, meal cards, training soldier support file, and unit administration.
  • Prepares orders and request for orders
  • Prepares and maintains officer and enlisted personnel records
  • Prepares and reviews personnel casualty documents
  • Monitors suspense actions
  • Initiates, monitors, and processes personnel evaluations
  • Transfers records
  • Processes personnel for separation and retirement
  • Processes and executes Personnel Service Center SIDPERS level procedures and actions
  • Processes applications for OCS, warrant officer flight training, or other training
  • Initiates action for pass ports and visas

If I had to sum it up in a nutshell, the 42A handles ALL of the paperwork in a unit.   

Type of Jobs for the 42A MOS

Here are just a few sample jobs you could have as a 42A:

  • Administration Sergeant
  • Human Resources Specialist
  • Equal Opportunity Advisor
  • Human Resources NCO
  • S1 NCOIC
  • S1 NCO
  • Clerk
  • Casualty Operations NCO
  • Mail Clerk
  • Postal NCO
  • G1
  • Platoon Sergeant
  • Section Sergeant

You will find Soldiers with the 42A MOS in all type of units from the company level to the Army level.  Most units have at least one or two 42As assigned to the unit, even infantry units.


Here are some sample job descriptions of the 42A:

42A S3 Clerk:

Serves as an administrative specialist in the S3 section.  Types up all correspondence, stores files, orders office supplies, manages the correspondence and files, and prepares emails.

42A Mail Clerk:

Serves as the mail clerk for the battalion.  Handles and processes all mail requests.  Picks up mail from the post office, sorts it and distributes the mail accordingly.

Requirements to Serve as a 42A

  • Clerical (CL) : 90
  • ASVAB ScoreRequired: 90 in aptitude area CL
  • Security Clearance: Security Clearance required
  • Strength:Requirement: moderately heavy
  • Physical Profile:Requirement: 323222
  • Typing: The ability to type at a minimum speed of 40 net words per minute
  • Physical Demands Rating: Moderately heavy
  • Physical Profile Serial #:  323222
  • ASVAB Minimum Score:  90 total from VE+AR+MK

Life After the Army

As a Human Resources 42A Soldier there are plenty of opportunities for you after you leave the Army.  Just about every organization or business in the world has a human resources department.  Here are a few civilian jobs you could have, after you leave the Army.

  • Executive Assistant
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Office Manager
  • Supervisor
  • Human Resources Assistant
  • Human Resources Director
  • Payroll Clerk
  • Office Clerk
  • Word Processor or Typist
  • Transcriptionist

AIT and Training

After Basic Training you will attend a nine week AIT at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.  This is where you will learn the skills to succeed in this job, such as typing, how to prepare correspondence, how to manage personnel records, etc.  From what I found online, your AIT will last approximately 9 weeks.  During this time you will receive classroom instruction on how to do your job.  You will also spend a little bit of time in the field.

My Experience

I enlisted in the U.S. Army as a 71L Administrative Specialist (now a 42A) on June 26, 1995, my 18th birthday.  The only reason I picked the MOS was because there were only three jobs to choose from.  Yes, I had a high ASVAB score, but I lived in rural Maine, where there were only a couple Army Reserve units within 50 miles of my house.  I had to pick a MOS with one of those units that had an available slot.  Of the three choices I had, this one seemed like my best option.

I attended Basic Training and AIT at Fort Jackson, South Carolina in early 1996.  My experience at Basic Training and AIT was fun and challenging.  I spent about four years in the MOS.  I spent about a year in the Army Reserves and my last three years in the Old Guard.  I spent all of that time as a clerk.

During my time in that MOS I did a variety of tasks such as:

  • Writing and editing awards
  • Editing NCOERs
  • Typing up correspondence
  • Editing correspondence
  • Cleaning the office
  • Making coffee
  • Dictating
  • Ordering office supplies
  • Doing general, miscellaneous tasks as needed

I’ll be the first to admit that my job wasn’t always sexy or glamorous.  But I did like the fact that I was typically off work by 5pm and got to enjoy life.  I had fun in the job, but knew that I would have difficulty getting promoted to Sergeant and above.  At the time, the promotion points were always at the highest level, and getting promoted would be next to impossible.  So, I decided to enter the Green to Gold program and become a commissioned officer.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that the 42A MOS is a very important job.  If you enjoy clerical work, or would like to have a career in the human resources field, this is a great MOS to work in.  It’s isn’t always fun, sexy or exciting, but you’ll have an important job of supporting Soldiers.

What are your thoughts?  What do you think about this MOS?  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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2 thoughts on “Army 42A MOS: Human Resources Specialist”

  1. I must say Chuck, that I really like how you are going through the many different possible MOS opportunities in the United States Army. For any person who may be considering joining the Army, they can come to this website and find information about a possible MOS. I believe this blog should also be shared with recruiters.

    As for the 42A MOS, it would be a great one for future jobs after the Army. These types of jobs can be found almost anywhere. Almost every company that has employees has a Human Resources department.

    Thank you for sharing this info.

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