Army Line Officer: My Thoughts

What exactly is an Army Line Officer?  Some people would describe it as combat arms officers serving in deployable units. Personally, I would definite it as ANY commissioned officer serving in a LEADERSHIP position in ANY deployable unit.  The officer’s branch and rank is pretty much irrelevant.  It’s the type of unit and duty position that really matters most.

I have to tell you right upfront that the mission of the Army is to fight and win our nation’s land wars.  Within the Army there is a fighting force.  These are the deployable units that deploy and fight these wars.  These units consist of infantry, army, aviation, signal and every other branch imaginable.  Although the combat arms units do the brunt of the fighting, these other combat support and combat service support units also have a very important mission.

If you plan on making a career out of the Army, you should spend MOST of your career as an Army Line Officer!  This is where the rubber meets the road.  This is what the Army is all about.  This is where you will MASTER your craft and refine your leadership. These are the tough, challenging positions that bring out the best in you.

I spent most of my career as an Army Line Officer.  Other than my last assignment (which I didn’t enjoy much) every duty position I ever had was in a MTOE, deployable unit.  Most of my duty positions were leadership positions and these jobs were the hardest, yet most fulfilling.

Yes, you can have a successful rewarding career without spending much time in the line, but I don’t recommend it.  After all, who joined the Army to work on staff?  Who joined the Army to have a 9 to 5 and spend all of your time in Garrison?  I didn’t and I’m sure you didn’t either.

The bottom line is to serve as an Army Line Officer!  I know you will love it and I know it will help bring out the best in you!

What are your thoughts?  What do you think about serving as an Army Line Officer?  Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.  I look forward to hearing from you.


chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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3 thoughts on “Army Line Officer: My Thoughts”

  1. It seems counter-productive to join the Army only to then plant your ass firmly behind a desk for a typical 9 to 5 office job. Why join the Army to do what you could do with any company or business outside of the military? Anyone with a desire for a real Army experience should get themselves involved in this line of work – the work of a line officer. Challenging leadership roles are far more fulfilling than office jobs, and the life lessons learned are far more abundant.

  2. I agree that if you are looking for a career, especially one that has potential advancement, you need line experience. However, some very good people find themselves in support position and all I can say is: Just be the best at whatever position. Don't be the soldier who gets a "bad" assignment and lets it affect their attitude and performance.

  3. I agree with this writer that it is always a good idea to serve “where the rubber meets the road”. Like any other organization: remember why you joined, and it usually is the most challenging positions that are the most fulfilling. Sure, some may sign up to spend their time pushing papers around, but many do not.

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