If you’ve spent any time in the Army, you’ve probably heard of the acronym “POG” before. If you haven’t, let me take a moment and educate you about what it means. In essence, it stands for “personnel other than grunt.” It’s a very common term used in the Army, especially when infantrymen are talking with each other about non-infantry Soldiers. It’s basically a “slang” or “derogatory” word to describe people who are non-infantry.
Within the Army’s Infantry branch, there is a strong sense of pride and tradition. I respect that. Tradition and pride are great things. Sometimes there is so much pride that some infantrymen will argue that they have the most important job in the Army and that they are the only real Soldiers in the Army. Even though I am/was a non-infantry guy during my career, I hands down agree that the Infantry does have the MOST important job in the Army. Without them, we wouldn’t have people to “fight the enemy.”
After all, the mission of our Army is to “fight and win our nation’s land wars.” And for the most part, it’s the infantry that does that! What the infantry often forgets to mention is that they DO NOT fight alone. Check any Infantry Division within the Army and there are probably 5 or 6 non-infantry Soldiers supporting every infantry Soldier (and maybe more than that). Without these “support” or “non-infantry” folks the infantry would be out of business in no time.
Furthermore, I disagree that “the infantry” are the only “real” Soldiers in the Army. Last time I checked the Army was a team effort! All MOSs and branches rely on each other. For example, the Infantry relies on the Cavalry, Aviation, Logistics, and Field Artillery during close combat. They also need people to pay them, clothe them, feed them, supply them, help them communicate, transport them, arm them, handle their paperwork, etc. Without these other support elements in the Army, the infantry would be a bunch of naked men on the battlefield throwing rocks and sticks at the enemy!
Another thing that few infantrymen ever mention is that non-infantry Soldiers have to be proficient at their job AND the basic Soldiering/Infantry Skills. Yet, when was the last time an infantryman had to be an infantryman and a medic? Or an infantryman and a mechanic? In most cases, never. All they have to worry about is being an infantryman. I’m not saying this is right or wrong, but it is reality as I see it.
I spent 15 years in the Army as a combat service support soldier and never felt like “less” of a Soldier than my infantry peers. I wore the same uniform, had the same ID card, the same unit patch, the same pay, the same deployments, etc. I was just as proud to be a Logistics Officer as my friends were to be an Infantry Officer.
So, here’s my recommendation for you. If you are an Infantry Soldier APPRECIATE the people who support you and make your life easier. And if you are a “POG” like I was, appreciate the war-fighter, the infantryman, who kicks in doors and kills the enemy. Remember that both of you are important and you both need each other to survive in combat. At the end of the day, be proud of what you do! You do make a difference.
What are your thoughts about Army POGs? Leave a comment and let us know.