Army POGs: My View of Personnel Other Than Grunts

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.

army infantry cross rifles
Here are the Army Infantry Crossed Rifles

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.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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15 thoughts on “Army POGs: My View of Personnel Other Than Grunts”

  1. This article gave me some useful information about the POG term in the military. I don’t know about POG in the military before reading your article. I have tried searching the internet, but it directs me to the military term POG, or its Gaelic translation, which is “kiss”. Thanks a lot.

  2. Candace Ginestar spelled it out pretty well in her comment.

    An infantryman has a tough job and it takes a special breed to do it.

    Everybody has their talent and it does take all of the Army to fight and win in any situation. Each man doing his or her respective job is the name of the game.

  3. I don’t think you can have it both ways. Some of you stated on another blog entry that you believe that medals won during combat are somehow more “valuable” than ones won by soldiers behind the lines. So if combat – the largest component of our combat front-line troops – awards are inherently better than behind the lines awards, I would think you have to agree that Infantry is better than POGs.

  4. Rodolfo Hernandez

    Been called worse, doesn't bother me. Guess I should've gone IN if I did'nt want to be a POG in their view. Held my own as a Soldier while serving in CSS units, I have no shame as my record speaks for itself. I agree with the LT grow thicker skin as there is much worse than being a POG

    1. I agree Rodolfo. I was proud to be a CSS Soldier. I might not have worn the crossed rifles or blue cord, but if it wasn’t for us, the infantry would be throwing rocks and trying to find food themselves. I personally think it’s a total team effort.

  5. When I was in, my MOS was 11 Bravo. I did have that mentality at first that infantry was the only true job in the Army. I have grown and realize that every institution is a body. The toe really cannot operate without the leg, so on and so forth. Infantry really cannot operate correctly if there is no cooks, supply, etc… Everyone is needed and all are important, even the poor sap cleaning the latrines.

    Now, back to the main point; I believe every soldier at heart is a grunt. If need be, all must be willing to pick up the rifle, run 10+ miles and kill the enemy. I believe that needs to be the overall mentality–All are grunts when it comes down to it.

  6. Candace Ginestar

    On another note, I do think that the reason grunts get irritable at POGs is when they say they are ‘basically infantry’. Why do people want to try and say they are something they are not? I would be defensive too. I never claimed to be a crew member when I worked in aviation, because I wasn’t. I had my job to do, and so did they.

    1. Good point. Just to chime in though, every branch but Infantry is expected to know their job and basic infantry skills. I’ve never heard of a grunt be expected to be a grunt and a fueler or be a grunt and an office clerk.

  7. As a career infantryman, I have plenty of branch pride. But I’ve also pointed out to my Soldiers over the years that they wouldn’t make it very far in combat without ammunition, fuel, food and water, medical supplies, or a host of other necessities, nor would they be very pleased to be serving without pay. As for training focus, mastering the full range of infantry skills is a time-consuming process, and those skills are perishable. Two weeks ago I was running the M4 qualification range for our squadron, and it was clear that some of the headquarters troop and forward support company personnel had spent minimal time with their individual weapons. Basic Army Warrior Task training is just that–basic–and is only a small fraction of the infantry skillset.

    1. I agree with you that shooting the M4 as a perishable skill. As a former FSC Company Commander we typically only shot once, sometimes twice a year. It’s hard to stay proficient with something you do don’t get to do very often.

    2. Candace Ginestar

      I agree, 100%. Being a grunt is NOT level 1 skills only. There is so much more to it than that. That being said, I have never taken the word POG as an insult, but I’ve always done my part and never thought I earned the right to be ‘basically infantry’.

  8. Candace Ginestar

    Hi Chuck! I think the Infantry, meateater, paragraph 3 of the opord mentality is absolutely necessary for them to do what they do. My platoon was integrated directly with a dismounted recon troop (full of 11b), and they never made us feel like we were less than they were. They had a job to do, and so did we. If they had swagger, it didn't offend us. They need that attitude to be good at their jobs. I think people who are bothered by the jokes probably need to grow thicker skin. The jokes go both ways…knuckledragging mouth breathers, for instance. =) I am glad to be a POG, because I know that term isn't meant for me as an insult. I have zero desire to do my husband's job, never!

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