This was just published in The Belle Banner, Belle, Missouri, on May 15th 2019. I want to get this information to as many as possible while the bonus is still current.
If you’ve ever heard the saying “He’s just a lowly grunt”, discard it, there is no such thing. The infantry soldier is at the top of the heap – the pinnacle of soldiering. The infantry moto is “Follow Me”. Every element of the military supports the infantry. Infantrymen are the combat soldiers, whose job is to close with and kill or capture the enemy. They are the warriors.
Upon successful completion of infantry training, the soldier is awarded a blue infantry cord to wear on the right shoulder of dress uniforms and blue backgrounds for lapel insignia, one of which is the crossed rifles of the infantry. That is the “Turning Blue Ceremony”. In permanent units infantry soldiers may voluntarily participate in a week and a half long, rigorous test of all infantry skills. Those who successfully complete all tasks in the time allotted are awarded the Expert Infantryman’s Badge (EIB), a rifle on a blue background, to be worn on all uniforms. Infantrymen who see combat are awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge (CIB), which is the same badge, but with a wreath around the rifle. The CIB is the most prestigious badge worn on a military uniform.
Army infantrymen, and women, are trained in OSUT (One Station Unit Training) companies on Sand Hill at Fort Benning, Georgia (Columbus). OSUT companies conduct basic and advanced training all in one company. About half of the women who have started infantry training have made it through. Some are now in infantry units and this past year a few in the 82nd Airborne Division won EIB’s. Women must do the same physical tests and activities as the men. Not many women want to be infantry grunts, but some do and some make it through.
The Army is trying to increase its size, but the current Army leadership has seen, in the past, the bad results of lowering standards to get more recruits. Standards are not being lowered and training is being increased. Infantry OSUT is being expanded from 14 to 22 weeks. A pilot 22 week class graduated in December, and the program of instruction is being finalized to be fully implemented by this coming October. The commanders and drill sergeants who conducted that pilot class said that they didn’t try to come up with many new tasks, but were able to spend more time on the basics and produce a better trained soldier. They spent more time in live fire and produced more expert riflemen, they had 100 percent successfully complete the land navigation tests, our enemies have digital technology so infantrymen must be able to navigate with a paper map and compass, the class completed the combat lifesaver course, they spent much more time in hand to hand combat training, and the extra two months produced graduates in better physical condition. The Infantry Training Brigade commander said, “If we do our job right these troops will be able to out PT their team leader and out shoot their squad leader, and be as good or better than their combat life savers.”
More live fire
The infantry works harder, the infantry goes to combat, there is more pride in the infantry, and the infantry gets promoted faster.
The enlistment bonus is $20,000 for a 3 year enlistment, $25,000 for 4 years, $30,000 for 5, and $40,000 for a 6 year enlistment. The soldier would be paid $10,000 after successfully completing infantry training, and the remaining divided by years of enlistment and paid annually. That is for someone enlisting for MOS (military occupational specialty) 11X which is infantry training. The infantry MOS’s are 11B Light Weapons Infantryman and 11C Heavy Weapons Infantryman (mortars). The Army decides which a recruit is trained for while he is in training. There are a whole lot more 11B’s that 11C’s. There are also two different types of infantry units. Mechanized, where infantrymen ride on or in some type of vehicle, and Light Infantry where they walk more than ride. Infantry soldiers may serve in either.
Infantry OSUT is no walk in the park. Basic Combat Training, which is the first 10 weeks, is tougher and more demanding now than it has been since World War II. Then the 12 weeks of infantry training is the most physically demanding MOS training in the Army. So my advice to anyone considering this, man or woman, is to get in shape, pushups, pullups, situps, running, and a lot of walking in boots (army boots if you can get them) carrying a rucksack. There are road marches of 3, 6, 9, 12 and finally 15 miles carrying a 60 pound rucksack. People who enlist for Rangers or Special Forces go to infantry OSUT first. I do not recommend that anyone who is not already very familiar with the Army enlist for Rangers or Special Forces. Enlist for Airborne Infantry, then when you’ve been in the Army long enough to know what those units actually do and their requirements, make your decision. The first three weeks are “Total Control”, trainees don’t make a move that is not guided by a Drill Sergeant. That is when they learn how to march, stand, turn, salute, and act like a soldier. After that the control is a little different, but the intensity isn’t. An infantry OSUT company commander recently posted on facebook for families not to expect many phone calls, communicate by mail.
The infantry unit with the highest morale (happiest) in the military is the 82nd Airborne Division. The 82nd also works the hardest, because one the 82nd’s three brigades is always on alert to get the entire 5,000 man brigade with all vehicles and equipment, rigged for a parachute drop somewhere in the world, in the air within 18 hours of notification. Because the 82nd is America’s Fire Brigade, it is always fully funded, conducts realistic and exciting training, and has the best leadership the Army has to offer. There is a saying that when the President calls 911 the phone is answered at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. There are actually two unofficial separate armies within the US Army. There is the Airborne Army and the non-airborne army. Young airborne troops, paratroopers, un-affectionately call the non-airborne army “legs”. A person who enlists for 11X with the airborne option will probably go to the 82nd, or possibly the 173rd Airborne Brigade (The Sky Soldiers) in Vicenza, Italy. Vicenza is currently, by survey, the most desired assignment location in the Army. Our own Command Sergeant Major Jeremy Compton is there now. There is also the 4th Brigade (Airborne) of the 25th Infantry Division at Anchorage, Alaska.
Airborne infantry is light infantry, but their method of delivery to the battlefield causes them to train differently than non-airborne. Non-airborne infantry gets to the battlefield on a vehicle or a helicopter, airborne jumps from an airplane onto the battlefield. Adverse weather or enemy anti-aircraft fire can cause airplanes to drop paratroops not at their planned location. Individual paratroops can become widely scattered during a jump. I can tell you what happens when paratroops are dropped in 35 mile an hour winds. Made national news that time. Because of that possible scenario airborne troops are briefed down to the last Private on the entire mission and objectives. That started in World War II and continues today. When time permits the entire platoon gets to see aerial photographs and mock-ups. The airborne has a term LGOPS (Little Groups of Paratroopers). If a paratrooper can’t find his leaders, he just finds other paratroopers and goes on with the mission. The first combat parachute jump was in Sicily in July 1943. Due to winds and enemy fire the paratroops were scattered over many miles in places they didn’t plan to be. Little groups got together and cut every telephone line they found, they ambushed vehicles and attacked troops causing the German commanders to think they were facing a much larger force than was actually there.
This bonus won’t last long. Go Infantry – Go Airborne $$$$!