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Grunts vs. POGs: Explaining the Rivalry

In some ways, it seems like these two groups have always been head to head. Grunts feel disrespected by POGs and vice versa. But why the tension? What’s really going on here?

But First, What is an Army POG?

For those who haven’t heard of the term, an Army POG stands for “person other than grunt” and “grunt” is a term for infantrymen and combat arms soldiers. Basically, grunts are on the front lines and POGs are everyone else who supports their efforts, like cooks and accountants.

What’s the Problem?

Some Army men say the issue begins right from the start, in basic training. From the beginning, recruits are told that their unit is the most important and without them, the military operation just wouldn’t be possible. Cooks are told that without them, everyone would starve and they give themselves a pat on the back. Accountants are told that if they weren’t there, no one would be paid and wouldn’t that be such a shame. And while this hypothesis is a good one, it seems to only tell part of the story.

Sometimes grunts are seen as less intelligent because of the work they do, which probably leads to a lot of the tension. Grunts are stereotypically the stupid, masculine, buff guys who have tiny brains and big biceps. POGs stereotypically are weak and were promoted straight to a higher rank from their ROTC programs, not by working their way up. There’s an air of snootiness and entitlement that comes with their degrees that grunts don’t take well.

But to be fair – no one makes it easier. In fact, POG has become a derogatory term among soldiers in the Army. That’s how far things have gotten. So, on a lighter note, what are some of the things POGs do that annoy grunts so much?

An Army POG According to Grunts

  • They have way too much luggage. Rolling suitcases on deployment are cause for snickering.
  • Their deployments typically allow them to skip MREs. Grunts are often deployed to the middle of nowhere.
  • They’re less experienced with a gun which makes it easy for grunts to ridicule.
  • They make the same amount of money (or more) for less risk.

This isn’t to say that being an Army POG means you’re a bad person. In fact, it’s good to know why a grunt might be frustrated with you. Sure, our station is what we signed up for and there are things to be concerned about in every facet of the military. Yet, understanding each other a little more is the only way to make the best of it.

Focus on Working Together

In any large group of people, there’s bound to be miscommunication. Especially when under the stress of the military, it’s easy to blame others for our lot in life. What many people fail to realize is that working together is often the best way to solve problems. And not in a manipulative way like befriending an Army POG just to get your paperwork done more quickly.

Grunts are out there on the front lines risking their lives. An Army POG is behind the scenes supporting the operation. Both are important, both are essential, and both won’t work without one another. So, perhaps calling each other grunts and POGs as an insult is mostly a waste of time. Try understanding what the other group has to offer and be grateful that they’re willing to do their jobs.

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