Teasing, banter, and jargon are trademarks of the service. POG military lingo is no different. Used to describe a Person Other than Grunt (grunt being an infantryman), POG is typically a derogatory term to call someone who’s in a non-combative military position.
The resentment is understood. Grunts feel slighted that they’re out risking their lives and doing all the “dirty work” while POGs sit in their comfy office chairs and air conditioning.
Let’s be clear here. Anyone who serves, whether you’re a POG military employee or a front lines Ranger, is important to the overall success or failure of the military. Without cooks, no one eats. Without public affairs, no one’s informed. Without combat soldiers, there’s really no point. Everyone plays a vital role. It’s just that soldiers love to tease one another.
Origins of POG Military Slang
There are two theories about where the term POG came from. Both have it spelled “pogue” which actually demonstrates the proper pronunciation a bit more clearly.
The first origin story is that it came from the Gaelic word pogue, which means kiss. People who had shoreside military positions were called a pogue because they were able to stay at home and kiss their wives while “real” soldiers were off to war and away from their families. You can almost taste the bitterness, can’t you?
Another theory is that U.S. Marines in World War I would assign the name pogue to homosexual soldiers in traditionally female roles, like nurses or cooks. Then, it became more common to call someone a pogue if they seemed to be unable to meet certain expectations, perhaps in a physical sense, like slacking on pushups.
Either way, both of these origins are unable to be verified, and eventually, the acronym POG was adopted. Whether it was to avoid embarrassment or to own the term for themselves, soldiers came up with explanations that it meant something like Permanently On Garrison, Person Of Greater Use Elsewhere, and finally Person Other than Grunt which is the most widely accepted definition used today.
Signs You’re Probably a Super POG
- You bring a rolling suitcase instead of a rucksack.
- You have a command coin collection.
- You’ve probably read every book on your command’s suggested reading list.
- You don’t understand the fuss about MREs. In fact, you’re excited to try them and if they suck, you can just hit up Applebee’s down the road since you’re most likely stationed in a normal American town – not in the middle of nowhere.
- You’re annoyed when a jet takeoff wakes you up.
- You only have one roommate.
- You haven’t had to replace any part of your uniform all year. Boots stay pristine when you work at a desk.
- You’ve also only operated a weapon once this year.
- You’re insulted by the term POG.