Definition: Person Other than Grunt
POG is a term, usually derogatory in nature, to describe a non-combative soldier in any of the military branches. A grunt, on the other hand, is a soldier in those combative positions such as infantrymen. These two groups are usually at odds.
Some service members say even soldiers with labor and technical jobs can be considered grunts even if they’re not necessarily on the front lines. Overall, the distinction seems to be that grunts do hard labor and POGs have desk jobs.
Or is it really that simple? Before we hurl insults or derogatory remarks, let’s look at different views.
From a Grunt’s Point of View
It’s impossible to answer the question, “what is a POG?” without looking at a grunt’s perspective in order to shed light on why there’s such a disconnect between these two camps.
From just a brief synopsis, you might be able to understand how a grunt could feel a bit of resentment toward POGs. In a nutshell, grunts imagine them sitting in a cushy desk chair all day while they rough it in the mud, risking their lives – literally.
POGs don’t make it any easier on themselves. They’re known for being overweight, bringing fancy, rolling luggage instead of carrying a rucksack, and they’re said to have barely handled a gun apart from yearly servicing. In a culture of proud soldiers, these behaviors won’t harbor the most respect.
It’s true that most POG units require less personal training, have less risky jobs, and get promoted quicker than their grunt counterparts. The infantry deserves the highest respect for the risk they face daily. But there is more to a military POG (which we prefer to refer to as non-infantry) than that.
What is a Pog Military Life
Whether a grunt or a military POG, they all undergo the same tough training. Whether it is the Basic Combat Training (BCT) for the Army or the equally gruelling 13-week Marine Recruit Corps Recruit Training.
Even after the BCT in the case of the Army, each soldier will undergo further training (Advanced Individual Training or AIT) according to their Military Occupational Specialty or MOS. This AIT lasts anywhere from 4 weeks to 7 months, maybe even more.
That being said, each soldier becomes highly specialized in their MOS. Each becomes an essential part of the whole combat mission. The whole team, to properly carry out their mission, needs combat engineers, mechanics, military intelligence, cybersecurity, air support, artillery, and more.
Also, after the MOS training, each of the military POG/non-infantry is must undergo a regular Physical Fitness test and weapons proficiency training. The principle behind this is that all military personnel must be combat-ready and able to defend the line, a fellow soldier, or themselves.
Thus, while indeed the training of infantry is indeed quite tough, a military POG certainly earned his way to deserve this respect too with their training that also makes them combat-ready.
Do Military POGs See Combat?
Yes, infantrymen (11B) are the frontlines in combat operations, but military POGs see combat too – and train hard especially prior to deployment.
Combat engineers (12B) for one, prepare infrastructure in combat missions, do route clearance, detonating explosives and clearing IEDs.
A Marine Motor Transport (Motor T) soldier endures hours of convoy, possibly hitting IEDs and thereby facing risks too.
Or take a Combat Medic (68W), who is ready to provide immediate care even before a wounded soldier leaves the battlefield.
The list goes on – and the point is, once you deploy, infantry or military POG, you are front line. Once there is an enemy encounter, everyone grabs a weapon and defends the line. The enemy does not distinguish soldiers; when you wear the uniform, you ARE enemy target.
Can’t We All Just Get Along?
From forums and online discussions on this issue, the love-hate relationship between grunts and POGs stems from a dissatisfaction of one soldier against another who does not seem to be performing according to expectation and be the best in whatever MOS a soldier takes.
No matter what role a soldier plays, if done to the best there is, then each soldier will learn to appreciate and value the other in accomplishing a combat mission.
With the disparities in job duties, lifestyle choices, and classic teasing among recruits, there seems to be a lot of genuine tension between POGs and grunts.
It’s easy for a grunt to feel jealous of or bitter toward a POG who seems to have no worries compared to the stress of life as a grunt. But let’s have a little reality check here.
Most POGs have a college degree and that’s no easy feat. Before a grunt admonishes a POG because he has a comfortable job doing easy-as-pie administrative work, it’s best to think about all the time and effort he or she put into getting an education. This gives them a leg to stand on for getting promoted quickly in some cases.
Yet, the education system these days has a lot more to do with the money that it has to do with smarts. Grunts get that, too, and there’s no way that just because someone has a labor-intensive job means they have any less intelligence.
Still, there are always ways out of your situation if you’re unhappy with your lot in life. But chances are, you chose to be in the infantry or a Ranger.
There’s a lot of pride associated with combat positions that POGs don’t receive. Relish in what you do receive by being on the front lines instead of being angry about the things you don’t have.
So, instead of focusing on how easy a POG has it or how dumb a grunt is, consider what you have to be grateful for. After all, you’re all on the same side and one unit can’t function without the other.
Sure – a little fun and games never hurt anyone and surely the culture of teasing POGs will live on in mess halls around the world. Just remember, it’s better to have respect for one another than constantly be head to head. It’ll make a stronger military in the end.