Daily routine of an Infantryman?

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by cisco, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. cisco

    cisco Member

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    I want to be an Infantry Officer in the Army, but I've been extremely curious about what kind of daily things do Infantrymen do? I'm sure it's not the same thing everyday, but again I'm not sure. I just want to have a clearer idea of what is to be ahead for me.
    Thanks!
     
  2. educ8

    educ8 Member

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    Cisco, it is a hard life...I was not an officer but I was a platoon sergeant in the 101 st and in the second ranger battalion. I'll elaborate when I get home. It is too hard to write on a smart phone!
     
  3. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    It really depends on the unit to which you are assigned (deployed v. non-deployed, mech infantry v. light infantry, rapid reaction v. training brigade) as well as what stage you are in your career (company grade officer in Infantry battalion v. field grade officer at the Pentagon, etc.).

    Speaking in terms of non-deployed life of a company grade officer in a front-line Infantry battalion (which seems to be your most likely scenario if you are graduating in 2015/2016), you will go through cycles of "life in the barracks" and "life in the field".

    Daily Routine for Barracks
    PT
    Inspections (uniform/equipment)
    Training/Equipment Maintenance
    Lunch
    Training/Equipment Maintenance (officers have extra duties assigned by battalion or company commander, such as investigations of incidents, arms room inventory, individual soldier issues, meetings with NCOs, planning future training, evaluations, etc.)
    End of Day

    Daily Routine for Field
    There really is no "daily" routine for the field (and certainly NO "End of Day"). They are very similar to the FTXs that you will experience as a cadet, but a LOT more of them and you have much more responsibility than simply digging a foxhole. The one thing that is different about the Infantry officer corps and the soldiers you lead is that officers often spend more time in the field than their soldiers. In my experience, after your platoon's field training is done, the soldiers often return to garrison to maintain equipment, etc., while the officers get asked to go out to the field again to evaluate other units (e.g., ARTEPs). Also, when in the field, you spend a lot of time checking your gun emplacements and walking up and down the line, then you walk back to the command post for meetings with your company commander and the other platoon leaders, and then back to your unit. You also spend a LOT of time on the radio (communicating with your squads and your company commander) and doing patrols at 2am with a few folks from your platoon.

    I'd say that the above general routine is the same for all the combat arms branches, except Aviation (they have more flight-time related tasks). It is markedly different than, say, working in the Finance Corps. But they do the things that you would expect when you think "Army".

    Also, note that an ROTC instructor branched Infantry has a VERY different experience than an Infantry officer assigned as a platoon leader in the 82nd Airborne Division.

    One more thing -- Lieutenants in the Infantry like to have fun just as their soldiers do, but you can't go out to a local bar frequented by your troops and "blow off steam" (but you will blow off steam within the protective confines of the O-Club or taking long "road trips" with the other LTs in the battalion on the weekends you are in garrison).

    Looking back on my life as an Infantry officer, I loved it. If you like FTXs as a cadet, you'll like the Infantry life. If you dread them, you won't.

    One more thing: If you have a close relationship with your platoon sergeant, your life will be good. If you don't, your life will suck. That guy is so incredibly important to whether you have a good experience or not.
     
  4. educ8

    educ8 Member

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    Excellent answer by Patentesq and thanks for the compliment to Platoon Sergeants. The only thing I would add to the above information is to make sure that you understand that it is indeed a hard life. The 11B MOS is what the Army is all about...but it is definitely a young man's job. My knees, back and shoulders ache, my hearing is bad from weapons, c-130s and uh-60s. When he said there is "no end of the day" he is right. The 2nd and 1st Lt Platoon Leaders got even less sleep than I did and when in the field, that is very little...in training or while deployed. It is a tough job on a family life, so it is something that you'll have to seriously consider.

    On the other hand, you can't get any more Army than 11B...Patentesq could probably answer the question better than me, but if I'm not mistaken it used to be that you couldn't make the rank of General without having been an Infantry officer.

    I'm not trying to discourage you, but I want you to know that is is not all guts and glory like you see in the movies. It is a lot of blood sweat and tears...and a ton of responsibility on the shoulders of a very young and inexperienced butterbar. Take his advice and learn from your E-7s. It's been nearly 20 years since I got out, but I doubt things have changed much.
     
  5. educ8

    educ8 Member

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    Patentesq and I failed to mention that while in the field it is either insanely hot, brutally cold, unbearably humid, raining, dusty, or snowing . All of which, since you are an infantry officer, you must pretend that you didn't notice! Even when your teeth are chattering and the cp has a foot of water in it. Of course, the hot chow brought up to your fob usuallyisn't....
    However, the coolest part of being in a high speed infantry unit, especially in a ranger battalion...is that every body who isn't in the infantry....deep down...wishes that they had that blue braid! Follow me! Good luck young man...and I hope you never get a CIB.
     
  6. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    educ8 is spot-on about the persistent environmental misery that Infantry grunts experience in the field! :smile: I can't speak to the jealousy felt by many who wish they wore the Blue Braid. But whenever a Cavalry officer would ask if I was jealous of his spurs and his fancy, out-dated hat, I'd usually respond with "whatever." :biggrin:

    Regarding the issue of promotion to general officer, it is true that the combat arms branches typically promote more general officers than, say, the Adjutant General Corps and other non-combat arms branches. This is more a function of the fact that there are more command opportunities in the combat arms branches than in the non-combat arms branches. And the Army rarely puts, say, a public affairs officer in charge of an armored or Infantry division. This is not to say that there are no general officers in the other branches, just fewer of them, so competition is more acute statistically.

    As for the relying on your E-7, and this applies to all branches, I can't underscore enough how critical it is to let him or her train you. A lot of butterbars fall on their face when they show up with an attitude. If your Platoon Sergeant likes you, he or she will pull you aside and give you your first lesson, likely this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Bfe6CgYbH8
     
  7. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Not only is that not true now, but it was never true in the modern Army.

    Patton was a cavalry officer.
    Tommy Franks was an artillery officer.
    Dick Cody was a Transportation Officer and then an Aviator.
    Fred Franks was an Armor officer.
    Daniel Christman was an Engineer officer.
    William Lennox was an Artillery officer.
    Martin Dempsey, the new CJCS, was an Armor Officer.
    Ray Odierno was an Artillery officer.
     
  8. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    scoutpilot, I heard a rumor that, in addition to issuing berets to everyone, the Army has decided that, in order for all soldiers to feel better about themselves (on recommendation of the Army's Chief Psychologist), it will be issuing Blue Braids to everyone. Is that true? :eek:
     
  9. cisco

    cisco Member

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    I really hope not, that's like giving First Place to everyone in the Olympics so they won't feel bad. The Military really shouldn't do too many things to make the soldiers "feel better". I'm not saying treat them like crap or anything, but don't baby them either you know? How would they react and act in combat or combat envirnments if they can't function in a regular envirnment? That's just me though.


    And thank you, you two for your insight and help! I won't be "that Officer" who shows up with that "I'm the greatest thing that ever happened in this Army so I don't need a senior NCO's help" attitude that so many NCO's complain about. I'd be lucky if my Platoon sergeant helps me and hopefully he will, and for my First Sergeant to do the same whenever I may become a Company Commander, and so forth. NCO's usually always have more years and experiences then Officers below O-3 or O-4.

    again thanks everyone! :smile:
     
  10. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Ah, the leadership philosophies of the uninitiated. It's what keeps me coming back here.


    Patentesq: no, there is no such move. I don't know where you heard such a lame rumor, but it reminds me of the type of BS usually passed along by old men at the barber shop who, in the course of solving all of America's problems, always seem to grab ahold of any slanderous rumor that bolsters their petty belief that the youth of America is going soft and could never survive in the Army/Navy/Marines of their day.

    The beret is being phased out. Watch the sidelines at an Army game. You will see most of the officer reps in Class B ASU with a Service Cap. The beret is no longer the standard headgear. The PC is back. Only those of us who've earned berets wear them in ACUs now.
     
  11. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    You always make me laugh, scout. :thumb: It must have been a dream of the "nightmare" variety that I had recently.
     
  12. educ8

    educ8 Member

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    Scoutpilot, Thanks for the correction. I want to impress on Cisco and anyone else who is considering especially Infantry, but any of the combat arms...that way down the list on the job description for Infantry is "bullet stopper". I have done everything I could to make sure that my sons do not go the bullet stopper route. Granted any job in the ARMED forces has the potential for it but....
     
  13. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I don't understand that. The Infantry is the Army- it is what everyone else in the Army exists to support. (Sorry Scout but this is gut reality). The success of the Infantry is the success of the Army and the failure of the Infantry is a guarantee of failure for the Army. I understand wanting to do something personally exciting in the Army or going into another branch because you have some special skills that you believe are going to be better utilized in another branch- (like being an aviator) but at the heart of the whole organization is the grunt. Giving someone contemplating an Army career advice to avoid that? Why go in the Army at all?
     
  14. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Here here.

    Or to put it in terms a moderator cannot, the Army has enough people who want to be doctors, lawyers, accountants, network administrators, and all other manner of extraneous BS that is not the fighting soul of the Army. That's part of the reason I tune out the uppity candidates who say "I want to go to med school after West Point!" I say "Oh yeah? There's a slot at Nameless State U for you then." The Army is about meting out violence in a meaningful and ethical manner for the betterment of the American way of life. The infantry is simply the most focused and direct route to that end, with Armor and Aviation and the Fires components acting in concert where needed.

    The PFC with the grubby face and clean weapon is the soul of this outfit. Good on you for wanting to lead him, Cisco.
     
  15. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Huh? You are both dead-wrong about this.

    My DS is one of those "uppity" kids who is at USMA and plans to be an Army medical doctor after USMA. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. My father was a career Army doctor as well and served this country just as faithfully as anyone who spent a career in the Army.

    True, he is in his first year and his plans may change, but I think I would be doing him a huge disservice to steer him away from that goal and urge him to go Infantry. It's really about serving your country, not just being an Infantry grunt. In my view, if an ROTC cadet dreams of being a CPA one day, I say they should branch Finance Corps. If his or her heart is in flying, they should branch Aviation Corps. If his or her heart is in cyber-security, they should branch military intellligence. Etc.

    Truth is, the vast number of cadets will pursue a civilian career after their service obligation is complete (that's true in a time of war, and especially during a draw-down period like the one we are facing). There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with a kid pursuing a branch that compliments their long-term goals. educ8 is right that Infantry is a tough life. For those folks who thrive in that environment (like I did before I fell in love and started thinking about a family), they are the folks who should branch Infantry.

    The kid who branches Transportation Corps is not ANY less of a good cadet and a dedicated public servant than the kid who branches Infantry. Period. scoutpilot, the VALEDICTORIAN of USMA is attending Brown University medical school next year. Is she an idiot? For that matter, is any female who attends USMA an idiot because they can't branch combat arms? Do you advocate that females should, instead, enroll at "Nameless State U"?

    I think you both need a reality check on this issue.
     
  16. educ8

    educ8 Member

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    Bruno, I think you meant to address me and not scoutpilot, I was not telling him to avoid the Infantry, not at all. What I do want to do is make sure that his and anyone else's eyes are wide open. I spent the better part eleven years as a grunt, prepared to do as ordered, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession. We need good men in the Infantry, now more than ever. When I said that I have done all I could to dissuade my sons from going the the bullet stopper route, I mean it, and they understand that they are free to choose the Infantry, the Coast Guard, officer or enlisted, or not going into the Service at all. But if the Infantry is what they choose, so be it....it is what I chose too. The military is a big organization and needs smart and enthusiastic people everywhere.

    Please don't think that I am discouraging anyone from anything, especially when I am intensely proud of my service, my blue braid, and Ranger Tab and have the utmost respect for all who wear the uniform. I understood that the purpose of the forum is to give honest opinions and information.

    When he is commissioned as a butterbar and is put in command of a platoon...he better know what he is getting himself into...because the lives of 30 men depend on him. I've had my share of good newly commissioned platoon leaders and I've had a few who, when things were stressful, were unable to make a decision or worse, made very poor decisions. If my sons do choose the Infantry, I want the men who serve next to them to know the hazards of their chosen profession and be ready to face the reality.

    So, when Cisco asked "I want to be an Infantry Officer in the Army, but I've been extremely curious about what kind of daily things do Infantrymen do? I'm sure it's not the same thing everyday, but again I'm not sure. I just want to have a clearer idea of what is to be ahead for me." I thought I's tell him form my experience as an old former Infantry Platoon Sergeant.

    I really think Scoutpilot, Bruno, Patentesq and I are all on the same page here:thumb:. Scout Pilot could not have said it better in the last post. I couldn't agree more with everything that has been said. The only thing that I will add, and I'm sure that you will all agree, is: I hope he never gets his CIB.
     
  17. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    educ8, you are quite the diplomat! :smile: And a very high-speed one at that! Thank you for your post.:thumb:
     
  18. educ8

    educ8 Member

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    I've had more than enough conflict in my life, I've been shot at and done my share of shooting, calling in air strikes, walking in artillery, etc....and here is a place that we are all working toward the same goal...to inform and encourage our own children and the children of others as they make their choices to serve our country. I certainly do not mean to discourage anyone from serving our country however they choose. My sons are both on this forum, with my encouragement. If one of them asks you for your opinion in your field of experience...I want you to tell them the best part of the job and the worst part of the job. To do anything less borders on dishonesty...an error of omission. I want them to hear it from someone who has been there and done that. In this case, I've been there and done that...Infantry that is. Judging from Cisco's responses, he is not very informed about what the Infantry is and what we do, and he asked, and I answered honestly. Never intending to dissuade him from choosing the Infantry....my Infantry, but rather to let him know the best (Pride of being in the Infantry, the backbone of the Army) and the worst (Stress, danger, fatigue, injury and extreme conditions).

    I've been lurking here for quite a while. I am impressed with the civil discourse and how informed most of the contributors are, you, Bruno and Scoutpilot and several others (Luigi and LITS) in particular. Unfortunately, it is too easy to be misinterpreted. I'm a big believer in a firm handshake and maintaining eye contact...there is no substitute...which is what makes this kind of conversation so difficult. I don't know any of you, and yet I feel like I know you all. If we were all together "back home" at Fort Lewis I'd buy each of you a beer (or coke) at the NCO club, give you a slap on the back, a firm handshake and thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here to lead and inform my boys, and our future leaders...in fact, I'd probably choke up... Then we'd probably all swap some stories and be friends forever...any of you serve in the 502nd of the 101st or the 2nd Ranger Battalion? :thumb:
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2011
  19. cisco

    cisco Member

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    Thank you everyone for your $.02, wisdom, advice, knowledge, etc. No one will disscourage me from being apart of the Infantry, my Mother is always saying how she hates the idea of it because of the Danger. I know about the pride, and about all the promised, and potential sacrifices made by doing it. I know a lot about the Military, but like most things in life, you never know until you've either been there or done it. Infantry would be one of those. Like the slogan of Norwich University "I will try", I will try to the greatest extent of any and all my abilities to lead anyone who is and or falls under me to success, during Wartime or not and make the fewest mistakes as humanly possible. Because like someone here said, Lives are at stake, and I know I wouldn't want to lay my life into the hands of someone who won't take care of it.
    I think when he said that some USMA graduates want to be doctors and lawyers and such, he meant that the cadet would serve his minimal term just to get a free education and go to become a civillian doctor/lawyer, etc. As if he were taking advantage of the free $500,000 education.
    All jobs in the Military are important, think of the military as a massive Spear. Infantry and all other main combat units (like Special Forces, Rangers, etc) are the tip and the sharp blade of the Spear, the rest of the military branches are the stick. The Spear wouldn't be nearly as effective without that stick, the support units.
    Again, thank you everyone for your 2 cents and support. I cannot see myseld doing anything else other than to serve my Nation. In any way shape or form, so long as Integrity and Honor are in sight.
     
  20. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Here's some free advice: so far, the folks who've responded to this thread have something approaching 70 years of combined Army experience. Try lecturing and pontificating a little less. The rest of us are pretty well versed on how this institution functions. For saying you won't be the young officer who acts like he knows Everything, you seem to think we need the military explained to us.
     

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