Grunts and POGs have been trading blows since the inception of military forces. It’s generally all healthy banter, but in some cases it can get heated. Chances are, you don’t even know what the acronym POG stands for. If you do, this could either make you smile or make you bare your teeth and clench your fists.
POG (or chair-force, paper-pusher, pen-wielder, keyboard warrior) is the term of affection used, particularly in the infantry, for all “Personnel Other than Grunts.” It is a name for those whose MOS (military occupational specialty) has them doing anything but actual combat. This group makes up the majority of all four branches, and no doubt has a very important role. POGs have what most would consider a “9-to-5” type of job that consists of waking up, doing a little PT (physical training), then performing whatever tasks their MOS requires, be it working on vehicles or aircraft, running inventory on a warehouse of supplies, or typing away at a keyboard in a cubicle. These people can be pretty good at what they do. It is thought that they generally have higher scores on their ASVAB (military placement test), but believe me, this isn’t always the case.
Grunt (or ground-pounder, bullet-catcher, bullet-sponge) is the term of affection given to those in combat MOSs, particularly infantry (special forces are kind of like the infantry’s cool big brother that he looks up to and I won’t be including them in this description since they are an entirely different beast). The stereotypical grunt is a knuckle-dragging, thick-headed idiot, but in my experience this is usually not true. Often times they score high enough on the ASVAB to take virtually any job they want, but they pick infantry. These are the guys who, during time of war, are in the field training 75% of the time and deployed the other 25% (honestly I’ve never been in peacetime infantry so I have no clue what they do besides training). Grunts get their pride from doing this job; it isn’t necessarily one that most people can’t do, but one that most people won’t do. It is the profession of enduring the most miserable, uncivilized conditions while attempting to destroy the enemy. Injury and death are not out of the question, in fact, they’re undoubtedly accepted as inevitable outcomes of the working conditions. Every grunt you meet, if they’re real grunts, will admit that they have the worst job in the military, but they relish that fact! Grunts will even argue with each other about who has it worse on a daily basis.
This is where the rivalry is birthed. POGs acknowledge that they picked jobs with better working conditions because they’re smart and they want to get experience for a career. No, they aren’t the warfighters, the guys at the front; but the guys at the front need them to succeed. Grunts acknowledge that they have the worst job, but it’s what makes them tougher, braver, better than POGs. After all, POGs wouldn’t even have a job if it weren’t for the grunts; the entire military exists because of the job that grunts do.
And on and on it will go, until both sides fall over laughing at how silly arguing is, or until both sides are bloody and bruised. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what your job is in the military, it only matters that you volunteered to serve your country. And for that, I tip my hat to you.
(But I am a grunt, and trust me, we’re the real military)