By: Peter Sessum
Even though it was a couple of years ago, the Why Grunts Hate POGs post is still getting hits so it must resonate with a lot of people. Maybe it is time for a follow-up or an update. The article was a stand-alone piece about one specific issue, literally why grunts hate POGs, but there is much more to the overall topic. Most importantly, just because someone isn’t a grunt doesn’t necessarily make them a POG. It was stated in the article, but many glossed over it.
While POG literally means Person Other than Grunt, calling someone a POG has become an insult that is more of a reflection on the person than their job. It is kind of like jocks v. nerds in high school. Not every 11-series self identifies as a grunt and not every student athlete calls himself a jock. Like the term grunt, jock has a particular connotation. Just because someone isn’t a student athlete doesn’t mean he or she isn’t athletic. A student that boxes or practices MMA off campus might be in better shape than most football players but because it isn’t a school sport he or she might not be considered a jock. Students don’t get letterman’s jackets for sports outside the school but does that make that student a nerd. In the same way that Special Forces soldiers are technically POGs but I wouldn’t call one that to his face.
Being a grunt means embracing the grunt mentality and way of life. Many soldiers that have graduated Infantry School might not call himself a grunt because he doesn’t see himself as the stereotypical grunt. I know a lot of very smart men in the Infantry, but most of the men I know that identify as Infantry do not call themselves grunts and that might be because of the negative image.
Being a POG is more of a mentality than a MOS. There are even Infantrymen that exhibit POG behavior. Someone that is a POG is a soldier that doesn’t do their job to be part of military team. It is the mechanic that makes a driver do work that mechanics are supposed to do because they are lazy. It is the supply guy that makes people beg for items they are free to issue. The quintessential POG is the armorer that rejects every weapon for the tiniest speck of dust but will accept everything without a cursory glance after 1600.
Anyone that looks for reasons not to do their job that impacts another soldier is a POG. A soldier that takes a nap in his vehicle instead of doing his Monday morning garrison PMCS is just trying to get over, the S1 trooper that turns away a soldier to out-process at 1050 so he can take a long lunch is a POG. Another easy way to spot a POG is with his large wings of a bluish hue. Yes, the infamous Blue Falcon is almost exclusively a POG. The Blue Falcon, or buddy fucker for the uninitiated, is the lowest form of life in the military.
So how can someone not be a grunt but also not a POG? By doing their job and acting like a part of the military team. Honestly, there are many of them out there. The supply guy that hooks up others in the Spec-4 Mafia to make sure that everyone can get their missions accomplished, the PAC kid that will take your paperwork when everyone else in the office wants to take an early lunch, the commo guy that will take the time to explain something and most importantly, the armorer that won’t reject any legitimately clean weapon the first time. Those are not POGs.
When the Army stole 20 days of leave from a soldier and the S1 wouldn’t lift a finger to help, those guys were POGs. When a soldier returns from 10 days of emergency leave after burying his grandmother and the S1 soldier quietly round files the leave form that S1 trooper is not a POG. It might have been breaking the rules, but you can bet that grunt would remember that. And that is what being in the military is all about, taking care of one another.
While one Internet post won’t change the military mentality it is important to state that just because someone is not a grunt does not mean that POG as a derogatory term should apply to them. Especially since some are pretty hardcore. Medics in the Ranger Battalion are pretty hard and shouldn’t be called POGs. Someone thing goes for commo troops and forward observers that roll out with SF.
When you break it down, POG has become a derogatory term used by Infantry to describe those that don’t have the same attitude of loyalty and teamwork as is found in the Infantry world. An Infantryman can’t tell someone that is in need of his skills to come back later. No mortarman is going to reject a call for fire because he is on a lunch break. While it is true that many jobs in the military are not life and death, if the person takes it seriously and does their job they are not a POG. That term should be saved for those that show true POG behavior. But what do I know, I’m just a grunt.
when people wanted me to explain what I do as a 25V, I would always say, “I am a grunt with a camera.” Nothing better then being a 25V, we get to hang with the best of them.
Way to throw away the heart of the message.
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I get a lot of grief from my ground friends since i’m aviation but, I always ask them if they would rather fly then ruck or convoy, the answer is always fly. I always instill in my soldiers the importance of making sure the job is done right no matter the time, lives are in our hands and we must act accordingly. I love my job and I know that doing my job right ensures air support for my brothers on the ground (especially deployed) There is no lunch or short days while an aircraft is down.
Mad respect for you aviation guys, but I would have said ruck. Good lord did you guys make me sick as a dog every time I flew. Chinooks were the absolute worst. There were more than a few times that I would have gladly done a 12-mile road march with a 70 pound ruck and an M60 as opposed to a 30 minute chopper flight.
Sessum, another brilliant article. As a fellow infantryman I know exactly where you’re coming from. I would never dare call my medic a POG not my fister. Both of those guys proceed themselves a part of the brotherhood many times over.
I thank all the soldiers who do their jobs every day to the best of their ability. Those that don’t should learn to deal with the distain that other soldiers give them. The military is a family and if you’re a shitty brother or sister expect your family to call you or on it. Blue falcons……
Not sure how it is now -has been 14 years since I was in- .
Anyway as an 88m -truck driver- at the time we could end up in any kind of unit. The up side of this is you got to know what other MOS did and got to respect them for it. For the most part I got along good with everyone but there are always a few that no matter what are just 100% total pricks I don’t care what their MOS was.
On a quick side note use to like working with Inf be they leg, mobil, or airborn 99% of the time they had their act together and were easy to work with, on the other hand to this day I still cringe if I hear the word ranger come up for some reason I just never got along with those guys.
“History and etymology
It has been used in the United States Navy and Marine Corps since before World War II, entering Army usage around the time of the Vietnam War.
Originally, the term was a sexual insult in early twentieth century gay culture, as “pogue” was slang for a young male who submitted to sexual advances
Due to having lost contact with its linguistic source, the modern military vernacular has turned “pogue” into a retronym/backronym. “Pogue” is now sometimes incorrectly described as the pronunciation of the acronym POG, or Person Other than Grunt, or Posted On Garrison”
Very well written article.
I was an 11B and got transferred from a line company to our battalion S1 section two years into my second tour.
While working as a PAC guy with no formal training, I improved our personnel reporting statistics from mediocre to best in the division within six months. The guy I replaced at the SIDPERS desk was a POG. He intentionally got himself kicked out of the Army through the weight control program. He was a very good 75B, but wanted out.
A year and a half later, the Gulf War broke out. Three platoons from our battalion were deployed, one of which was my old platoon. I requested to my s1 Captain to rejoin my old platoon to fill them out. He denied the request, saying “I need you here!”
I soon found out why. As soon as our guys were deployed, we were sent six platoons of re-activated IRR troops to train as Infantry. The reactivation of soldiers who had been discharged to control group created a paperwork nightmare, Every one of them, even though they were still under contract and receiving TDY pay filed congressional complaints about having to pay for meals at the mess hall. The army relented and gave them free meals, even though they were being paid a meal allowance in their TDY pay.
After the Gulf War ended and my involutnary extension was released, I put in to ETS. Being an experienced PAC soldier, my NCOs told me to write my own recommendation for my service award. After discussion with my NCOs, I recommended myself for the Army Commendation Medal, having been awarded three AAMs already.
While on terminal leave, (I had 60 days) i was informed by a friend that my award had been rejected by the brigade commander with the comment, “Isn’t an AAM enough for a specialist?”\
The next day, an LTC, MAJ, 2 CPTs, CSM, SFC and 2 SSGs had a meeting with the COL.
Two weeks later, I was called in on a fake emergency recall from leave and awarded the ARCOM.
After Leaving active duty and reclassifying to MOS 46q in the Army Reserve, the local Reserve Infantry battalion requested me by name when they wanted a photojournalist to cover their events or training.
So, Yes…POG is a mentality, NOT an MOS
As any grunt can tell you, hearing the arrival of arty/friendly air support, brightens up your day!
How about Brrrrrrrt the 30mm
Another good article to that justifies pogs being calling themselves grunts because they went on a couple of patrols with actual 03’s and 11B’s. Granted, I served with fellow radio men who did every single combat patrol with us and even though they didn’t enlist to be grunts, they lived the rough life with us, lived in the barracks with us, and played all the fuck fuck games with us. I would gladly defend his stance on being considered a grunts although interestingly enough, he had no problem calling himself a radioman. Same goes for corpsman, anyone who lived with me in combat and back in the rear, if I didn’t see you on a daily basis, fuck off. This would be the equivalent of me going around telling people I was special forces because I was part of a MEUSOC (Marine Expeditionary Unit Special Operations Capable). It gets on my nerve when and Intel gut tells me he was a grunts because he was attached to a CAV unit or Marine infantry battalion. You were simply an attachment. Infantry is a brotherhood that’s developed over years of living on an infantry camp (stateside and oversees.). I’ll check you on it the way I’ll check a not veteran claiming to have been a veteran (aka stolen valor) – Jorge Gaitan 1st Battalion 5th Marines C Company 1st Platoon (2002-2006).
Being a Grunt is a way of life , This is true . I say this about being a grunt , I have had many more painful , disappointing and degrading moments being a grunt , however , when I think about these times , I do not remember those , I remember the best friends I could ever had , Thick or Thin , we live together , we ride together , we die together , Grunt for life Bitches !