5 stereotypes radio guys get stuck with

One of the most versatile specialties in the military is the radio operator. Whether they’re a full-fledged MOS or the product of, “Hey, you! We need someone on radio!” the radio guy is tasked with, well, manning the radios. From the S-6 kid who comes to fill the convoy’s radios before they head out to the dude who’s right there on the officer’s heels, radio operators take all forms. But no matter what role we’re filling or what task we’re doing, everyone seems to view us as, simply, “the platoon nerds.”

Also Read: 4 stereotypes platoon ‘Docs’ get stuck with

That’s not entirely without merit — if there’s smoke, there’s fire. You may know a commo guy who matches every point on this list, but it varies from troop to troop. That being said, these are the biggest stereotypes radio guys are stuck with.

5. We’re all nerds

Truth is, plenty of us are just as “bro” as the next guy in the unit. We’ll still go out to the bars and kick a few back, we’ll still watch the game with you, and we’ll still actually talk to girls. Just some of us are better at video games than others.

sailor's video game collection

This is still probably what most of our barracks rooms look like. (Photo by Cpl. Alfred V. Lopez)

Writer’s Note: I’m probably the worst person to counter this argument since I’ve written extensively about the military connections of Star Wars, video games, and comic books. Many radio guys aren’t like me — I would know. They usually don’t want to nerd out over Game of Thrones with me.

4. We can fix your computers

There are two sides to the Signal Corps coin: the radio guy and the computer guy.

The computer guy can probably get your computer up and running before you know it. Give us radio guys a SinCGARS that isn’t working and it’ll be done by the time you blink. Hand us your laptop then say, “it’s running slow,” and we’ll probably just look at it funny.

sailor computer repair

Then again, if you offer us a case of beer, we’ll give it a shot. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Vance Hand)

3. We’re annoying as f*ck

This stereotype takes many forms. Since it’s our job is to communicate, a lot of us talk too much. Since it’s our job to correct others using improper radio etiquette, a lot of us use radio lingo off the net. Since there are some nerds in commo, a lot of us go on and on about that TV show you agreed to watch but never will.

That one is entirely on that one radio guy — don’t lump all of us in with him.

Field radio operator

“For the last f*cking time, radio guy! No one wants to talk about giant robots with you!” (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Eric Provost, Task Force Patriot PAO)

2. We’re overly comfortable with our officers

The radio guys who actually are out on the line of a combat arms unit need to be at the heel of our officers at all time. If they need to call something in, we need to have that hand-mic ready for them.

This often gets misinterpreted as us being ass-kissers or suck-ups. In actuality, it’s because the 2nd Lt. can’t be trusted with the radio gear.

Radio operator and officer

Think of us less like suck-ups and more like glorified pack-mules. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Shiloh Capers)

1. We’re all POGs

To be fair, yes, there are a lot of POGs in the signal world. Our Signal Corps counterparts can often be the furthest thing from “grunt” you can possibly imagine.

But POG is a state of mind, not an MOS. Just as you’ll see whiny infantrymen now and then, you’ll see some hardcore-as-f*ck radio guys. Hell, 18Es are Special Forces Communications and no one would ever dare call them POGs.

Special Forces Communications

18Es: Making radio guys look sick as f*ck since 1952. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Charles Santamaria)