Right out of the gate, lets get to what POG stands for. It’s Person Other than Grunt. Grunts are infantry soldiers.
Sure, their jobs rarely make the recruiting posters, but soldiers with jobs like human administration, water purification, or public affairs receive plenty of perks. While calling someone a “POG” (or the Vietnam-era spelling of ‘pogue’) is meant as an insult from the infantry ranks, there are plenty of reasons why it’s just fine to be one.
1. Very marketable training
The infantry receives a lot of training on shooting center mass and carrying heavy things. POGs get training in moving paperwork, filling out paperwork, or doing boring tasks according to instructions in their paperwork.
Guess which skills civilian employers require.
2. Regular access to air conditioning, Internet, POGey bait, and chairs
Take a look at a combat outpost.
Notice how it looks f–king horrible? Yeah, you don’t want to live there. And no, not all POGs have it easy on big, sprawling bases like peak-population Bagram, but they’re much less likely to be living in 2,000-sq. foot combat outposts with only one layer of HESCO and concertina wire between them and the enemy.
3. Hearing (except for artillery, aviation, or route clearance)
Yes, even super-POGs usually notice their scores on hearing tests slipping the longer they’re in the military. But, the whole job of the infantry is to run around, put a metal cylinder next to their ear, and then repeatedly set off explosions in that metal cylinder.
Most POGs don’t have to worry about that as much. Admittedly, there are certain branches, like artillery, aviation, or route clearance, that can have it even worse than infantry.
4. Same pay and benefits for half the risk
Ever taken a good look at the military pay charts? Notice how there aren’t separate charts for infantry, signal, and chemical corps? That’s because, except for some incentive pays and bonuses, everyone in the military makes the same pay at a given rank and seniority level.
5. Lower uniform costs (fewer replacements)
When all those tough infantry guys are in the field, they’re tearing apart the uniforms that were issued to them. They get mud stains, holes in the knees, and torn crotches all the time. Some of them can be exchanged, but replacing the rest comes out of the dude’s pocket. So congrats on the piles of extra money you get to keep, POGs.
6. More awards
Now before all the POGs rush to the comments section to explain how you totally earned your awards: We know you did, but you need to recognize your POG-privilege. POGs in combat units hold special positions that the commander keeps an eye on, and POGs in staff sections spend all of their time in front of senior staff officers and commanders.
When they do something outstanding, it’s seen by the future approval authority of an award. This authority can lean over and whisper to their aide and, voila, within a week or so the award has been written, approved, and pinned. When people in line units do a great job, their squad sergeant sees it. The squad sergeant has to convince the entire NCO support channel and chain of command that the service member deserves the award.
7. Lower standards
Combat units generally have the highest standards for physical training, marksmanship, and battlefield competence for good reason: They expect to find themselves in firefights. Within these combat units, combat arms soldiers, especially infantry, are expected to have the highest scores.
POGs don’t get a pass, but they have it easier. As long as they hit basic qualifying scores, they’re generally left alone. And we know, #notallPOGs, but more POGs get this treatment than grunts.
8. Civilians can’t tell the difference anyway
Sure, grunts want to claim they’re the only real soldiers and Marines, but all those civilians you’re secretly trying to impress with your uniform can’t tell the difference anyway. I mean, they usually can’t tell that this guy …
… isn’t an actual Marine. Trust me, they don’t know the difference between POG and grunt.
9. POGs make a difference, too.
All jokes aside, POGs are important. Yes, they’re made fun of. No, the job isn’t sexy. And sure, the infantry has been Queen of Battle since humanity started fighting battles.
But it’s the POGs that make a modern force. Everyone gets MREs instead of grass because of the supply troops. Maintainers keep the airplanes and helicopters from falling out of the sky. Water dogs are the butt of all the jokes until troops are dehydrated in the desert, trying to decide between not drinking anything or drinking from a risky source and potentially dying of diarrhea.
When the military doesn’t need a certain job fulfilled anymore, it stops allowing enlistment contracts for it. So if you’re on the team, the military needs you and is counting on your expertise, POG and grunt alike.