People like to learn shit, that’s a fact, so let me educate you.
Knowledge #1: Grunts are not dumb
This is a common misconception and I think I know why.
First, back in the day grunts did not know or use small unit tactics. They marched into gunfire as an army and died by the thousands. This gave people the image that they were highly expendable, therefore not very smart.
Second, grunts knowingly sign up to live in the worse conditions, get shot at, and blown up. People don’t understand this, so they assume they must be dumb, crazy, or both.
Third, the aptitude score to join the infantry is one of the lowest in the military.
This is why people view grunts as brainless or dumb, but nothing could be farther from the truth.
In fact, I believe that grunts are the most marketable occupational specialty when leaving the military. They can do or have done everything, they can adapt to any situation, and they’re fearless. Lets put grunt boots on for a second to see why:
A grunts job is not easy. He has to know how to disassemble, reassemble, and effectively operate and utilize countless weapon systems. Pistols, rifles, grenades, grenade launchers, rocket launchers, and various Machine Guns are just scratching the surface. Once he learns that, he needs to learn how to use them in the dark, in a city, in a house, in the desert, and in the snow. Ok, got all that, now he has to do it all with night vision goggles on and a mounted laser. Sounds cool huh? Sure, until you realize that night vision goggles give no depth perception and that you are NOT shooting laser guided bullets. Just because the laser is on target doesn’t mean your bullet is. Learning to operate all of this equipment is not easy.
So the grunt knows how use his personal equipment. Perfect, now he has to learn to function in a team. This is most important because if he can’t, then he becomes a liability instead of an asset.
To move around effectively as a group, grunts walk in a formation, but there’s not just one formation, there are many. The formations change depending on the number of troops, the terrain, the threat, and the equipment. The formation is never constant because the situation is never constant. A grunt needs to know these formations and know his place within them. He needs to know how to communicate both verbally and non-verbally within these formations. He needs to know and constantly maintain proper dispersion and situational awareness. He needs to know how to navigate with GPS and without.
Ok, he can move. Now what if he gets shot at from the left? What if he gets shot at from a house? What if he gets blown up and then shot at? The answer to these questions is ingrained in the grunts body from learning and rehearsing countless immediate action drills. The reaction to these drills change depending on the situation. What if you are in the city? What if you are in a vehicle? What if you are in the front? What if you are in the rear? Every scenario dictates a different reaction. Sound complicated? This is still just the surface. Football players need to memorize plays, grunts need to memorize battle tactics.
Now the grunt knows his job and his place within the team. Awesome, he’s not a liability. What about everyone else’s job? What if his team leader or squad leader is wounded? What if radio operator goes down? What if the corpsman goes down? The grunt needs to know the job and duties of every member of his unit. He needs to know his commander’s intent and every objective of the mission. He needs to know first-aid to treat his wounded buddy’s. He needs to know how to pick up that radio and use the proper reporting formats to get assistance. It’s not as easy as dialing a phone, every situation calls for a different reporting procedure. How do you call for a medevac? How do you report your location? How do you call for disposal of an IED? He will know all of this because he learned them, memorized them, and keeps a laminated copy of them in his pocket.
Ok, so he knows his equipment, his job, and the job of everyone in his English-speaking unit. This is still just training though, now he has to go to work in a combat zone overseas. This country doesn’t speak English and the enemy blends in with the local population. Now he becomes a policeman and rules of engagement are given. He needs to learn the basics of the local language. He needs to learn the customs of their culture. He needs to know how the enemy operates in the area. Everything he learned up to this point was from a book, now he has to learn on his feet, from experience. Lessons are learned the hard way. Complacency and mistakes become deadly. The daily stress of staying alert and on edge day after day becomes draining, almost impossible. Yet, all this knowledge needs to stay fresh because if he forgets, and things become critical, people could die. As he evolves to learn the enemy the enemy evolves to counter him. It’s a deadly game of chess. He has no days off, he deals with stress from home, but his mind stays on the job. He does this for months.
So now he knows his equipment, his job, his buddy’s jobs, and how to operate and stay alive in a combat zone, now what? Now he goes home and everything changes again. His buddy’s that he went to war with go away. He gets new grunts and he becomes their leader. Now he is the expert, instructor, counselor, financial advisor, big brother, personal trainer, punisher, and savior to the new grunts. He becomes responsible for their lives. Everything he teaches them will be exactly what they take with them into combat. He knows this and the new grunts know this. Now he has to learn to be a leader and switch suits overnight. He learns to take initiative, show determination, display enthusiasm, show sound judgment, and set the example. The new grunts become a reflection of him and he knows this. Their minds become sponges and they seek answers. All their questions are directed toward their leader. He must now know everything. This is his job.
On average he is 2-3 years out of high school by now. His level of maturity is high. He doesn’t have one job. He has hundreds and he shows peak performance every single day. The grunt is not dumb. The grunt is an evolving creature because every single day there is an enemy out there who is finding new ways to kill the grunt. The grunts job is never over.
Conclusion: If you’re an employer, hire a grunt.