An extremely overlooked and underrated position in the Military is that of an Infantryman, aka “Grunt” or “Ground Pounder” or any other names of the sort. These derogatory names for this position make people believe these individuals are just meat headed mindless drones and are low on the intelligence scale or that it doesn’t take much brain power in order to perform this job. This mentality is the complete opposite of the truth. It is a fact that this job is absolutely physically demanding, however; it is just as demanding mentally as it is physically. If you can’t perform in both areas to the highest degree then you will not advance and you will be weeded out-sent to perform some mundane job where you won’t be responsible for anything other than cleaning or doing paperwork.
Infantrymen are faced with the most difficult task of war, the task of physically fighting the enemy while trying to win the hearts and minds of the local populous. A leader in the Infantry realm becomes a master of multitasking which demands a great deal of intellect. Your life and those of your brothers to your left and right depend on your ability to tune into your surroundings and make sound split-second decisions while under the greatest stress imaginable. While out on any patrol a leader is constantly analyzing their surroundings to prepare for an ambush at any given time from any given place. Where will the enemy come from? Where is the best cover? Where will I place my soldiers? Are my soldiers the correct distance away from one another so if one gets blown up they all won’t get hit? What obstacles would we have to deal with? Where would we maneuver? Is this a likely place for an I.E.D. (improvised explosive device) to be? This is just a small snippet of what a leader constantly goes through out on patrol and once the bullets start flying it gets even harder. The decisions that are made can mean the difference between life and death, that is a fact.
There are so many minute details which are absolutely essential to perform while amidst a battle, such as keeping an accurate count of your ammo and controlling the rates of fire of your soldiers to make sure no one runs out of ammo in the heat of battle. After 15 3-5 second bursts from your M249 SAW could you tell me how much ammo you have left if you started with 800 rounds? My soldiers could in a heart beat. Knowing how to employ the different weapon systems at your disposal is also essential. All of these different factors must go on simultaneously with no room for error, one mistake could mean you or your brothers taking a bullet to the head. So although we may be “grunts” by no means are we stupid, being an Infantryman means much more than pointing a weapon at something and pulling the trigger. If you are still not convinced, I invite you to walk a day in the boots of a deployed Infantryman, if you’re still alive by the end of the day it would only be because of the professionals you were surrounded by.