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U.S. Army: What the Big Screen Won't Show You

Updated on July 16, 2016
Preventative medicine soldier sprays insecticide around living quarters in Gbediah, Liberia, Dec. 15, 2014. Taken during Operation United Assistance, the joint effort to combat the devastating Ebola outbreak.
Preventative medicine soldier sprays insecticide around living quarters in Gbediah, Liberia, Dec. 15, 2014. Taken during Operation United Assistance, the joint effort to combat the devastating Ebola outbreak. | Source

Hollywood has produced a multitude of cinematic experiences that have shown the absolute horrors of war. They captivate us through the brave warriors who charge into battle; serving up extra helpings of freedom and butt kicking around the world. Whether they're Cpt. Miller searching for Pvt. Ryan during WWII (Saving Private Ryan, 1998), or Dutch hunting down an alien killing machine, a predator so to speak, in the jungle (Predator, 1987).

A medical soldier treating casualties in training scenario, 2016.
A medical soldier treating casualties in training scenario, 2016. | Source

But there's also an emotional connection, brothers and sisters in arms ready to pay the ultimate price. It's a mixed cocktail of heroism, and “the feels”.

These movies are easy to sell, they're exciting and have a vast audience base. Regardless of fiction vs. non-fiction, we're still invested, and in some ways relate what we see on screen to real military personnel. Although those values may be shared with real heroes, there's still a story behind the curtain.

A large portion of soldiers in the army have Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) that are in support of combat operations. More than 100 of the 150 enlisted positions to give some perspective. Every soldier attends 10 weeks of basic combat training, but they're not all as skilled as John Rambo.

Those who don't choose direct combat roles are sent to Advanced Individual Training (AIT). This is where they become experts in the jobs of their choosing. Their new profession may not be the basis for a new action movie, but still equally as important as those on the front line. Here's a few that are less commonly known in the army.

Veterinary Food Inspection Specialist, 68R

If you're like myself, you probably read this job title and thought, “Finally! A profession for warriors with an unwavering passion for inspecting animal food.” I'll let both of our thought processes down easy. We're not wrong, but not completely right either. Initially it was created for animal surgeons who also had knowledge of food safety, but now primarily focuses on human food. George Washington was actually the first to understand the importance of having a soldier with those qualities on the battlefield. Massive numbers of troops fell victim to inadequate food quality in the wars following the first president's realization. The real turning point for the issue occurred during the Spanish American War. The Army directly caused the death of thousands by improperly handling beef. Outraged, the country demanded a solution for possible mishaps in the future. In 1916, the War Department (Department of the Army) activated the Veterinary Corps. A completely separate specialty was also later developed for the care of animals. 68T, Animal Care Specialist.

Parachute Rigger, 92R

Have you ever messed up? Made a minor error that your boss jumped all over? It's natural as humans. Soldiers are not exempt, and sometimes that miscalculation could mean life or death. Parachute Riggers are constantly reminded of this grim fact. They assist the Army by preparing and packing the parachutes for soldiers in airborne units, who are known as paratroopers. They rely on the expertise and precision of parachute riggers when they jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Multiple forms of redundancy go into the half-hour or more time frame while packing. This includes a reserve chute, and a 16 point inspection by senior leaders before completion. Considered by some to be a thankless job, but rewarding after every successful jump.

Railway Operations Crew Member, 88U

If you long for the days of traveling by train and defending it against bandits on horseback, Uncle Sam has a job for you. Not exactly, But there is no official regulation against a healthy imagination every now and again. Joking aside, this job does exist in the Army Reserve for those who have an extreme love of country and locomotives. Their daily duties range from operating, supervising and serving as crew members on diesel-electric locomotives. These troops transport military equipment and repair railways throughout this great nation that they defend. Who could refuse fulfilling a child hood dream while providing service to the country?

Public Affairs Specialist, 46Q/R

“You think you're Mickey Spillane?” - Gunnery Sergeant Hartman's response to Private Joker's decision to become a military journalist in Full Metal Jacket, 1987. The army identifies two different careers in this field. 46Q photography/print writer, and 46R, video broadcaster. While they both specialize as journalists, the major differences between the two is how they capture the news. Photographers are proficient with still photography, editing photos in various digital programs and news writing. Broadcasters shoot and edit video, construct comprehensive on-air interviews, DJ for radio stations and act as military correspondents. They’re given the rare opportunity to observe all aspects of the military and create a lasting impression through their work.


Competitive Athlete

Be all you can be, a slogan used by the army. The opportunities that they provide would definitely make you a well-rounded professional in a variety of fields. Here’s an interesting one that’s offered to every member and all career fields, athlete. All Army Sports is a program where soldiers compete in numerous sports against other branches, the best of the best. Although they may not be competing against the elite athletes from around the world, the time spent on the team is recognized as professional. It would give validity to an aspiring athlete's resume. There’s a tryout process every year in sports such as basketball, golf, rugby, soccer, volleyball, wrestling and taekwondo. The skill level requirements for each sport typically resemble those of a professional/amateur. Soldiers who think they’re up to par, request permission from their commander. Those who are selected, participate in competitions that are usually televised.

There's So Many More

Even though they're not highlighted very often, their roles are necessary for the army to function properly. Every member is considered a silent professional, and wouldn't ask for it any way.


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    • mattdenzil profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Here and there

      Thanks again everyone. The feed back is amazing and I'm glad the topic was appealing.

      This is what I do for a living, so I'm fortunate enough to see the entire picture. I'm limited on time a lot, but let me know if there's a military topic anyone wants see.

    • RTalloni profile image


      2 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks for highlighting these careers within an Army career. Interesting to get a closer look at them.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      2 years ago from southern USA

      Well, at least you have it highlighted on your profile page!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I've been here 5 years and have only had a couple of payouts, but I haven't had any issues with the security of my information. The chances of making a payout are less than the chances of getting hacked!!!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      2 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Matt,

      Looks like it is featured now! I love your photos. You are a great photographer and writer, obviously.

      I understand about not trusting such online as I didn't either, but eventually did it. It is secure so far. I don't write here for money either, but it is nice when that happens to pop in to your PayPal account.

      Keep writing!

    • mattdenzil profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Here and there

      Thanks everyone! I really appreciate the kind words and warm welcomes.

      I'll write on more topics and try to get one featured next time.

      As for making money, I don't trust putting my information online.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      HOOAH and welcome to HubPages. My husband is retired Infantry who now works as a contractor. (As do many retirees. How else do you stay at war for 15 years with the smallest military since before WWII?) I also have a daughter who is a civilian logistician.

      I learned living around the Army for 24 years that every MOS plays a role and is necessary to the mission. Great writing and who knows why HP does anything on any given day.

      Keep 'em coming! SHARING

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      2 years ago from Texas

      Hi Matt,

      Welcome to HP! I like your straight forward writing style, and surprised that this hub is not featured. I hope that you put your pictures back on here.

      My father, stepfather and two brothers were in the Army, and I do understand what you are talking about.

      Maybe you could send HP an e-mail and ask them what you can do to get the hub featured.

      You won't get rich, but you will get good friends like all the one who commented here (I guess you will get rich in friends) we will all get to know you through you writing.

      Blessings and good luck to you,

    • fpherj48 profile image


      2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      I found this hub interesting and informative. Bravo. (and "welcome" to HP) Your writing style is impressive & I look forward to reading more of your work. Looks like you have all the right ingredients for successful freelance! Good luck. Peace, Paula

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      This is a very well written hub on an interesting subject. I knew a large part of the military worked in fields other than combat but didn't know of a number of these MOS positions. Welcome to HubPages.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      2 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, really! That is so odd for it is not the least bit spammy in my mind? I found it well written and informative.

      You're own photos are best, then the "legal" photos. So, I'm not sure why HP didn't approve of them.

      Your hub does not show up, but I found it by clicking on your activity. Since I am now following you too, I will get a notice each time you publish a hub, regardless of whether or not it is finished going through the process to be featured. Followers will be able to read your hubs as soon as you publish them.

      I wrote a dramatic poem about being a soldier's child. Sadly, my dad suffered with PTSD.

      Keep on writing!

    • mattdenzil profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Here and there


      I really appreciate it. I didn't even know people could see this article. Hubpages deemed it either not note-worth, or spammy. I originally linked some photos that were taken by me, but took them down after seeing their message. I thought they might have been the cause. I'll try writing another one soon though.

      My thanks goes out to your dad.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      2 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Matt,

      Wow, this is an interesting topic here you've written on for your first hub. Many may have never realized that it takes those behind the scenes "silent professionals" to keep the U.S. Army functioning at its best, as you have written here.

      You write very well.

      You're so right about the movies not showing all those who help to keep the Army going each day and how important their roles are for the big picture. Since you are a photographer, you should post some of your photos on your hubs. At least three is good for a hub.

      My dad was in the U.S. Army. He was a sharpshooter.

      Welcome to HubPages! Keep writing. I will share your article.


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