When you think about the Army, you probably envision a group of soldiers carrying a variety of weapons on patrol in rugged terrain looking for enemy fighters. You're thinking of the infantry, considered the backbone of the Army. Going infantry out of boot camp is a challenge, but it is also the gateway into more advanced fighting career fields such as Airborne Units, Ranger Battalions, Special Forces, Pathfinder, and Sniper School.
The Army infantry motto is "Always Ready to Defend."
Enlisting in the Army Infantry
When you visit the local Army recruiter and you know you want to become an Infantryman, you will be given the 11X enlistment option. Unlike other Army career tracks, MOS 11X isn't a military occupational specialty (MOS).
The Army does not offer a guaranteed job for any specific infantry MOS; the "X" means that the specific job is not known at the time of enlistment. You must earn a slot to the infantry during your training.
Individuals who enlist under the 11X Infantry option attend Infantry OSUT (One Station Unit Training), which combines Army Basic Training and Infantry AIT (Advanced Individual Training), all in one 14-week course.
During the training, recruits are allowed to list their specific infantry job preferences, but ultimate assignments are determined by the needs of the Army at the time. This training is held in Fort Benning, Georgia.
Infantry soldiers are trained in and use small arms, anti-armor or indirect fire weapons (mortars) during combat missions. During training, soldiers will list their specific infantry job preferences, of which there are two:
- Infantryman (11B)
- Indirect Fire Infantryman (11C)
The Army expects infantry soldiers to possess tremendous discipline, be ready to accept challenge and face danger, have an interest in light weapons and ground tactics and have the ability to remain calm under stressful situations.
The infantry is equally important in peacetime and in combat. The Infantryman's role is to be ready to defend our country in peacetime and to capture, destroy and repel enemy ground forces during combat.
MOS 11B Infantryman (Rifleman)
Specifically, soldiers in the 11B Infantryman MOS are riflemen and assist in the performance of reconnaissance operations. They fire and recover anti-personnel and anti-tank mines, which they locate and neutralize as well. These soldiers also engage targets using night vision sights, and operate and maintain communications equipment.
Since they are the first line of defense, these soldiers may be called upon to operate in nuclear, biological or chemical (NBC) contaminated areas. And they construct field expedient firing aids for infantry weapons.
Typically more soldiers will be 11B as there is usually a greater need for them.
MOS 11C Indirect Fire Infantryman (Mortarman)
Soldiers in MOS 11C are Infantrymen but carry the mortar weapon systems and operate the pieces. They are riflemen as well but operate in smaller platoons so likely will not be part of kicking down doors.
However, if the 11C is assigned to a light Infantry unit there is more opportunity to be used as a rifleman as well as the Indirect Fire Infantryman. Typically those who have higher scores on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests will most likely become 11C since their jobs involve more math.