In the Army, the Cavalry Scout acts as the eyes and ears, gathering battlefield information about the enemy. There is perhaps no more important soldier in a combat situation than the scouts who gather information about enemy positions, vehicles, weapons and activity. Extending the battlefield as lead elements within Infantry Divisions is the main job of the Cavalry Scout. Though they tend to stay mounted in vehicles, often their job will require long distances of foot to better find and target enemy activity.
With the information these scouts gather, commanders can make informed decisions about how to move troops and where and when to attack. They can assess enemy numbers and determine whether to call for reinforcements and when to order a retreat.
This job is categorized as military occupational specialty (MOS) 19D. It's a job that used to be closed to women, due to the Army's past restrictions on women in combat. But the first female soldiers graduated from Army cavalry scout training in 2017, part of the Army's move toward integrating its combat and other units.
Duties of Army Cavalry Scouts
These soldiers are quite literally the first line of defense for Army units. They not only scout enemy positions, they repair and maintain the vehicles used for this work. Like their fellow combat troops, they load and fire weapons, secure and stow ammunition, and gather information about terrain and enemy equipment.
Their scouting duties include conducting mounted and dismounted navigation, collecting data about tunnels and bridges, and serving as members of observation and listening posts.
Cavalry scouts also assist with the laying and removal of mines, and use the protocols of concealment and camouflage. Cavalry Scouts also can advance their skills and become snipers.
Training for MOS 19D
Initial training in this MOS is primarily conducted through One Station Unit Training (OSUT), which combines basic training and job training into one single course of instruction. OSUT for 19D, Cavalry Scout is 16 weeks Fort Benning, Ga.
In addition to basic soldiering skills, cavalry scouts learn to secure and prepare ammunition on scout vehicles, load, clear and fire individual and crew-served weapons, perform navigation during combat, and how to collect data to classify routes, tunnels and bridges. And they train and supervise scout vehicle crew members.
Qualifying for MOS 19D
If you're prepared to face danger, are in top physical condition and can work well as part of a team, particularly under intense pressure, you may be suited to work as an Army calvary scout.
To be eligible to serve as a cavalry scout, you'll need a score of at least 87 in the combat (CO) segment of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests. There is no Department of Defense security clearance required for this MOS. However, normal color vision and correctable vision of 20/20 in one eye and 20/100 in the other eye is required.
Advancing to Cavalry Scout Sniper is also an option within the Scout community. Having scouts who are also sniper qualified can be helpful when needed when extending the battlefield as well as training new Cav Scouts to shoot better than the average soldier.
Civilian Jobs Similar to 19D
Since this is a combat-oriented job, there's no true civilian equivalent. But you will learn many skills in training that will transfer to civilian jobs, such as driving trucks, operating radio equipment, and surveying. You may also be qualified to work as a security guard or police officer since you will have experience with weapons and situational awareness.
Notable Cav Scout - Medal of Honor Recipient Ty Carter
Medal of Honor Recipient Ty Carter was a Cav Scout in 2008 and assigned as a Stryker gunner with the 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. During his first deployment to Afghanistan in 2009 with the 4th Infantry Division - Bravo Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, the Keating outpost came under heavy attack by more than 300 enemy fighters and Carter distinguished himself in what came to be known as the Battle of Kamdesh. He received the Medal of Honor in 2013 and inducted into the Pentagon Hall of Heroes. Now as a civilian, Ty Carter, works to destigmatize posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).