The term “GRUNT” has a bit of history behind it. In World War II G.R.UNT was an acronym for the thousands of men,that weren’t trained to a standard, sent to replace the mass casualties of the war. G-GROUND, R-REPLACEMENT,UNT-UNTRAINED. The term Grunt has evolved since then and refers DIRECTLY to any with an Infantry MOS. let me be clear on this, INFANTRY MOS. Not a combat MOS but an INFANTRY MOS. To be even clearer if you’re in the Marine Corps and your MOS doesn’t start with the number 03 then you are NOT A GRUNT. I repeat, you are not a grunt. Now with that being said, “Grunt” refers to the sounds made when infantrymen don their gear. A full combat load consists of your FLAK jacket, SAPI plates, at least 180 rounds for your rifle, your helmet, water, and most importantly your rifle. Now this is already pretty damn heavy so lets throw on top of that your RUC sack with all necessary gear to complete your mission. Furthermore, on top of that you will have to carry any crew-served weapons I.E. .50 Caliber Machine Guns/Mortars plus ammunition for these weapons as well. So one might “Grunt” at the feeling of putting all this gear on.
Now let’s talk about POGs. The term “POG” is an acronym that refers to ANYONE that is not a grunt. P.O.G. simply stands for Persons other than grunts. Now there are a lot of POGs, such as artillery, that claim they’re grunts. NO, NO little buddies. Artillery units sit miles away from action and provide indirect fire support to the infantry. As a matter of fact; every job there is in the Marine Corps exists to support the mission of the infantry units. I am by no means saying that a POG’s job is not important. They certainly are. The problem lies within the mentalities of POGs. Most POGs think they do just as much as grunts do. THEY DO NOT. And I’ll tell you that EVERY grunt can respect a POG that embraces their job. No one respects POGs that lie and claim to be grunts or POGs that do not do their jobs to the standard.
We once had a Company 1stSgt who gave us a little speech about the difference between grunts and POGs. 1stSgt was a combat cook before he became a 1stSgt. Hence he was a POG. One day an incident happened while on deployment that involved a negligent discharge. (The unwanted firing of rounds) 1stSgt gathered the Company into a “school circle” and proceeded to tell us the following. “I’m a combat cook. If I fuck up an omelet, no big deal I can make a new one. If one of you fucks up, people die.” This hit me harder than almost anything that had been drilled into my head previous. He was 100% right.
Now let me share with you a few of my experiences both in CONUS and on deployment. One deployment our platoon was out away from the main base. Living amongst the Afghan people. In the peninsula of Sistani our neighbors were Afghan nationals. we patrolled this area twice a day, everyday from each of our three Patrol Bases. We didn’t have showers, a satellite phone or an MWR (a place with phones and computers to call or contact home while deployed) for that matter. We wrote letters home and received letters back from our families. This was all we had. About 3 months in to this deployment we were able to head back to camp where our Battalion was established. We were encouraged to go immediately to the MWR and contact our families and let them know that we were OK at this point. We entered the MWR, signed in and sat down to wait our turn. The very first thing out of a POG’s mouth that ran the joint was “Your uniforms are dirty and you all smell. You cannot be in here.” We all went off on this person. This type of shit happens all the time between grunts and POGs.
Now I worked an instructor for POG units that are about to deploy. We NEVER made them do anything we hadn’t done ourselves. But I will tell you this. It seems like No one has ever taught them how to wear their gear. And yes, there is a way to wear it. We had a unit that we PT’d in the rain with. They bitched the whole time about being wet. Later on in this instructor role we had students that refused to train because it was WET and COLD. Now I had a few friends that got more worked up than others. Rightfully so! You want to call yourself a MARINE then complain that its cold and wet out. Marines froze to death fighting for the Chosin Reservoir. It led me to come up with a small saying; Everyone wants to be a grunt until there’s grunt shit to do.
On top of this POGs just don’t even do their jobs. I’ve had Communications Marines tell me they didn’t know why our radios weren’t working. I’ve had armorers not give me T and E (Traversing and Elevation Mechanisms) because “You don’t need it, you’ll just lose it.” T&E’s are very important parts of a mounted machine gun. They can be the difference between accurately engaging an enemy or shooting rounds into an area you did not want them to go.
This, my friends, is why Infantrymen hate POGs. This holds true for the Marine Corps and the Army. Feel free to comment below if you want to discuss this matter with me. I have more examples and can talk about this for a long time.
POGs on the left/Grunts on the right.
On a better note I want to shout out all the POGs that actually put out and do what they’re supposed to. I’ve met some awesome POGs who understand their role and did what was necessary and then some. I’ve also had some go above and beyond and just give us extra shit that could help us survive and make it back. I always feel terrible dealing with these Marines because in the Infantry we don’t have much to offer back. It’s not like we can give the IT Marine a MICH helmet for solving our CAC card issue. We simply have nothing but our gratitude to give.