Soldiers are the reason that we have our freedoms. They fight every day around the world in order to protect us, our freedom’s our country’s interests, and enable us to live the life that we have today.
Joining the military is something that goes through a lot of people’s’ heads, but only a few actually end up going through with it. A lot of people are turned off because they see movies or tv shows depicting how tough it is to be in the military. They may not want to crawl through mud, be yelled at constantly, run, jump, do pushups, or learn how to shoot.
And then, during war time, there is the very real threat of losing one’s life. A lot of people who are proud Americans choose not to go to the military because they do not want to be in a position where their life is in danger.
However, something that the vast majority of people do not know is that only about 10 percent of the roles in the military are combat related. The other 90 percent is comprised of support units and people working behind the scenes – many of which are based on bases located inside the United States, and probably not too far from where you live.
In fact, without these support personnel – which include everyone from computer technicians and vehicle mechanics to graphic designers and accountants, the military simply would not be able function as the giant organization that it does today.
We wanted to see what types of jobs there are in the military which do not involve combat. We found a whole bunch of positions which not only will help you have an enjoyable, meaningful military service, but will also provide you with skills when you go to work back in the civilian field.
We found a ton of different positions, including…
World War II saw the United States military fighting in the jungles of southeast Asia and the Pacific against a menacing threat which killed thousands of US servicemen. No, it wasn’t the Japanese, but bugs carrying malaria and dengue fever. The United States Military had never seen anything like it, so they hired entomologists – scientists who study bugs – to help keep US soldiers safe. The US still employs these scientists who help in the war against infectious, bug borne diseases.
Air Force Sewage Treatment Engineers
This boat isn’t floating in a super dirty river – it’s floating in a sewage pit. These soldiers are in charge of ensuring that all of the plumbing on a base, from the toilets to the sinks to the showers, is working correctly. These men make sure that our men and women can use the base’s services as they serve our country, and that all of their bodily waste gets transported and treated.
Army Tank Recovery Crew
This is a job we had no idea existed. But, as they say, every person is needed in the military. And with units like this, you can see why. This particular unit has one job and one job only – retrieving tanks which have gotten stuck in the mud. They can be stuck for a whole lot of reasons – getting stuck in a swamp or in a muddy track or even on a beach coast. These guys have one of the dirtiest jobs in the military.
Explosive Ordnance Disposal
You may have seen these people in the movie Hurt Locker. They are the military’s sappers, and their job is extremely tense and scary. Their job is to go up to bombs, mines, improvised explosive devices, etc, and dismantle them before they can blow up and injure people. They then must know and understand how to take the former bomb and dispose of it properly. After all, you can’t exactly throw an IED in the garbage.
First militaries fought for command of the ground. Then they fought for command of the sea. Much later, they even began fighting over command of the air. And now, countries around the world are fighting for the command of cyberspace as well as to keep their corner of the internet safe. Therefore, militaries around the world have units which are specifically designed to protect (and attack) cyberspace, defending everything from our inboxes to the electrical grid.
Burn Pit Detail
Soldiers out in the middle of the field and need to go to the bathroom can’t just go in a normal toilet. Instead, they have to go in latrines, which are mobile and not connected to running water. How does one get rid of this waste you might ask? Well, it is one person’s job to take all of the waste in a barrel, throw gasoline over all of it, and set it on fire. The person must then make sure that the fire burns everything in the barrel.
One of the most elite units in the military is the pararescue jump unit, otherwise known as PJ’s. The PJ’s job is to go in and rescue downed pilots from a warzone as quickly as possible. Their jobs include parachuting into hostile enemy terrain, finding a (often wounded) pilot or co-pilot or navigator, stabilizing the downed airman’s condition, then fighting their way out to an evacuation. They are trained to do all of this in all weather conditions. Many people who start training never manage to finish.
The Coast Guard’s Buoy Tenders
If you are in the Coast Guard, you may be assigned to a task which you were not prepared for, let alone thought existed. One of those jobs is to be a buoy cleaner. As a buoy cleaner, it is your job to clean off all of the barnacles, animal waste, and other fun marine animals which like to grow on the underside. These buoys, which weigh up to 100 tons, can actually sink if there is too much animal byproduct on them. It’s a gross job, but an important one.
A military moves on its stomach, but also on trucks. How else do you think so much gear gets to where it needs to go during wartime? Things like tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery pieces, food, ammunition, and so much more are all transported on these giant military trucks from place to place. These truck drivers are a key lynchpin in the supply chain which ensures that the guys on the front lines can do their jobs successfully.
One of the ways a Blackhawk helicopter defends itself is by using a door gunner. The door gunner uses a giant gatling gun which is fixed to the side of the door of the helicopter to search for and take out threats on the ground. It’s a tough job and extremely dangerous. The gunner, is strapped to a harness and must lean out of the helicopter to shoot at the target, making them vulnerable to enemy attack, so much so that their average lifespan in war is eight hours.
A crew chief is the head of a crew which helps to keep air force planes ready and in the sky. For every hour of flight time a plane requires sometimes up to 10 hours of maintenance, and this is the guy in charge of it. On top of the fact that they need to make sure that all the parts of a multi-million dollar aircraft are working properly, they also need to clean out the engines and scrape bird parts off the windshields of the planes.
Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers
If you want to be a super lifeguard, then you may want to consider joining the Coast Guard Rescue swimmers. These guys jump out of helicopters and swim to people who are in distress in the middle of a body of water – such as a lake or an ocean. They have to know how to save everyone from a stranded swimmer on a beautiful breezy tropical day off the coast of Florida to a fishing vessel in a powerful storm off the coast of Alaska.
One of the toughest and perhaps most interesting roles in the military are drone pilots. They play an extremely important role of both gathering information and sometimes even taking out military targets. While a drone may be flying in the skies above Somalia or Afghanistan or Iraq, the operator may be in a tiny metal box on a base somewhere in the United States. However, while the job is extremely important and interesting, it is also very intense.
If you’re a reckless flyer in flight school then this job may be for you. Called Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses or SEAD, this pilot’s job is to try and reduce the threat of enemy radars and air defenses. Also called Wild Weasels, they fly low and try to activate usually enemy air defense systems. That way the rest of the military knows where these systems are. This job isn’t for the faint of heart. After all, the primary objective is to almost get shot down.
Cryogenics Equipment Operator
The position of cryogenics officer is not about making sure that the president gets frozen and lives forever. It is instead a job which requires the operator to know a lot about physics and chemistry. The cryogenicists work with materials at temperatures of -238 degrees fahrenheit. They then conduct tests on liquid oxygen, nitrogen, and various other service equipment which requires an operator to operate them in extreme conditions. In fact, it was this unit which created the technology to easily store oxygen for air force pilots.
A military dietician is extremely important. They help not only soldiers but also the military as a whole ensure that all of the soldiers are eating right and getting the nutrients they need. They are able to prescribe personalized diets to soldiers should they have a medical reason for doing so (such as diabetes or crohn’s or celiac disease). They make sure that the military stays in tip top shape and that the soldiers are putting the right stuff into their bodies.
Shower/Laundry and Clothing Repair Specialist
This job is crucial for all of the soldiers in the field and helps make their lives a whole lot easier. They are the clothing repair specialists, a team of people who help to fix up and tailor the uniforms of all of the different soldiers in the military. They are the ones doing the laundry on base, fix the shower curtains, and even clean up the decontamination suits. They are also deployed in the field, as a soldier can’t go about their job in the same uniform they’ve been wearing for a month.
Instrument Repair Technician
There are a ton of great musicians in the military, and many of them get picked to play in the military band, orchestra, or choir. However, sometimes the military’s instruments get broken due to standard wear and tear. When they need something fixed the military doesn’t outsource the repairs to an outside company, they have an in house instrument repairman. For someone who wants to serve their country as well as fire up their passion for instruments, this is the best job.
These artists are not your average Van Gogh or Andy Warhol. They are fighting men – typically marines – who also are incredibly skilled at painting. Their jobs are to not only fight along with their brothers in arms, but afterwards to paint what they saw, thereby giving a cultured, intimate account of what really happened during a war or a battle. This unit is where we get some of our most heart wrenching, intricate depictions of war.
Naval Business Manager
Imagine being the manager of a clothing store, a laundromat, a dry cleaner, or even a grocery store. Well, soldiers are human just like the rest of us, and because of that, they have to go to all of the aforementioned places in order to live their lives. And when you’re on a navy ship for months at a time, you can’t just go to the store or do laundry. Thats where the Navy Business Managers come in. They manage all of the “stores” that the sailors on a navy ship go to.
You probably would have never guessed that the United States Military offers its members access to a genetic specialist. Well, they do! The genetic specialist works with soldiers and their families to diagnose and treat diseases stemming from genetic abnormalities such as alzheimer’s or cystic fibrosis. The military will also be looking into whether or not there is a link between people who suffer from PTSD and those who don’t. This will enable the military to place soldiers where they are most effective.
Believe it or not, there are actually journalists who work within the military. Their jobs are to write internal military papers, just like an office newsletter but spread to a lot more people. They will go and interview people with interesting stories, break news about different policy changes, and interview generals and other military leaders so that the rest of the soldiers know what is going on. Sounds a little bit more intense than an office newsletter.
The military is all about war and force. There could never be any room for diplomacy amongst warriors! Well, not exactly. When a country decides that it wants to hold a joint training exercise with another country, send soldiers to another country on a relief mission, or even purchase weapons from a different country, then diplomat-soldiers are used. They are the ones which cut the international policy and training deals, and are responsible for a military’s image abroad.
The United States Military uses its own railroads in order to transport the tons upon tons of equipment it needs across the continent sized United States. Therefore, the military has its own railways and railway units. These units consist of locomotive drivers, switch operators, watchmen, and every other position a rail industry needs. It’s a great way to get trained in a lucrative field as well as serve your country.
During an emergency when the power goes down one would usually call the electric company to come out and fix the power lines. However, the United States Military doesn’t have that option, instead relying on a team of military linemen to string up the electrical lines on bases all across the country and the world. Without these guys building, fixing, and maintaining the electrical lines everywhere from Camp Atterbury in Indiana to Bagram airfield in Afghanistan, the US military would have no electricity.
We have our own weather apps to help us determine what to wear and whether or not it’s worth it to take that camping vacation. However, the guys in the military need the most updated and accurate weather forecasts possible in order to know when the best time to stage a raid, drop ordinance, or how to conduct training will be. The Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Navy all use the information given by this unit in order to carry out their operations.
Before a pilot, tank gunner, ship captain, or anyone else operating a vehicle is even allowed to climb into the cockpit they first go through simulators. These simulators are hyper-realistic virtual reality displays which cost millions of dollars but help the operator learn how the vehicle works. The simulator operator must not only know how to operate the simulator but also understand the mechanics of the weapon. After all, it’s better to train in a room than have a newby accidentally crash a multi-million dollar vehicle.
The military usually publishes giant notebooks full of forms, graphs, and pictures during their millions of meetings every year. With all of those numbers, someone needs to be able to make sure that not only is the material interesting, but it is also informative. That is when the army turns to its team of multimedia experts who know the ins and outs of programs such as Photoshop, WordPress, and other design tools.
Since time immemorial soldiers have been sending letters back home to keep in touch with their families. And with millions of service members all over the world, the United States Military has its own internal mail service. These mail carriers deliver mail from back in the states as well as between different offices and bases all over the world. It is one giant, well oiled apparatus that is able to service the mail needs of enough people to fill a small country.
People in the military are usually really fit and in shape. They definitely get in shape during basic training, but by the time that’s over, many soldiers will go on to do non-combat jobs in which they may lose their muscle tone. However, the military wants all soldiers to be in shape, so they have fitness instructors which any soldier can go to. By the way, this was the position Gal Gadot was in when she served in the Israeli Defense Forces.