Photos courtesy of 3djoes.com

Today’s featured G.I. Joe is Grunt (my first Joe). Grunt is listed as “Infantry” for PMS and “Small Arms Armorer” and “Artillery Coordinator” as his SMS. The codename “Grunt” to me signifies that he has always been just a “grunt”. However with the addition of small arms armorer and artillery coordinator that to me would indicate he is more than just a typical “grunt”.

An “artillery coordinator” sounds very much like a US Army MOS 13F Fire Support Specialist. These are the soldiers that sneak in close to enemy lines and call in the artillery strikes. For this Grunt would have had started his military career in the Field Artillery Combat Arms branch as a 13F. Maybe after a few years in this MOS he decided to transfer to the Infantry Combat Arms as a “grunt” i.e 11B Infantryman. My understanding is it can be difficult to transfer to another MOS and it is dependent on a number of factors such as “needs of the army”, etc. Grunt would also be a higher rank than an E-4 for this to happen (he probably couldn’t even get considered for a transfer until that rank in all likelihood). Plus I am not sure if the army would allow someone to go from a more highly specialized MOS (which probably has higher training requirements) to a lesser trained one (this is in no way meaning offense to 11B’s.).

For Small Arms Coordinator that would be more in line with the Non-Combat Arms field of Logistics Corps as a 91F Small Arms/Towed Artillery Repairer. I seriously doubt Grunt would have been able to hop between three different MOS’s during his time in service though. I think realistically to have all these skills he would have had to start with one of them and then go Special Forces (but it would negate his “Grunt” codename). Special Forces has schools for joint fires and small arms repairs so in theory this would make the most sense.

Another interesting remark on his (and seven other OG13’s) is the mention of “Advanced Infantry Training”. In the US Army there is “Advanced Individual Training” which is basically the type of training a soldier goes through for their respective MOS. The only indication I found of “Advanced Infantry Training” is from a movie called Tigerland. This movie is about Infantry soldiers going to Ft Polk, LA before they are deployed to Vietnam. It had conditions closer to the type of environment in Vietnam so as to get solider more accustomed to it. However I am not sure if “Advanced Infantry Training” refers to just this particular school and its training or if it referred to any Infantry school across the US. If this specific school then that would mean at least 8 of the OG13 served in the Vietnam War including Grunt. My understanding is they ceased sending Infantry soldiers to this specific school in ’71.

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