The Infantrymen’s Arrogance

The Combat Infantryman Badge. I earned mine in Somalia in 1993.

I can’t claim to have written this nor do I know the original author. It’s been floating around the internet for at least the last year.

It may give some of you a better perspective on why some us are the way we are.

The Infantrymen’s Arrogance

Infantrymen have a pride and arrogance that most Americans don’t understand and don’t like. Even soldiers who aren’t infantrymen don’t understand. The pride doesn’t exist because we have a job that’s physically impressive. It certainly doesn’t exist because it takes a higher level of intelligence to perform our duties. It’s sad and I hate to admit it, but any college student or high school grad can physically do what we do. It’s not THAT demanding and doesn’t take a physical anomaly. Nobody will ever be able to compare us to professional athletes or fitness models. And it doesn’t take a very high IQ to read off serial numbers, pack bags according to a packing list, or know that incoming bullets have the right of way.

The pride of the infantryman comes not from knowing that he’s doing a job that others can’t, but that he’s doing a job that others simply won’t. Many infantrymen haven’t seen a lot of combat. While that may sound ideal to the civilian or non-infantry soldier, it pains the grunt. We signed up to spit in the face of danger. To walk the line between life and death and live to do it again – or not. To come to terms with our own mortality and let others try to take our life instead of yours. We have raised our hands and said, “Take me, America. I am willing to kill for you. I am willing to sacrifice my limbs for you. I will come back to America scarred and disfigured for you. I will be the first to die for you.”

That’s why the infantryman carries himself with pride and arrogance. He’s aware that America has lost respect for him. To many he’s a bloodthirsty animal. To others he’s too uneducated and stupid to get a regular job or go to college. Only he knows the truth. While there are few in America who claim to have respect for him, the infantryman returns from war with less fanfare than a first down in a high school football game. Yes, people hang up their “Support Our Troops” ribbons and on occasion thank us for our service. But in their eyes the infantryman can detect pity and shame; not respect. Consider this: How excited would you be to meet the average infantryman? Now compare that with how excited you’d be to meet a famous actor or professional sports player and you will find that you, too, are guilty of placing the wrong people on a pedestal. You wouldn’t be able to tell me how many soldiers died in the war last month, but you’d damn sure be able to tell me if one of the actors from Twilight died.

Yet the infantryman doesn’t complain about that. He continues to do his job; to volunteer his life for you, all while being paid less in four years than Tom Brady makes in one game.

It’s a job most Americans don’t understand, don’t envy, and don’t respect. That is why we have pride for the infantry.

- Unknown Infantryman

This is not meant to demean other veterans or lessen their shared sacrifice, just to explain why we are who we are.

Posted on July 5, 2012, in Veteran and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. As a combat infantryman, I understand the, misunderstanding that others have regarding our experiences. I cannot expect that others would understand, as most will never see combat. I cannot endorse, or use the word arrogance in a title, for combat infantryman, as we are just the opposite, humble and without need or desire for commendation. I believe the correct term that should be used is, seperated, misunderstood and dedicated to the reality, that we will always be different from others, after our experiences. Our uniqueness, does not need exhaltation, but only respect. I can live with that.

  2. Well said John. I agree completly with what you are saying. So, are you going to be the one to write “The Humble Infantryman?” :)

  3. Maybe 10 years ago this would have been relevant. I can tell you from experience that right now nobody is doing their jobs. Everybody is infantry and to a extant military police. I was supposed to be Field artillary but not once did I do my job any of the 3 times I was deployed. I spent the majority of my time in service outside the gate on patrol and executing raids.

  4. I’m going to disagree with Craig on this. I don’t know what unit he was in, but as part of the 10th Mountain, everybody knew their place on the battlefield. I never once saw a 13 series soldier outside of the wire, granted I didn’t really ever see too many of you guys regardless, being that I am an infantryman and we pretty much stick to ourselves. This quote fits the bill 100% to the tee, I’ve never heard it put more eloquently. Sure, I met a lot of dumb infantry sons-of-bitches while I served, but there are no people that I would’ve wanted more in a firefight next to me than those faithful few who would be willing to give literally every ounce of their humanity, every limb they could sacrifice for me, the platoon, company or the United States. I never once met a P.O.G. with that dedication to duty. These guys were the reasons to which I returned home safely, and I still thank God every day for my best friends who came home, and my brothers who didn’t.

  5. I knew Doc Sirk.. He was attached to B Co some.. I was 3rd PLT B Co. Barbarians Lead the Way.

  6. I am the Infantry. I have been out of the service for a few years now and was asked yesterday if called would I do it again. Without hesitation I replied, “Yes, in a heartbeat.” I don’t know Infantryman that would not do the same. We all had our reasons for joining the Infantry, (noticed that I didn’t say Army), and we all had our reasons for ending our service, but while we served we were all Brothers in Arms. I got my CIB over in Somila, a country were most people have forgotten even existed. A country that I will never forget. I never received any fanfare that they get today and very rarely get a, Thank You for your service. Heck, if it wasn’t for our sarfice then todays Army would not be what it is today.

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