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An Employer’s Guide to Military Terms

Awesome, you have connected with a Veteran Job Seeker and hopefully the interview will go well and you can soon welcome them onto your team.

However, just like the Veteran Job Seeker should do their homework and learn about your industry, company, and culture – as a leader you have the responsibility to gain insight on the military and your candidate’s background.

I’ll be the first to say that understanding the military rank structure, unique job titles, acronyms, and jargon is anything but easy. But the last thing you want is to miss out on hiring a fantastic team member simply because their experience did not effectively translate. Thankfully, we put together a helpful cheat sheet to provide you a framework to better understand your Job Seekers’ past work experience.

Thank you for taking the time to interview and hopefully a Veteran. There is no better way to show your support for those who served than by hiring one!

Rank Structure
  • Enlisted: E1 to E10. May or may not have a college degree.
  • E1 to E3: Junior enlisted service member. If transitioning, they have served
    only 1 tour of duty. Typical jobs titles include Production Worker, Assembler,
    technician, Assistant, Apprentice, and Team Member.
  • E4 to E6: First significant leadership role in the military. Usually served 1 to
    2 tours of duty. Typical jobs titles include Assistant Manager, Line Supervisor,
    Section Leader, Task Leader, Supervisor, and Foreman.
  • E7 to E9: Senior Enlisted service member, likely retiring from the military.
    Typical jobs titles include Director, Supervisor, Department Manager, Operations Manager, and Senior Advisor.

Army Enlisted Ranks:

  • Private (E1), rank held only by new recruitsPrivate 2nd Class (E2), most recruits automatically earn this rank after completing basic training
  • Private First Class (E3), basic workforce strength
  • Specialist (E4), focused on technical expertise
  • Corporal, focused on leadership development, first Non-Commissioned
  • Officer (NCO) rank. Usually achieved at 26 months in service
  • Sergeant (E5), rank holds the single greatest impact over the
    development of junior Soldiers. To achieve the rank Soldiers must have
    their Command’s recommendation and at least 36 months in service.
  • Staff Sergeant (E6), largely responsible for individual training of junior
    Soldiers. To achieve the rank Soldiers must have their Command’s
    recommendation and at least 84 months in service.
  • Sergeant First Class (E7), often have 10+ years of military service and
    oversee the welfare and training of Platoon sized unites.
  • Master Sergeant / First Sergeant (E8), can hold administration roles at
    the Battalion level or direct leadership at the Company level.

Warrant Officer: WO1 to CW5. Are part of the Officer Corps, but have not
received a Commission form the President of the United States. May or may
not have a college degree.

WO1 to CW5: Officer rank, highly technically proficient and likely retiring
from the military. Typical jobs include Director, Typical jobs titles include
Specialist, Facilitator, Technical Manager, and Technical Specialist.

Commissioned Officer: O1 to O10. Have a college degree and were
commissioned into the military by the President of the United States.

  • O1 to O3: Junior Officers, Company Grade Officer.
  • O4 to O6: Senior Officers, Field Grade Officer
  • O7 to O10: General Officers
Job Titles (Military Operation Specialty – MOS)

Army

  • 11B – Infantry
  • 12B – Combat Engineer
  • 12K – Plumber
  • 12P – Power Production Specialist
  • 12R – Electrician
  • 12V – Concrete and Asphalt Equipment Operator
  • 12W – Carpenter and Mason
  • 15B/D – Aviation Power Plant Repair
  • 15G – Sheet Metal Repair
  • 15L – Armament/Electrical/Avionics Repair
  • 15N – Avionics Mechanic
  • 25B – Information Technology Specialist
  • 88M – Truck Driver
  • 91A – Tank Mechanic
  • 91B – Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic
  • 91C – Utilities Equipment Repairer (HVAC)
  • 91H – Tracked Vehicle Repairer
  • 91L – Construction Equipment Repairer
  • 92F – Petroleum Supply Specialist (Fueler)

Marines

  • O3 – Infantry
  • O4 – Logistics
  • 11 – Utilities
  • 13 – Engineer, Construction, Facilities and Equipment
  • 21 – Maintenance
  • 28/59 – Electronics Maintenance
  • 35 – Transportation
  • 60/61/62/73 – Aircraft Maintenance
  • 63/64 – Avionics
Unit Sizes

Army & Marines

  • Team – 4
  • Squad – 8
  • Platoon – 32 to 50
  • Company – 100 to 200
  • Battalion / Squadron – 300 to 1,000
  • Regiment – 1,000 to 3,000
  • Brigade (Army only)– 4,000 to 8,000
  • Division – 8,000 +
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