|Army Consolidating Infantry Specialties|
Army Consolidating Infantry Specialties
By Gary Sheftick and Sgt. Michael Maddox, Army News Service.
Washington D.C. -- (ANS) June 25, 2001 -- Three military occupational specialties will soon be consolidated into one infantry MOS.
The 11H, anti-armor infantry and the 11M, mechanized Infantry, specialties will be merged into the 11B MOS.
The consolidation will take place between July and the end of September, officials said, adding that the initiative should provide better assignment, schooling and promotion opportunities for all infantrymen.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki approved the Infantry Career Management Field consolidation June 13 and messages were sent to the field June 18.
"The infantry has taken it upon itself to transform with the chief's initiative," said Lt. Col. David Goehring, infantry personnel systems officer for the Army's Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel. He was speaking of the Army's overall Transformation to a more strategically responsive" force and said the consolidation is also "in sync" with a study by the Army Development System XXI task force to attain "multi-skilled" and "multi-capable" soldiers.
The consolidation will also expand the 11Z MOS to master sergeants, Goehring said. That capstone MOS for skill-level-five infantrymen was previously limited to just sergeants major. He said the change will allow E-8s to become first sergeants of any type of infantry company.
"It provides the opportunity for everybody to cross-train in the 11 series," Goehring said of the consolidation. "It will provide the Army with a better-trained soldier."
When soldiers transfer from one type of infantry unit, such as light, to another, such as mechanized, they will attend a three-week transition course, Goehring said.
Three new courses are being developed by the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Ga., and classes will tentatively begin in April.
The Bradley Transition Course will be for light infantrymen transferring to mechanized units.
The Anti-Armor Leaders Course will be for those being assigned to anti-armor companies in the light force, Goehring said.
And third, a proposal has been made to bring back the Light Leaders Course, Goehring said, for mechanized soldiers moving to the light infantry.
"This is to provide credentials to those young NCOs," Goehring said, explaining that when NCOs show up to a unit, all the soldiers will know that they are trained and ready to serve.
The MOS reclassification should begin in August, Goehring said, and be finished by the end of September. The reclassification will be done at local military personnel offices, he said.
Goehring said the consolidation should be "transparent" to all infantrymen.
"We want the young infantryman to realize there is no impact to him," Goehring said. "It's just going to make him more well-rounded."
"It will give him more assignment opportunities," Goehring said.
For example, Goehring said that until now most positions in Germany, have been for mechanized infantrymen. Now light infantrymen will have the chance to go to Germany, he said.
The consolidation will be a change for the better, said Lt. Col. Mark Fields, chief of the Office of Infantry Proponency at Fort Benning.
The purpose of the change is to transform the Infantry in step with the army, Fields said.
The consolidation will make the infantry more flexible in several ways, Fields said.
"This consolidation means that PERSCOM will be able to assign soldiers in these skill levels according to the needs of the Army," he said.
"It used to be if you are coming out of the 82nd Airborne Division, light infantry, you might go to drill sergeant school and then go back to the 82nd. Now, a soldier can grow up in the 82nd, when it's time to re-enlist, he can re-enlist for Fort Carson, Germany, Korea, places where there's mechanized infantry. That's a pretty good deal for the infantry," Fields said.
The assignment process will be more flexible to support the changing demands of Army Transformation, Fields said.
"This is something that's long overdue," said Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald Klein, Fort Benning command sergeant major. "I think it's being done for all of the right reasons."
"We need a more proficient infantry that can deploy heavy and light forces. Infantry is infantry, it's only in the how we get to the battle that there's a difference," he added.
Klein said he thinks the consolidation will make infantry soldiers more versatile to accomplish their mission.
Klein plans to visit a number of installations over the next three months to explain the consolidation. He will tentatively go to Alaska July 14, to Germany July 31, and Korea in August, along with a number of continental U.S. posts.
"In one station unit training, we are going to maintain emphasis on basic infantry tasks. There will be a little exposure to mech and anti-armor," Fields explained.
"At skill level two and three, we'll have training for Bradley gunners and TOW gunners, and Bradley commanders and anti-armor leaders at skill level three."
"The Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course and Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course will train mechanized and anti-armor collective and individual leaders tasks," he said.
Fields said the consolidation will make promotion opportunities in the 11 series "more even across the board and will level promotion discrepancies."
Other career management fields are also considering consolidations, according to Mike Carty, a management analyst for enlisted actions in DCSPER.
"Ordnance right now is going through a reorganization," Carty said, explaining that proposals are being developed. "Aviation is looking at doing an aviation restructure somewhere down the road."
(Editor's note: Sgt. Michael Maddox is a member of the Fort Benning Bayonet newspaper staff.)