Infantry - Daily Life

Daily Life

Because of the very nature of the work, with firearms, explosives, physical-emotional stress, and genuine physical violence, casualties and deaths are not uncommon in both war and in peacetime training or operations. It is a highly dangerous and demanding occupation.

The physical, mental and environmental operating demands of the Infantryman are extreme. All of the combat necessities such as ammunition, weapon systems, food, water, clothing, shelter etc. are literally carried on the backs of the infantrymen. Combat loads of over 36 kg (80 lbs) are standard and greater loads in excess of 45 kg (100 lbs) are very common., These heavy loads, combined with long foot patrols of over 25 miles a day, in any climate from 43 degrees (110 Fahrenheit) heat to −29 degrees (-20 Fahrenheit) cold, demand the infantryman to be in extraordinary physical and mental shape. Infantrymen live and fight outside in all types of brutal climates, oftentimes with no physical shelter. This adds additional misery to this already demanding job. Frostbite, heat stroke, trench foot, insect and wild animal bites are common. Due to these shared hardships and experiences, infantrymen develop strong bonds and mutual respect that last a lifetime.

Despite the hardships, infantrymen are exceptionally disciplined, well trained professionals that are expected to continue with their combat missions despite death and injury of friends, fear, despair, fatigue and bodily injury. This is exemplified in the United States Army by an excerpt from the infantryman's creed:

In the race for victory, I am swift, determined, and courageous; Armed with a fierce will to win. Never will I fail my country's trust. Always I fight on: through the foe, to the objective, to triumph over all. If necessary, I fight to my death.

United States Army Rangers, a form of special operations light infantry, have their own Ranger Creed that demands faithful service from the infantryman even "...though I be the lone survivor." Some Infantry units are considered Special Forces. The earliest Special Forces commando units were specially trained infantrymen with special equipment and missions. Special Forces Units recruit heavily from Infantry units to fill their ranks.

Foreign and domestic militaries typically have a slang term for their Infantrymen. In the U.S. military, the slang term among both Marine and Army Infantrymen for themselves is "grunt." The infantry is a small close-knit community, and the slang name is a term of endearment that conveys mutual respect and shared experiences .

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