Infantry ... (Military - Enlisted)  What They Do

Just the Facts


Members of the infantry are ground troops that engage with the enemy in close-range combat. They operate weapons and equipment to engage and destroy enemy ground forces. This job is typically considered to be the job in the Military that is more physically demanding and psychologically stressful than any other job.

This career is part of the Government and Public Administration cluster National Security pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Operates and maintains mounted and dismounted weapons such as rifles, machine guns, mortars, and hand grenades
  • Participates in reconnaissance operations
  • Employs, fires, and recovers antipersonnel and antitank mines
  • Operates, mounts/dismounts, zeros, and engages targets using night vision sights
  • Locates, constructs, and camouflages infantry positions and equipment
  • Evaluates terrain and records topographical information
  • Operates and maintains field communications equipment
  • Assesses need for and directs supporting fire
  • Places explosives and performs minesweeping activities on land
  • Delivers long-range, precision fire from concealed positions

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 50 lbs., sometimes up to 100 lbs. You will need a lot of strength at this level.
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Maintaining a body position that prevents falling when in an unstable position
  • Moving the arms, legs and torso together when the whole body is in motion
  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Seeing clearly in low light conditions
  • Seeing objects or movement to one's side when looking forward
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Exerting oneself physically over long periods of time without getting out of breath
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Overnight travel