What does an Infantry Officer do?

Debra Durkee

An infantry officer is a ranking member of the ground forces in the military. This individual has a position of responsibility and leadership, and is often at the head of a division of other soldiers during combat. Infantry officers can be found in a number of military divisions.

Infantry officers can be found in a number of military divisions.
Infantry officers can be found in a number of military divisions.

The responsibilities are spread over almost every area of ground combat. He both receives and gives orders, also making sure that instructions from command are relayed to and followed by the men on the front lines of land combat. In addition to working with regular infantry, the infantry officer must also be able to work with other officers of similar rank and position in charge of other divisions of infantry. In this role, he coordinates with other groups to ensure that everything goes smoothly and different units work together over distances.

Jackboots were once popular among marching infantry soldiers.
Jackboots were once popular among marching infantry soldiers.

For the infantry officer, there is generally a ranking system that he can climb. This varies based on the country and the branch of the military, but responsibilities and privileges increase as a person climbs the ranks. In organizations like the U.S. Army, there are a number of specialized groups that an infantry officer can elect to go into, including the Ranger or Airborne divisions.

A high-ranking officer can be assigned a number of duties outside active combat as well. This can include advising other units about the responsibilities and capabilities of infantry units, teaching the next generation of officers, overseeing the day-to-day operations of companies, and even working in areas that deal with the civilian population. Some civilian duties can include becoming a recruiter or overseeing logistical issues between civilian and military institutions.

Duties can vary based on the branch of the military the officer is in, but always involve a position of leadership. In the U.S. Marine Corps, an infantry officer goes through a period of specialized training that allows him to be effective in developing strategies and combat plans. Just as important as the ability to draw up effective combat plans is to form cohesive, successful defensive strategies. An infantry officer must be familiar with every element of the command in order to efficiently use it to the best of the abilities of all involved.

An individual who is prepared to be a successful infantry officer is one who is comfortable in a leadership role, and one who can act under the pressure of knowing the lives of his company can depend on the decisions he makes. Military institutions look for an individual who is loyal to their country and to their superiors, who others view as trustworthy, and who can think quickly while under pressure.

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