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7 weird and rare military jobs that you won’t believe exist

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Army jobs

When you think of jobs in the military, you likely picture infantrymen, pilots, tank crews, and similar combat-oriented military occupational specialties (MOSes). You likely know that the United States military has jobs well outside of combat arms, for example, cooks, lawyers, and accountants. However, somewhere in between the combat-oriented MOS jobs and the support roles sit some really weird, unexpected jobs. Today we are going to break down some of the weird jobs out there for the up-and-coming recruit to consider. 

1) Boat Marines 

Marine pirate response force
Marine pirate response force. (U.S. Marine Corps)

Marines riding in boats makes sense. Typically, though, it’s not Marines driving the boats but sailors. With that in mind, there are three infantry MOSes that take grunts and make them into boatmen. Think modern pirates but with assault rifles and machine guns and much more modern peg legs. 

To be fair, two of the three boat Marine MOSes have been discontinued, still, they are recent enough to deserve a mention, especially since they are primarily infantry MOSes. The first is the River Assault Craft Crewman, aka the Riverine. The Riverines held the MOS of 0312 and were part of the Small Craft Company. This weird job was never common, and I remember randomly finding their company office while exploring Camp Lejeune and being completely blown away. The other discontinued MOS is the 0314 Rigid Raiding Craft Crewmen.

Out of the three, the one that remains is the Combat Rubber Reconnaissance Craft Coxswain. These are small boat operators; they seem to be secondary MOSes assigned during service with the Small Boat Company and recon community. 

Related: Marines are training to provide security for commercial ships in Middle East

2) Boat Soldiers  

U.S Army Landing Ship Aldie (LCU 2004) ships out for training exercise for the maritime portion of Phase 1, Tradewinds 2016 near St. George’s, Grenada, June 10. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Heidi McClintock/111th Public Affairs Detachment)

We covered boat Marines, but what about boat soldiers? Marines and boats at least go together in theory, but Soldiers and boats seem absolutely silly, but believe it or not, the Army has a very large naval component. As of 2018, the Army’s naval component consists of 300 vessels and 2,000 Soldiers.

Army ships include tug boats, supply vessels, landing craft, and more. Boat Soldiers occupy the weird jobs of the 88 series. This seems to be a job board ruled by warrant officers who occupy Marine Engineering Officer positions and Marine Deck Officers. There are also the enlisted Watercraft Operators who make up the bulk of the Army’s naval component. Who thought joining the U.S. Army could lead you to serve on a ship?! 

Related: What are Navy SEAL ‘duck’ insertions and which one would you prefer?

3) Ground Sensor Marines 

ground sensor marines weird military jobs
Marines implanting ground sensors in the ground. (U.S. Marine Corps)

With less than 100 in the entire Marine Corps, the grunts that make up the Ground Sensor Platoon (GSP) occupy not only a weird military job but also a very rare one. Most Marines don’t even know the Ground Sensor Platoon exists. They used to be called the SCAMP platoon, and that was a way better acronym. The GSP came to be in Vietnam and they were used to monitor enemy movement via implanted ground sensors. To this day, they still use ground sensors to detect enemy movement in a fairly stealthy way. 

Riflemen and radiomen make up this position, and they have a secondary MOS of 8621. They operate in five-man teams, and their skills are a blend of reconnaissance, intelligence gathering, fieldcraft, and technological skill. It’s a fascinating but weird position that requires an interesting blend of skills. 

4) Marine Corps Community Service Marines 

Two MCCS Marines (U.S. Marine Corps)

If you served in the Marine Corps, you likely at least once saw a guy in full utility uniform working the counter at the commissary, 7-Day Store, or Exchange. It likely made you do a double-take and walk away confused. That Marine you saw was a 4133, a Marine Corps Community Service Marine (MCCS Marine). 

In the civilian world, a cashier is a normal job. In the Marine Corps, it pegs hard on the weird jobs meter. There are only 100 of these Marines at any given time, and they don’t have a schoolhouse but receive on-the-job training. They are typically managers, but like any good leader, they do a little bit of everything. In country, they often manage the small PXs and even the Mobile hootch that came all the way out to 19-year-old PFC Pike at COP Koshtay. 

Related: Energy drinks – The unsung hero of the Global War on Terror

5) Entomologist 

army entomologist weird military jobs
Capt. John Eads, chief medical entomologist for Public Health Command-Pacific, holds a Japanese rhinoceros beetle named Petri at the command’s headquarters at Camp Zama, Japan, July 10, 2020. (Photo by Winifred Brown/U.S. Army – Japan)

Entomologist is a fancy way to say bug scientist. The Army, Navy, and Air Force employ Entomologists as officers. These service members serve far and wide and use their skills to make the military a better place. Entomologist is a weird job in the civilian world, and it certainly deserves a spot on our weird military jobs list.

While weird, it makes sense. When deployed, troops face all manner of threats. Sure, the enemy will get you, but so will the terrain, the weather, and the bugs. Bugs can be a discomfort at best, and at worst, spread disease and seriously harm troops. It’s another challenge a force has to be prepared for. 

6) Army Marketer – FA58 

The Army always wants to be the Marine Corps! I joke, but the Marine Corps is very good at marketing. The Army wants to be better at marketing and recruiting in general. Just recently, they’ve put together a new MOS known as the FA58, aka the Marketing Soldier. This new and possibly controversial MOS looks to make the Army look better in more modern ways. 

It’s a very small MOS, and they only plan to recruit 15 to 20 officers for the role. This crew is tasked with content creation, social media outreach, and a ton of other buzzwords marketers love to use. It’s too early to say if they can make the Army more appealing to a modern generation, but, man, they could certainly take some cues from the USMC recruiting ads. 

7) Special Operations Weather Technicians and Combat Weathermen

A U.S. Air Force Special Operations weather technician measures wind speed during a multilateral airborne operation with Army Rangers from 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., March 3, 2014. (U.S. Army Photo by Master Sgt. Teddy Wade/Released)

The Special Ops community is pretty diverse. We have Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Raiders, Air Force PJs, and the often-forgotten Air Force Special Operations Weather Technician and Combat Weatherman. Imagine your local weatherman deep behind enemy lines, but instead of a green screen and a suit, he has a plate carrier and assault rifle. He also has tons of fancy pieces of equipment to gather important weather information. 

They sneak in and gather critical data that allows for fire support, close air support, and the detailed planning of operations. It’s easy to overlook the importance of weather until you are in a snowstorm in need of aid and it can’t come because you didn’t plan for it. As far as weird military jobs go, this one is very important. 

Keep the weird military jobs 

There are some odd corners of the military, and in those corners, you find the weird jobs, the rare jobs, and the often misunderstood job. It’s representative of a military that is diverse, capable, and relies on thorough planning to accomplish the mission. Sometimes that planning involves the weather, ground sensors, or even access to a PX. 

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Travis Pike

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.