Can anybody give information on this MOS, my son just received this job and heads out to BCT in May. He will train at Fort Lee and then go to Airborne School as he got Airborne as well. He orginally was looking at a signeal job but nothing was available at MEPS when he went, he ended picking a MOS that looked like he would enjoy.
We understand it's small arms / artliery repair, but if someone could shed some light as to where he can be stationed and what these jobs typically do etc.. anything at all would be greatly appreciated.
He is the first one to join the Military in the family so this is all new to us, we are looking to get as much infor as possible.
Well if he has Airborne school in his contract you can probably bank on the fact that he will be going to Fort Bragg, like 90%. 9% some other Airborne post such as Fort Richardson, Alaska, or Vicenza, Italy. 1% chance he goes to a leg unit.
You fix weapons. Plain and simple. When there is something wrong with a weapon that is out of the scope of the unit armorer, they bring it to the Small Arms shop. Also there are annual services that need to be performed that are done by Armament Shop personnel.
It doesn't really translate to civilian life. I think a lot of people join with this MOS thinking that they will come out of the school house a gun smith which is simply not the case. You end up being a glorified parts swapper. If your sun would like to pursue this type of thing on the outside he will have to go after certifications that are offered by the larger weapons manufacturers i.e. H&K, Colt, Benneli, Beretta, Sig, Glock so on and so forth. The problem with the MOS is that the weapons used in the Army are not varied. He will learn the weapons we have easily, like the back of his hand, but he will have a lot of work to do if he wanted to pursue it later outside of the Army.
As far as advancement, it's pretty easy to make it up to E5 (Sergeant). However Staff Sergeant is where you have 3 different MOS's all competing for E6. 91F, 91G and 91K all merge at E6 (Staff Sergeant) into 91K so the slots are limited. E7 is even harder to make, and if he were an average career soldier, he would probably retire no higher than E7. E8 is very highly competitive because you are competing against all the other 91 series MOSs for, again, very few slots. Also as say a wheeled vehicle mechanic (91B) you have a better chance because jobs that are almost prerequisites for promotion are almost exclusively held by the vehicle mechanics. I'll explain below.
Try to follow me here. Pretty much all of the mechanical maintenance MOSs in the Army fall under the 91 series. A 91A is an Abrams tank mechanic, a 91B is a Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic, a 91S is a Stryker Mechanic. There are a few more, I don't remember them all.
Most of those MOS all merge into 91X at E7 (Sergeant First Class) which is a Maintenance Supervisor. While the 91K (Armament Repairer Supervisor) remains a 91K for E7.
Now the reason why it's hard to get promoted to the senior ranks is this. Every Maintenance Company in the Army generally has a slot for a Senior Maintenance Supervisor which is exclusively a slot for an E7 91X. Now being that as an E7, by MOS, a 91K cannot fill that slot. Not to say that exceptions don't happen, but they are just that, exceptions.
Having those types of jobs is what makes you competitive for promotion to E8. The Armament MOS are locked out of a lot of those senior supervisor slots, so it makes it hard to compete against the other Mechanic MOS that have held those types of jobs.
Not to discourage anyone, but with that career field it is possible to go Warrant Officer down the line, which is another option, instead of trying to compete for the limited NCO positions.
Thank you so much for all your information, it seems you are very experienced with the Military and this is very helpful. If I can ask a couple of more questions.
Could you obtain certifications for different gun manufactures while in the Army Could you transfer to a different MOS within the 91 series, he has a 3 year contract. as an average career soldier you stated he would probably retire no higher then an E7, is this a good living?
I understand there are alot of varilbles and you have been helpful already, thank you for any other info you can provide.
Well I've been in for a little over 8 years total and I spent almost 6 years of that in that very job. The career progression, or lack thereof, is the main reason I changed jobs to a completely different field.
Certifications you can do while you're in the Army, but on your own time and not expecting the Army to pay for them. Your son is better off enrolling in some college classes and trying to complete a degree.
As of now, 91F is a critically short MOS. His options for leaving at this time are pretty much restricted to trying out for Special Forces, EOD or something along those lines. He would not be able to transfer to a different job in the same field. That is as of now though. Chances are recruiters are scrambling to fill the vacancies in that MOS and in a couple years when it comes time to compete for promotion to Sergeant the MOS will be flooded with soldiers like your son who joined at this time. Now when an MOS becomes over strength, that is when he will have options to change his job, usually when it comes time to reenlist. There are options out there to change jobs if he so feels, and they will make themselves apparent later on in his enlistment. However, being an Airborne qualified soldier means that if he stays in that job, he will more than likely be stationed at Bragg, even if he PCS moves to another duty station for a tour, he can expect to return. That's one of the downsides of being Airborne, Ft. Bragg is like a black hole.
A retirement at E7 is not a good living. Especially if they end up changing the retirement system. Right now, they average your last 3 years of pay, and then pay 50% of that for 20 years of service. You can look up pay charts on line and see how much a 20 year E7 makes and cut that in half. That is about how much a retired E7 will be making in pension right now and you can tell, it's probably not enough to live off of without some kind of supplement.
Let me know if you have any more questions, I am more than happy to answer what I can.
Why is Fort Bragg like a black hole. Also, he is in a 3 year contract so hopefully he will have enough experience by then to figure out if he stays or leaves, he is doing the GI bill so he will have some good college money when he gets out.
He's 18 so we're hopefull this will be a positve experience for him, I think he's young enough and hope he weighs all his options the Army has to offer. What are some of the positives you have experienced?