21B What is it really like?

since no one can give you a current version.

in 91-93 I was a medic in a mechanized engineer battalion in germany. ( 16th engineers, in Feurth)
which tell you there is serious potential for everything to be changed.. or everything the same.

typical day was PT at 0630 this was a formation.. platoons broke for pt unless it was monday .. then we all ran about 4 miles or so at a nice " airborne" shuffle. which meant 80 steps to the ftBig Grin. we would cme back for batalion pushups/situps/ side straddle hope for about 20 mins then go change clothes and report to formation again, then released for breakfast/ nap/ whatever til 8:30 ish.

medics rotated on sick call and pt ( heavy sick call days we all went .. light ones our squad leader would do sick call solo while we did PT) Engineers would have training days 3 times a week. this could mean anything from full battle dress and low crawling to 113 inspection and mine recovery/breaching simulations. OR platoons would break into squads and disappear for morning movie time. ( this wasnt exactly "trainin")

One day would be set aside for Sgts day. IE platoons would get together and work on firearm cleaning , pt, whatever shortcoming the platoon had. and One day was motor pool IF everything was going right and vehicles where pretty much parked and working fine.

when the 113s where jacked up after going to the box or just piss poor condition everyday was a motor pool day. inspections on pioneer boxes where common to make sure everything was there ( picks and assorted diggin tools)
we medics didnt have our own 113 but we did have a humvee that was often stolen by company commanders since it didnt have a box on back. ( they liked being cool with the truck)

once a month was NBC training. we got to put on our mopp suits and run about doing combat breaches ( yes medics had to wear the coal suit too) this was the highlight of EVERYONES monthBig Grin ( the old Mopps suits made you about 8 shades darker than you where that morning.. everyone knew we had did NBC excercises after becuase we would hose off behind the barracks and there would be a huge black spot of charcoal)

twice a year we went to the field in honefels ( jacked the spelling im sure) which was 30 days in the op area, one day showering and sneaking popeyes chicken and another 30 days in the box.

this was simulated combat excercise for us. since we had went to dessert storm with 1st AD and came back to join 3rd ID for dessert shield we mostly did this training solo vs the OP4 guys. most the engineers slept very little and the medics got a great deal of real world training because the engineers would roll 113s in ditches during night driving.
mostly it seemed to train ya to go from dead asleep to caffiene crased awake in about 1/2 a second.

weekends spcs did CQ with a runner or two depending on who had done something boneheaded.
NCOs got weekends off except our platoon NCOS who would come in and check CQ occasionally. the 1st SGTS spent thier weekends picking up medics and engineers who got drunk and in fights. ( FYI.. you DONT want your Top coming to get you out of a german jail or from the MPS at 3 am on saturday... you may think he isnt awake.. but he remembers on monday.., even if you wasnt hte one IN the jail.. if you where there with the fool in the bar who did, you are in just as much hot water)

generally your training to do your job and making sure your stuff squared away. if your a soup sandwich and not standing tall. your gonna end up doing extra special stuff .. like being posted out frond of HHC building on cigarette guard duty.. IE picking up butts and saluting every officer that comes in.

barracks inspections where common at least once a week squad leaders and platoon NCOS would make rounds through barracks. if you had a nasty room with clothes everywhere or food out you got to be a CQ runner. if you where a Spc and had a nasty room give up your weekends for a month.. cause your on CQ phone guard.

boose in barracks wasnt a big deal there because the drinking age is 18 in germany. some incidents of parties and women in the barracks coupled with some less than stellar behavior ( cabbies getting knifed by GIs, a LT getting stuffed in a wall locker and tossed out a window ( they did convince him everyone had done it), a drunk girl left in the shower room on monday morning and found by the CSM during his inspection, streaking other units attached to the barracks, and the one big bonfire done on a very small camp grill behind one of the barracks building) drew a great deal of attention and caused a LOT of heat to come down.

for the most part engineers stuck together well if you where a disaster in uniform they all worked to fix you. IE taking time to teach eachother how to break down 50 cals and do mine location drills with new guys.

being a medic in a combat engineer bat was akin to having a "get out of jail free card" in a lot of ways. you where "doc" to everyone including the CO. mostly because it was your job to care about everyone and any medic who made that effort had respect. It took dealing with some cheesy feet and being johny on the spot with injuries but once you where " doc" you could do no wrong.

being a combat medic with any combat battalion and then going to a hospital where your the vital sign taking-butt wiper is a stark contrast.

combat engineers seem to be one of those units that most bigtime generals dont really know what to do with unless there is a minefield. From what I lived with for two years they where more infantry than EOD. 16th was a tight knit group. some of the guys didnt really like the job because it was monotonous but they all loved the unit and had a lot of pride in being "catamounts".

FYI.. IM currently in the process of rejoining. combat engineer is one of the top MOS that I have an interest in because of what I saw back in those days. plus the promo points are often lowBig Grin
I'm a SPC 21B currently deployed to Iraq. Everyday life is going to be different depending on which unit you go to, but you get that with every MOS. This is my experience.
I'm in a mechanized unit. For new guys, you usually end up as either a driver or a dismount. When you move up in rank, then you get assigned to be a gunner in a bradley. If you're on humvees or mraps, then it's pretty much whatever you're qualified on. What vehicles you get put on depends a lot on where you're going. In the rear, we're assigned bradleys, and that's what my unit used last deployment, but now we're using humvees and mraps. Out here we do route clearance, which is what most combat engineers are doing these days. We go out and drive really slowly looking for IEDs on the side of the road. It's dangerous, and you have to pay really close attention to what's going on around you. It can be long and boring, but you know you're doing something that will help everyone. It's cool when you tell people your MOS and they know that you're the crazy SOB who goes out and LOOKS for bombs. If you're lucky, you even get to bip them (blow in place). But as engineers you do just about everything. You do work as infantry, and construction engineers. Right now my platoon's attached to a tanker company and we train Iraqis and run QRF for the Iraqi Security Forces.
It all depends on where you go, and your leadership. Also, promotions points are pretty low, so it helps with moving up. And every once in a while 21B gets on the critical MOS list, and you can get a decent bonus when you join or reup. They just went on the list recently.
Good luck. If you have any more questions, just post again.
are 113s gone for 21bs?

how often are you doing construction? ( 21w is pretty muchwhat Ive done as a civilian for the last decade + , I wouldnt mind keeping the skill set up on occasion) just dont want to enlist as a wiskey.. ( can do that job as a civilian and make a great deal more)

are there still engineer bats in germany? are they coming back to the states ?
how many PS does your unit have? a WAG is fine.
5th En Bn in FLW still had 113s when I left in 07. That's the only place I've been that still has 113s. Take info that all of those posters put up, and that's typical engineer. I was an engineer for 6 1/2 years. Camaraderie is pretty high amongst Engineers. I miss being a 21B sometimes, but eh, whatever. It's an alright MOS. You'll have fun. Good luck!

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