Combat Engineer

Angelo Moyers

Career Description

A United States 12B Combat Engineer is a combat arms Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) in the US Army. Combat Engineers specialize in mobility, counter-mobility, survivability, and general engineering. They can be deployed with an Infantry unit, work on heavy machinery, construct fighting positions, detect mines, or assigned to MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain.
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Duties and Responsibilities

Combat Engineers can be assigned a wide variety a tasks. These tasks include:

  • construct effective combat positions

  • place and detonate explosives

  • route clearance

  • assemble firing systems for explosives

  • detect mines

Education Requirements

All education required to become a Combat Engineer is provided by the US Army (other than the requirement to have graduated high school to be deployed).


Training includes Basic Combat Training (BCT) and Advanced Individual Training (AIT).

All soldiers go through BCT, but after BCT, individuals attend different AITs dependent on their MOS.

Job Outlook

The Army has downsized recently, but there is definitely no shortage in openings to enlist. The current outlook of the job will probably decrease no more, and either remain constant or increase. When considering that less than 0.5% of Americans join any branch of the military, the odds of obtaining a job as a 12B looks great.

Salary and Work Environment

As with all soldiers, salary is dependent on paygrade (PFC, SGT, SSG, etc.), and beginner's salary is hard to calculate. This is because all soldiers are guaranteed to be promoted in BCT, and if they are efficient soldier, will be promoted further. An E-1 (PV1, or Private 1) makes approximately $18,378, but a rank of PV1 should only be held for a few months.


The work environment of a Combat Engineer can include vastly different occurrences. If deployed with Infantry or assigned to MOUT, the environment should be expected to be considerably more dangerous. These are with the so-called the "Door Kickers," although Combat Engineers use breaching charges to infiltrate structures. If an engineer is assigned to construction, heavy machinery, or firing systems for explosives, life should be less dangerous, unless serious mistakes are made. All in all, nobody can tell what life will be like or what experiences one will endure as a Combat Engineer.

Related Courses and Activities

While no courses are required to join the army and become a 12B, other than graduating high school, there are definitely some classes and training programs which help.


Inside school, related skills could be picked up from the Introduction to Engineering and Principles of Engineering classes. Clubs like Engineering Club and the Outdoor Adventures Club also help prepare an individual for a job in Combat Engineering, with the enhancement of general engineering and orienteering skills.


There are other programs offered that help prepare soldiers to-be like the Future Soldier program, which is offered by the US Army, as well as most physical training programs offered by pretty much anyone.