The 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in the Military

July 7, 2022
The 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in the Military

Danger is something we all instinctively associate with the military. All branches of the military defend our Country against enemies of land, air, and sea and thus involve an inherent bit of unpredictability and risk.

But not all jobs in the military are created equal when it comes to danger and risk. When considering a military occupation, it’s worth thinking about the most dangerous military jobs and the risk associated with that career path.

Taking into account the specific duties, the necessary job training, and the likely assignments, here are ten of the most dangerous jobs in the military:

10. Aviation

Pilots and their crews provide powerful battlefield capabilities and upgrade our military’s capability to maneuver. Helicopter crews often enter hostile territories in midst of enemy fire to complete their transportation missions. Due to their impact in battle and number of crew involved they are a high target for enemy fire and thus one of the most dangerous military jobs.

9. Medic

Medics move alongside forward operating forces and provide aid to those under fire.  Despite being protected under the Geneva Convention, the current battles against nontraditional enemy forces rendersthis point somewhat null. Air strikes, mortar rounds, and artillery barrages place the highly trained medics at equal risk as the direct combat forces and gives this career choice a fair amount of risk.

8. Combat Engineers

Combat Engineers

As the name applies, combat engineers conduct risky construction and demolition projects in hazardous areas around the globe. Whether it’s clearing an upcoming road of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) or destroying opposition force obstacles along route, combat engineers play an important role in force maneuvers and often operate in hostile environments with time sensitive missions. Since they often operate with ground forces, they face the same perils as infantry and are often called to fight alongside them.

7. Truck Driver

Believe it or not, truck driving and vehicle transportation has become one of the most dangerous jobs in the military. Personnel and supply transportation has always been a perilous operation throughout war history, but the rise in usage of IEDs in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other modern battlefields has made truck driving a high-risk career choice. Despite updates to vehicle design and armor capabilities, there is a lot of exposure to danger and unfortunately numerous causalities within this profession.

6. Infantry

It should come as no surprise that careers in the infantry would be one of the most dangerous. Historically, the most casualties in battle come within this job; however, this is largely due to sheer volume of troops that fill this honorable profession. The infantry are trained hard for combat and basically perform the common battle operations, from direct fights with the enemy to aiding friendly forces in peril. If the infantry calls your name, you’ll join the long line of brave troops in one of the most dangerous jobs in the military.

5. Cavalry

Like their infantry brethren, the Cavalry has long been associated with inherent risk and personal danger. Unlike the infantry, the Cavalry pushes far into enemy territory to conduct reconnaissance or surveillance operations. They operate in much smaller force size and rely on their speed and adaptability to complete their missions. The nature of their work often places them in conflict heavily outnumbered, fighting against enemy forces in unsupported territory.

4. Explosive Ordnance Disposal

The military’s bomb squad is a profession immersed in danger. Military EOD teams are tasked with the already dangerous job of clearing minefields and dealing with faulty dud munitions, but they conduct these stressful missions in hazardous war zones. The combination of actual job tasks and operational environments makes the EOD profession one of the most dangerous military jobs.

3. Rescue Swimmer

Rescue Swimmer

Rescue swimmers face peril in a number of dangerous ways that heightens the risk involved with this difficult military occupation. Besides the fact it is one of the most strenuous training programs, if completed, rescue swimmers face the possibilities of harsh conditions on all fronts. Rescue swimmers operate in all weather and war-related conditions, facing a range of icy water temperatures or hot enemy fire, and perform very technical saves often against the winds and waves of Mother Nature.

2. Pararescue

The military’s Pararescue Jumpers (PJ’s) are an elite ambulatory care team also operating in severe conditions due to weather, natural disasters, or combat operations. Similar in risk and rigor to the Rescue Swimmer, PJ’s conduct stressful emergency operations in treacherous battle conditions. Due to more regular operational cadence than their aquatic teammates, PJ’s are one of the most dangerous jobs in the military.

1. Special operations

Look no further, the special operations community makes a living facing peril around the globe. The phrase ‘Special Operations’ includes a wide array of troops ranging from Army green berets, Marine reconnaissance units, Army Rangers, and the Navy Seals. Each troop entails a rigorous training and selection process. Due to the difficulty and danger of their missions, it is understandable why few succeed and qualify to operate within these elite teams. Special operations units work in all terrains, in environments often unknown, facing overwhelming odds, and conduct some of the most difficult missions imaginable. Choosing a career in military special operations is electing to face and wed yourself to danger. 

It’s only natural that any career in the military, the business of conducting war, has innate risk and the potential for danger. If you’re considering joining the military, it may be worth considering this question, “What is the most dangerous job in the military?”

For some, this might be the job or jobs they lean towards, choosing to place themselves in the center of action. However, others may use the risk and career hazards as important factors in determining their ultimate military job.

Regardless, it’s important to understand the various jobs in the military and their risks, and further our appreciation for the brave men and women who chose to perform these perilous duties, some making clear sacrifices of their personal safety due to the dangerous nature of their job.

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