*Before the hysterical comments of those mouth breathers, who get triggered and offended by everything and will comment without reading past the lede, start pouring read on, as this has nothing to do with anyone’s sex, self-identification, nor anything else that overpopulates our news today.*

The troops in the military love to dig at each other especially when they’re talking about the difference between grunts and POGs. Some of the slurs can get downright hilarious as testified by the number of memes and gifs on social media. 

Unless you’ve never been in the military, everyone has heard of the term POG (Personnel Other than Grunts). If you are in the infantry in either the Army or Marines, everyone else is a POG. 

Under the POG system, this Marine is considered a POG
Under the POG system, this Marine is considered a POG. However, he could be a former action guy (F.A.G.). (DoD)

Origins of the POGs and Grunts


Like everyone else, I have always wondered where the terms grunt and POG originated from.

Many believe (and a Navy bud told me) that the term dates to the Civil War and originated from the numerous Irish immigrants who came to the U.S. and fought for the Union. It began with the Gaelic word “pogue” which meant a kiss. The reason was that Navy sailors of Irish descent were upset at other sailors who would never leave the shore and get to stay home and kiss all the ladies while they were out to sea and doing all the fighting.

U.S. Marines and Army units quickly picked up the practice of naming the non-combat troops POGs. The Air Force not so much: With the exception of pilots and special operators, everyone in the Air Force was a POG. 


The term grunt was thought to be a Vietnam-era term for the troops beating the bush searching for that elusive guy named “Charlie.” But the word grunt came from World War II and was initially given by — of all people — POGs. 

With the massive amount of casualties in the war, replacements were constantly pushed into line units. Many were young, green, and barely trained. So, some POG decided to call them (because everything in the POG world has to have an acronym) “General Replacement Unit, Not Trained,” or grunts.