Service Occupations

Each job description is preceded by an indication of which branches of the service the job is available in, as not all branches of the service offer the same careers. For additional information beyond what we offer here, you can also visit: careersinthemilitary.com and todaysmilitary.com/careers.

Firefighters

Army
Navy
Air Force
Marine Corps
Coast Guard

Military bases have their own protection services, including fire departments. Military firefighting units are responsible for protecting lives and property from fire. Firefighters put out, control, and help prevent fires in buildings, aircraft, and aboard ships.

What They Do

Firefighters in the military perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Operate pumps, hoses, and extinguishers
  • Force entry into aircraft, vehicles, and buildings in order to fight fires and rescue personnel
  • Drive firefighting trucks and emergency rescue vehicles
  • Give first aid to injured personnel
  • Inspect aircraft, buildings, and equipment for fire hazards
  • Teach fire-protection procedures
  • Repair firefighting equipment and fill fire extinguishers

Where They Work

Firefighters work indoors and outdoors while fighting fires. They are exposed to the smoke, heat, and flames of the fires they fight.

Opportunities in Civilian Life

Civilian firefighters work for city and county fire departments, other government agencies, and industrial firms. They perform duties similar to those performed by military firefighters, including rescue and salvage work.

Physical Requirements

Good vision without glasses and a clear speaking voice are required to enter some specialties in this occupation.
Firefighters have to climb ladders and stairs. They must also be able to lift and carry injured personnel.

Food Service Specialists

Army
Navy
Air Force
Marine Corps
Coast Guard

Every day, more than a million meals are prepared in military kitchens. Some kitchens prepare thousands of meals at one time, while others prepare food for small groups of people. Food service specialists prepare all types of food according to standard and dietetic recipes. They also order and inspect food supplies and prepare meats for cooking.

What They Do

Food service specialists in the military perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Order, receive, and inspect meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables
  • Prepare standard cuts of meat using cleavers, knives, and bandsaws
  • Cook steaks, chops, and roasts
  • Bake or fry chicken, turkey, and fish
  • Prepare gravies and sauces
  • Bake breads, cakes, pies, and pastries
  • Serve food in dining halls, hospitals, field kitchens, or aboard ship
  • Clean ovens, stoves, mixers, pots, and utensils

Where They Work

Food service specialists normally work in clean, sanitary kitchens and dining facilities. They may sometimes work in refrigerated meat lockers. Sometimes they work outdoors in tents while preparing and serving food under field conditions.

Opportunities in Civilian Life

Civilian food service specialists work in cafes, restaurants, and cafeterias. They also work in hotels, hospitals, manufacturing plants, schools, and other organizations that have their own dining facilities. Depending on specialty, food service specialists are called cooks, chefs, bakers, butchers, or meat cutters.

Physical Requirements

Food service specialists may have to lift and carry heavy containers of foodstuffs and large cooking utensils.

Law Enforcement and Security Specialists

Army
Navy
Air Force
Marine Corps
Coast Guard

The military services have their own law enforcement and security specialists. These specialists investigate crimes committed on military property or that involve military personnel. They also guard inmates in military correctional facilities.

What They Do

Law enforcement and security specialists in the military perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Investigate criminal activities and activities related to espionage, treason, and terrorism
  • Interview witnesses and question suspects, sometimes using polygraph machines (lie detectors)
  • Guard correctional facilities and conduct searches of inmates, cells, and vehicles
  • Perform fire and riot-control duties

Where They Work

Law enforcement and security specialists in the military work mainly indoors; they may work outdoors while conducting investigations or guarding prisoners in exercise yards.

Opportunities in Civilian Life

Civilian law enforcement and security specialists work in federal, state, and local prisons, intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and private security companies. They perform similar duties to those performed in the military. They may be called detectives, private investigators, undercover agents, corrections officers, or guards.

Physical Requirements

Normal color vision is necessary to enter some specialties in this area. Some specialties have minimum age and height requirements.

Military Police

Army
Navy
Air Force
Marine Corps
Coast Guard

The services have their own police forces for many of the same reasons that civilians do: to control traffic, prevent crime, and respond to emergencies. Military police protect lives and property on military bases by enforcing military laws and regulations.

What They Do

Military police perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Patrol areas on foot, by car, or by boat
  • Interview witnesses, victims, and suspects in the course of investigating crimes
  • Collect fingerprints and other evidence
  • Arrest and charge criminal suspects
  • Train and walk with police dogs
  • Testify in court
  • Guard entrances and direct traffic

Where They Work

Military police work both indoors and outdoors. They may work on foot, in cars, or in boats.

Opportunities in Civilian Life

Civilian police officers generally work for state, county, or city law enforcement agencies. Some work as security guards for industrial firms, airports, and other businesses and institutions. They perform duties similar to those of military police.

Physical Requirements

Normal color vision, hearing, and a clear speaking voice are usually required to enter this occupation. Some specialties have minimum height requirements.