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When combat troops are tackling rough terrain, any obstacle that stands in their way can cost valuable time and lives. These obstacles must be cleared for troops to advance and successfully complete combat missions. The ability to slow down, strategically redirect, or stop the enemy in their tracks, can be invaluable. The Army depends upon the skills and expertise of the Combat Engineer to provide mobility, counter-mobility, and survivability support to combat forces.

Soldiers in this MOS construct fighting positions, fixed and floating bridges, obstacles, and defensive positions, place and detonate explosives, conduct route clearance operations of obstacles and rivers, prepare and install firing systems for demolition and explosives and detect mines, traps by visual, manual, mechanical, or electronic means, or with the help of a mine detection dog.

As this is one of the most physically demanding jobs in the Army, candidates for this MOS should be able to perform strenuous physical activities under stress and in combat conditions. They should also enjoy working outdoors, and have an interest in engineering, along with the ability to use hand and power tools.

After successfully completing Basic Combat Training, you will continue with 6 weeks of Advanced Individual Training at the U.S. Army Engineer School at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri where you will learn: Basic demolitions and explosive hazards, constructing wire obstacles, fixed bridge building, basic urban operations, and the operation of various wheeled and tracked vehicles within the Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT’s).

After successful completion of training, you will work as part of a team supporting Army operations in the field. Working in this MOS opens the door for several opportunities for career advancement through additional technical, tactical, and leadership training; such as Sapper, Ranger, Airborne, and Air Assault schools. The teamwork, problem solving, and leadership skills gained by serving in this MOS can help you transition to a civilian career.

Clearing the path for successful Army combat missions is a Combat Engineer.

Combat Engineer (12B)

  • Enlisted
  • Officer
  • Active Duty
  • Army Reserve
  • National Guard
  • Entry Level


Combat engineers primarily supervise, serve or assist as a member of a team when they are tackling rough terrain in combat situations. They provide their expertise in areas such as mobility, countermobility, survivability and general engineering.

Job Duties

  • Construct fighting positions, fixed/floating bridges, obstacles and defensive positions
  • Place and detonate explosives
  • Conduct operations that include route clearance of obstacles and rivers
  • Prepare and install firing systems for demolition and explosives
  • Detect mines visually or with mine detectors


Those who want to serve must first take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a series of tests that helps you better understand your strengths and identify which Army jobs are best for you.


Job training for combat engineers requires 14 weeks of One Station Unit Training, which includes Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training. Part of this time is spent in the classroom and part in the field with on-the-job instructions.

Some of the skills you’ll learn are:

  • Basic demolitions
  • Basic explosive hazards
  • Constructing wire obstacles
  • Fixed bridge building
  • Basic urban operations
  • Operating heavy equipment

Helpful Skills

  • Ability to use hand and power tools
  • Perform strenuous physical activities over long periods of time
  • Interest in engineering
  • Enjoy working outdoors

Required ASVAB Score(s)

Combat (CO): 87

Learn more about the ASVAB and see what jobs you could qualify for.


Total compensation includes housing, medical, food, special pay, and vacation time. Learn more about total compensation.

Earn Cash For In Demand Jobs

You could earn up to $40,000 in cash bonuses just for enlisting under certain Military Occupational Specialties. Visit Jobs in Demand to see if this job qualifies for an enlistment bonus.

Education Benefits

In the Army, qualified students can earn full-tuition, merit-based scholarships, allowances for books and fees, plus an annual stipend for living expenses. Learn more about education benefits.

Future Civilian Careers

The skills you learn will help prepare you for a career in the fields of construction, building inspection or building engineering.


Those interested in this job may be eligible for civilian employment, after the Army, by enrolling in the Army PaYS program. The PaYS program is a recruitment option that guarantees a job interview with military friendly employers that are looking for experienced and trained Veterans to join their organization. Find out more about the Army PaYS Program at

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