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When the Army begins a new mission, infrastructure must often be created from scratch. To prepare these sites for construction, tons of earth must be moved and land levelled. To transform rough terrain into safe roads, strong building foundations, and airfields, and to support combat operations, the Army depends upon the specialized skills of the Horizontal Construction Engineer.

Soldiers in this MOS are responsible for operating heavy earth-moving equipment such as: crawler tractors, scoop loaders, hydraulic excavators, and backhoe loaders to clear, excavate, level, load and haul; and for driving tractor trailers to transport construction equipment and materials. Candidates for this MOS should enjoy being outdoors and working with their hands, and should have an interest in operating heavy construction equipment.

After successful completion of Basic Combat Training, you will attend 8 weeks of Advanced Individual Training at the U.S. Army Engineer School at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri where you will learn to safely operate, maintain, repair, and perform pre- and post-operative checks on different types of construction and rough terrain equipment, To identify soil types, and to analyze and understand the placement of grade stakes. After successful completion of training, you will work as part of a team supporting military operations in the field. The experience, teamwork, and problem solving skills gained by serving in this MOS can prepare you for a variety of civilian careers after the Army.

Paving the way for Army operations around the world is a Horizontal Construction Engineer.

Horizontal Construction Engineer (12N)

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


Horizontal construction engineers use bulldozers, cranes, graders and other heavy equipment to move tons of earth and material to complete construction projects for the Army.

They are also responsible for operating tractors with dozer attachments, scoop loaders, backhoe loaders, hydraulic excavators, motorized graders and scrapers.

Job Duties

  • Analyze the information on grade stakes and placing them
  • Drive bulldozers, roadgraders and other heavy equipment to level earth
  • Clear, grub, strip, excavate, backfill, stockpile and push scraper with tractor crawler
  • Cut and spread fill material with scraper
  • Transport heavy construction equipment with tractor-trailer
  • Assist in performance of combat engineer missions


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 horizontal construction engineer requires 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training and nine weeks of 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:

  • Operation of different types of construction and rough terrain equipment
  • Maintenance and repair of equipment
  • Identification of soil types and placement of grade stakes

Helpful Skills

  • Interest in operating heavy construction equipment
  • Preference for working outdoors
  • Interest in working with your hands

Required ASVAB Score(s)

General Maintenance (GM): 90

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 with building contractors, state highway agencies, rock quarries, well drillers and construction firms.


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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