army firefighter mos 12m

Army Firefighter (MOS 12M)

Army Firefighters (MOS 12M) are comparable to civilian firefighters.

The same responsibility of protecting property and lives from fires exists.

An Army Firefighter (MOS 12M) work in a variety of environments, not only regarding combat situations and Army structures but also aboard aircraft and ships.

There is also a need to conduct and supervise firefighting rescue, salvage, and fire protection operations.

Related ArticleArmy Ranks and Pay

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Education, Qualifications, and Training

army firefighter mos
Army Firefighters (MOS 12M) are very comparable to their civilian counterparts. Image: Virginia National Guard

The job of an Army Firefighter sounds precisely like you would assume.

It is very similar to civilian firefighters only that MOS 12M work to protect Army infrastructure and fellow soldiers.

First aid and emergency response are critical functions of the job.

As a result, there is a fair amount of training and education that goes into becoming MOS 12M.


If you want to serve in the U.S. Army you need a high school diploma or GED equivalent.

Then, you need to complete the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).

The series of tests help you understand what your strengths and weaknesses are in order to find the most suitable military career.

You need to score 88 or higher on the ASVAB in order to qualify for MOS 12M.


After you complete the ASVAB and earn a score of 88 or higher it is time to consider qualifications.

Army Firefighters must have a valid state driver’s license.

If you have a tainted driver’s history or issues with the law you may not be considered for MOS 12M.

There are no extra security clearances required for Army Firefighters.

However, you still need to have normal color vision.

The Army will also consider any phobis such as claustrophobia and pryophobia as circumstances that may disqualify you.

In terms of personal character it helps to be able to have a calm personality that works well under high stress and dangerous situations.

Firefighters are selfless individuals that are willing to risk injury, or even death, to save others.

It also helps to have the ability to think and act quickly.


Training for the U.S. Army for all soldiers, regardless of career of choice begins with Basic Combat Training (BCT).

Basic Combat Training generally lasts 10 weeks followed by Advanced Individual Training.

Training is a combination of classroom learning and practical experience out in the field.

You will learn how to fight a variety of different fires as well as learn how to operate firefighting equipment.

First aid and rescue procedures are also taught to MOS 12M recruits.

Following Army Basic Training, or boot camp, you will progress to Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas.

There you will attend basic fire protection courses at Louis F. Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy.

The intense 13-week course challenges new recruits in firefighting techniques and prevention.

There are several live drills including rescues, delivering emergency medical care, handling hazardous materials, climbing ladders, and conducting aircraft rescue firefighting.

Related ArticleArmy APFT Test Standards For Males and Females

What does an Army Firefighter Do?

us army firefighter
Fighting fires is an important duty of MOS 12M, yet there are other responsibilities like handling first aid and managing equipment. Image:

Firefighters MOS 12M are responsible for protecting lives and property from fire, according to the U.S. Army.

Firefighting locations include buildings, aircrafts, and ships.


The most obvious job duty of an Army Firefighter (MOS 12M) is to perform rescue and firefighting operations.

MOS 12M are trained to handle structural fires, as well as aircraft crashes, vehicle emergencies, and natural cover fires.

Army Firefighters are trained to direct rescue and firefighting operations.

Management and leadership skills are necessary to inform and direct emergency response crews as well as keep accurate records and reports.

There are instances where controlled burns need to take place.

As a result, Army Firefighters are trained in managing wildfires as well.

First Aid

Army Firefighters are just like civilian firefighters in that they are also EMTs.

Injury, or potential death is plausible with every fire.

MOS 12M are committed and trained to help rescue people from a variety of settings as well as perform CPR and other emergency first aid.


Firefighters navigate large trucks and other emergency response vehicles.

In the military it is your responsibility to know how to drive all emergency rescue vehicles as well as perform maintenance during down-time.

There is a need to repair or refill firefighting equipment in order to make sure you are absolutely prepared for the next emergency incident.

Fire Hazards

Army Firefighters are experts on different types of fires as well as hazardous materials.

Consequently, they spend some of their down-time teaching fire protection to other members of the U.S. Army.

In the Army, MOS 12M may potentially respond to handling hazardous materials discovered in the field.

Other safety measures include inspecting buildings, aircraft, ships, and equipment for fire hazards.

Related Article: Army Height And Weight Standards

mos 12m firefighter military job
Army Firefighters make a steady living and have a high success rate of working in the same field after leaving the U.S. Military. Image: 145th Airlift Wing

Pay for an Army Firefighter (MOS 12M) is the same as any job title.

It more depends on your rank within the U.S. Army, as well as years of service.

For a general idea see the table (below).

Also keep in mind that your total compensation also includes free housing, medical, food, special pay, and PTO (more information, also below).

Additionally, since firefighters perform a dangerous job it is possible to earn up to $40,00 in cash bonuses just for enlisting under certain Military Occupational Specialties.

InsigniaPay GradeRankAbbreviationAvg. Monthly Pay
E-2Private Second ClassPV2$1,884
army e 3 insignia - pfcE-3Private First ClassPFC$1,981
army e 4 insignia - specialistE-4SpecialistSPC$2,195
army e 4 insignia - corporalE-4CorporalCPL$2,195
E-6Staff SergeantSSG$2,613
E-7Sergeant First ClassSFC$3,021
army e 8 insignia - master sergeantE-8Master SergeantMSG$4,345
E-8First Sergeant1SG$4,345
E-9Sergeant MajorSGM$5,308
E-9Command Sergeant MajorCSM$5,308
e 9 sergeant major of the army insigniaE-9Sergeant Major of the ArmySMA$5,308


As previously mentioned, the U.S. Army hooks you up with a ton of benefits in addition to your monthly salary:

  • Medical Insurance
  • Vacation Time
  • Special Pay
  • Retirement
  • Education: Army members can earn full-tuition, merit-based scholarships, allowances for books and fees, plus annual stipend for living expenses.
  • Housing: Allowances for living expenses, utilities, and maintenance.
  • Food: Allowance for the on-base dining hall and access to tax-free department and grocery stores

Job Reviews

According to and the outlook for an Army Firefighter MOS 12M is very good.

Army Firefighters frequently admit they liked the comradely and receiving a purpose while working MOS 12M.

Though the military career is extremely challenging and hard work, most find the experience very rewarding.

Travel and getting to see other places in the world is a big pro of MOS 12M as opposed to becoming a civilian firefighter.

However, MOS 12M with families struggle with deployment, long hours, and not getting to see or talk to their loved ones often.

Civilian Job Opportunities

The most obvious civilian career path for Army MOS 12M is firefighting.

Thankfully, it is a job in high demand whether working for a city or county fire department.

Of course there are other emergency response agencies to consider as well.

There are also careers to consider as a fire inspector or investigator.

Through the Army PaYS program you may get guaranteed job interviews with certain firefighting agencies across the United States.


Firefighters (MOS 12M) are important to activities handled through the U.S. Army.

You will see action trying to save property and lives, as well as receive complete fire training – which can translate into a civilian firefighter job after retiring from the U.S. Military.



Elie P.

Elie Piha served as a paratrooper in the US Army from 2008 to 2012. He used
the GI Bill to graduate from UC Berkeley where he majored in English. He
currently works as a writing tutor, a freelance writer, and a bartender, is
completing a novel based on his time in Afghanistan, and is pursuing
graduate school.
Elie P.

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