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10-6. Army Organizations

Active Army and Reserve Component

The U.S. Army consists of the Active Army, the ARNG and the USAR.

Army Unit Organizations

The squad/section is the smallest unit, consisting of eight to ten Soldiers. You will be assigned to a squad or a section when you report to your first unit.

The platoon includes the platoon leader, platoon sergeant, and two or more squads. (Normally 4 squads)

The company includes the company commander, first sergeant, and two or more platoons. (Normally 3 to 4 squads)

The battalion includes the battalion commander, his or her staff and headquarters, the command sergeant major, and approximately 3-5 companies.

The brigade consists of two to five battalions. It includes the brigade commander, command sergeant major, and a headquarters.

Chapter 11 – First Duty Station

11-1. Where Will I Serve?

Our Army has Soldiers and units in every State, Commonwealth and Possession across the United States. If you are in the active component, you may find yourself stationed in Alaska, Hawaii, Japan, Germany, Korea, Italy, and Turkey. Our presence is needed around the world to defend citizens, preserve liberties, and fight for freedom.

If your unit has been designated to deploy to Afghanistan, the Middle East, Asia, Africa or South America to perform regional missions, the unit will prepare you for that deployment.

11-2. How Can I Prepare?

The training you are receiving now is preparing you for the challenges you will meet in your first unit, as you join a new team and establish a new group of “battle buddies.”

Your first assignment will be even more challenging and even more rewarding as your BCT / OSUT / AIT experience, but only if you prepare yourself mentally for the journey. Have faith and trust in your unit leaders that they will provide you with the knowledge, training, and physical preparation for that next gate in your professional development.

11-3. Promotions

Progressing through the enlisted Army ranks is a major accomplishment. In the performance of your military duties, opportunities for education and self-development are available. This provides you with enhanced skills and allows your leaders to assess your leadership potential. Opportunities for advancement are available for you if you are committed to pursuing these opportunities.

There are two ways to get promoted to Specialist:

One is automatic as long as you have no punitive actions with the following time in grade (TIG) [the amount of time you have served continuously on the rank/grade] and service (TIS) [the amount of time you have served in the Army]:


Time in Service (TIS)

Time in Grade (TIG)


6 months



12 months

4 months


24 months

6 months

The other is to receive a waiver from the Commander. The numbers available are few and depend on the Army’s need for that specific rank. A waiver can be used to wave either TIS or TIG, but not both. The Commander will pick the best Soldiers per rank to receive the waivers allocated each month. With a waiver, minimum promotion requirements are:


Time in Service (TIS)

Time in Grade (TIG)


4 months



6 months

2 months


18 months

3 months

To get promoted to Sergeant, Specialists must meet the minimum TIS and TIG to be eligible and then must appear before a unit promotion board (battalion or higher) and be selected for promotion.

Once the board selects you for promotion, then your promotion points are calculated. The Army assesses every month how many Sergeants they need in your MOS. If the points drop below your number, you will be selected for promotion. The number varies from month to month.

Promotions points are earned through merits (awards and certificates), schooling (both Military and civilian education), and Soldier proficiency scores (APFT and Weapons Qualification). Minimum TIS and TIG requirements are:

Promotion SPC - SGT

Time in Service (TIS)

Time in Grade (TIG)

Primary Zone

35 months

7 months

Secondary Zone

17 months

5 months

To excel as an Army Professional, every Soldier should set goals. Determine what you want from this opportunity to serve and continue the journey that you have embarked.

Depending on the MOS and length of your contract, it is possible to make Specialist or Sergeant during your first enlistment. Whether you leave the Army at the conclusion of your enlistment or continue serving, your accomplishments will define who you are and inspire you to excel in and out of the military.

Examples of goal-setting during your first enlistment:

  • Become proficient on every weapon system within your Platoon

  • Become licensed to drive every vehicle within your company

  • Strive to obtain high individual scores on weapons and physical training

  • Volunteer to attend resident military schools and courses when they become available in your MOS

  • Work on your civilian education with a goal to receive an Associate’s or Bachelorette’s Degree before the end of your enlistment

  • Represent your unit and compete for Soldier of the Month selection

You can learn more about promotions through your NCO support channel. You can track your career path through the Army Career Tracker at:

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