Questions about my MOS 19 kilo, basic at Ft. Knox


New Member
I joined up, will be shipping May 19 to Ft. Knox for basic training/tanker school. I have some questions about what to expect, and about being a tanker.
First of all, I'm a little unusual in that I'm 30 years old and just enlisted. I went to college, and have been in the workforce for about 7 years. I got the old 'spinning my wheels' feeling and my college loan debt was suffocating me. I decided to talk to a recruiter, they got me what seems to be a pretty sweet deal-wiping 62000 in loan debt out for my 4 years, while providing me with a job, taking me in as e-4, and an opportunity to serve my country.

Anyway, here are some of my questions:
I played football in college and have retained a lot of my muscle bulk-I work out 5 days a week and I'm pretty wide (5'9 220-14% body fat). From what I hear tankers are usually pretty undersized guys. Is my size going to effect me?
With this combined training how long will I actually be at Ft. Knox?
I'm going to Germany for my first duty station-I've never been overseas, is it enjoyable?
I'm having a hard time finding a lot of information about tankers-it seems they're a pretty tight group. Is there any advice any other tankers out there can give me?
I'm reading "Thunder Run" right now-great book!
Thanks for any help-
Hi Tanker, welcome to the forum.

I'm not a Tanker myself (as you probably can see..), so I can't answer your questions, other than that there's quite limited space inside a Tank, so the smaller you are, the more comfortable you will be (to a certain point of course...)
But I belive the person you should speak to is another forum member, Dragon_Master_Gunner..
He is currently in Iraq, we haven't heard from him in a while, but you could try to PM him... (I just hope he's ok...)
Here's a link to his Profile:

There should also be several other forum members here who should be able to answer your question..

Hello I am in the U.S Army. i am a 19 kilo also. The answer to your question is, you will have to slim down a bit. If you have paitence and can stand the heat of iraq, you can make it.
Im not in the US Army, but a tank is a tank and tank troopers are tank troopers.

well here is what i think:
Your not too tall to be in a tank, i ve seen guys over six feet in tanks. Ive also seen very big guys(fat as well as masculer) who at first were a little uncomfy, but after a couple of months sleeping, eathing and basically living in a tank, everyone seems to get along with out big problems. Some of the best loaders ive seen were huge guys but after a while they can preform very elegently. and being strong is always important, makes handling the weapons and maintaining your tank much easier.
as for deployment and time in training, ive no idea how it goes in your Army.
Tank troopers, like all field units, are very tight. Whyen you eat sleep live and fight with the same other 3 people inside a small space, you become closer than family. You soon find your self knowing their ex-girlfriends, what they like to eat, what they smell like(for better or usually worse), what music they like, what makes them pissed off or makes them happy.
As far as advice- like any other military unit- work hard, give respect, be there for other people.

"From the joy of a crew sitting togather,
From days of rain and harsh wind,
From fire and dust and smoke
From pieces of home at heart"

Sounds better in hebrew but its a song about where the bond between tankers to other tankers and to their machines comes from...

Have fun and always remember, If you cant run over it, shoot at it, or cook it in the field, its not worth thinking about!
Well, good luck to you. I never knew there were this many people in or going to be in armor. That's my goal when I get out of high school.
well hows it goin? i also joined the army and i will also leave may 19 for fort knox kentucky and will also train to be a tanker. only difference is im almost 19. i look forward to serving with you for our great country. :tank:
well i read more of your post. im going in as an e-3 how did you get e-4? i was told you cant join that high. and bootcamp is ten weeks plus 5 weeks of tank schooling so were lookin at 15 weeks but then that depends on if you pass everything when you need to. you might be there longer. also you got lucky with knowin where your goin. i was told we dont know till we graduate bootcamp. just be ready if your stationed at ft.bragg or ft.riley dont be suprised if you get shipped to afghanistan.
Well i am going in as a Tanker as well my ship date is Oct 13 my basic is at knox as well as my AIT. if your a big guy it will be cramped, dont get over 6ft1inch of else they wont let you in. the only thing being big helps for is loading you are lifting anywhere from 50 to 100 pound shells and if you have that much more muscle mass it will be a God send. But for you guys that are joining in their will only be 2 of the 4 jobs for you in that tank untill you get more experiance... which are loading and driving, i sugest that you get good and driving b/c i heard loading is not the best job. I will post more when i have more info about this MOS
october 13th ship date

Hey I have the same ship date for basic at knox. I guess ill be in your class for both basic and ait. I'm from va and going in as a e4. Does anyone know if 19k's are being deployed as stryker crewmen rather than m1 abrams? And how long after ait will a tanker get deployed?
I highly recomend that you guys shipping out at the same time link up on here and get to know each other. Going into reception with a few battle buddies is always a good thing. I went to knox for scout school, it wasn't bad at all. Goodluck.
how long after ait you will deploy all depends on where you go. Your being on a stryker versus an abrams also depends on that. I'm a 19 Kilo Staff Sergeant on tour 3 in Iraq right now, so this info is good and current. Just after you switch from the "basic" to the "ait" portion of your OSUT, you will receive orders to your first duty station. If you get orders to a station that has strykers (Lewis, Alaska, Hawaii, Germany) then you will do an additional 2 weeks of training at the end of your AIT in order to get your "R4" identifier. If you get orders to an "A2" post (Ft Bliss, Ft Carson, Ft Hood (whice is where I am stationed)) then you will recive special A2 tank training, but it will not extend your AIT. If you get orders to an A1 post (Korea, Riley, Benning, Stewart, Irwin) then you will only get the basic course. As an E4 you will get no special treatment in training, but it will matter at your unit. Usually the lowest ranking man on the tank is the loader (since the NCOs can keep an eye on him) and then you will move to driver. After you spend some time driving and are ready to be an NCO, you will move to a gunner position. Is it worth it? Hell yes. I've spent 6 out of 10 year in the Army overseas and I've loved almost every minute of it. The Abrams tank is the one of the most lethal ground platforms ever devised by man, and I think 19Kilo is the best MOS in the Army. Now, that being said, prepare yourself for the deployments. And I don't mean to rain on your parade, but we are past the days in Iraq where we could use tanks in the city, so don't expect to use a tank in Iraq unless something bad happens. It's all MRAPs and humvees now, so don't get depressed when it happens to you. The time for tanks was 2003-2007 when we could actually shoot stuff with main gun. Those days are over, but I'm telling you, when you see that tank fire for the first time in ait, you will fall in love. Hope this helped and good luck with your training. Stay positive and you will enjoy yourself!!
i had the same question i ship out for basic and ait in january2011 and my mos is 19k and i was wondering what the specific requirements are im 6'1 about 200 lbs so i might have to find a way to get shorter