MOS 12N—Horizontal Construction Engineer

Qualifications for initial award of MOS 12N, Horizontal Construction Engineer:

PULHES: Unknown
Physical Demands Rating: very heavy
Required ASVAB Score: Unknown
Enlistment Bonus: None
Security Clearance: None
U.S. Citizenship: Not Required
AIT Training Length / Location: Unknown
*MOS 12N is a recently established MOS

Horizontal Construction Engineer (MOS 12N) Description / Major Duties:

The Army is always completing hundreds of construction projects and Heavy Construction Equipment Operators are integral to that process. Airfields, roads, dams and buildings can't be created without moving tons of earth and building materials or producing concrete and asphalt. Construction equipment operators use bulldozers, cranes, graders and other heavy equipment to complete these kinds of projects.

Construction Equipment Operators are responsible for operating crawler and wheeled tractors with dozer attachments, scoop loader, backhoe loaders, hydraulic excavators, motorized grader and towed or self-propelled scraper.

Some of your duties as a Horizontal Construction Engineer may include:

  • Interpret information on grade stakes, placing or replacing grade stakes
  • Drive bulldozers, roadgraders, and other heavy equipment to cut and level earth for runways and roadbeds
  • 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
  • Lift and move steel and other heavy building materials using winches, cranes, and hoists
  • Dig holes and trenches using power shovels


Job training for a Construction Equipment Operator requires nine weeks of Basic Training, where you'll learn basic Soldiering skills, and eight weeks of Advanced Individual Training and on-the-job instruction. Part of this time is spent in the classroom and part in the field. Some of the skills you'll learn are:

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

Helpful Skills
Helpful attributes for a Horizontal Construction Engineer include:

  • An interest in operating heavy construction equipment
  • A preference for working outdoors
  • An interest in working with your hands

Advanced Responsibilities

Advanced level Construction Equipment Operators provides guidance, supervises and trains other Soldiers within the same discipline.

As an advanced level Horizontal Construction Engineer, you may be involved in:

  • Construct embankments
  • Excavate hills and slopes with crawler tractor
  • Finish slopes
  • Mix soil stabilization materials
  • Construct embankments
  • Perform surface and drainage maintenance

Related Civilian Jobs

The skills you learn as a Construction Equipment Operator will help prepare you for a civilian career with building contractors, state highway agencies, rock quarries, well drillers or construction firms. You'll be able to consider a future as an operating engineer, heavy equipment operator, well driller or rigger.

There are a number of formal 3-year operating engineer apprenticeship programs, which you may qualify for as well. These programs, which are administered by the International Union of Operating Engineers and the Associated General Contractors of America, Inc., consist of at least three years or 6,000 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours per year of classroom instruction.

Article Last Modified: February 21, 2011

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