Army Cargo Specialist – MOS-88H

A U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter carries cargo March 15, 2002 in the rugged Shah-e-Kot mountains, about 25 kilometers (15 miles) southeast of Gardez, Afghanistan.

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Due to the nature of the job, cargo specialists in the Army could be deployed anywhere in the world. It's one of those jobs whose location is determined by the Army's needs at a given moment.

You could find yourself stateside helping with operations in any number of scenarios, or working overseas in a combat zone. Whatever assignment you receive as a cargo specialist, chances are good you won't be bored.

These soldiers, whose job falls under military occupational specialty (MOS) 88H, make sure their fellow troops have the supplies, weapons, and equipment they need and oversee the transfer of passengers and cargo. Army cargo specialists use all manner of transport over land, air, and water to get the goods the troops need to where the troops are.


Soldiers in this job need an eye for detail and patience to count and catalog supplies. They inspect, count, and document cargo, sometimes manually and sometimes via automated methods. They load and unload all manner of equipment and supplies from docks, rail cars, warehouses, aircraft, and motor vehicles.

MOS 88H is also responsible for maintaining and operating winches, cranes, and forklifts. And they load air and sea shipments, including equipment in ocean liners.


Job training for this MOS involves the standard ten weeks of Basic Combat Training and an additional eight weeks of Advanced Individual Training with on-the-job instruction. Soldiers divide their time between the field and the classroom environments.

Your training will teach you how to operate and maintain equipment used to handle cargo, such as forklifts, cranes, and power winches, as well as the technique necessary to operate the equipment. You'll learn how to plan and schedule cargo shipments, and the all-important safety procedures that need to be followed when handling dangerous cargo.


You'll need a score of at least 88 in the general mechanical (GM) aptitude area of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests to be eligible for this job. There's no Department of Defense security clearances required, but you have to have a normal color vision (colorblindness isn't allowed).

If you have experience operating equipment like forklifts, this job should be a good fit. An interest in working in travel environments like train stations, ports, and rail stations will serve you well in MOS 88H, and an affinity for business mathematics would be a definite plus. If you like physically challenging work, even better.

Similar Civilian Occupations

This job has such a wide variety of skills that it will prepare you for myriad positions in the civilian workforce. You'll probably be able to find work easily with trucking firms, cargo companies, and shipping lines.

After you receive the civilian license required in the state where you live, you can pursue work as an industrial truck operator, a stevedore, a longshoreman, a material handler, or a cargo checker.