From ArticleWorld

The word Soldier has its root in an old Latin word, ‘solidarius’, meaning someone who is paid to serve. A soldier is a person who is enlisted in the army and is engaged to serve in the military. Soldiers, after enlistments are required to undergo training and are given the responsibility of serving under an officer, to defend the interests of the state whose army they serve. Most states spend on the training and the equipment and even the uniforms of their soldiers.

A soldier in the army is completely answerable to his immediate head and is trained to follow orders without any hitch or hesitation. For this purpose the army is divided into a strict hierarchical entity with groups of soldiers divided into units and battalions. Each officer has a battalion of soldiers serving under him and a superior officer handles various battalions.

Place in hierarchy

A soldier usually holds the bottom rung of the hierarchical ladder and in the British as well as the US armies is called a private. A soldier, to a certain extent, is capable of working his way through the ranks and getting a commission to be an officer. Retired soldiers are called veterans, though again it is a term that could be applied to a seasoned soldier who is still serving.

Kinds of soldiers

Not all soldiers who enlist go to fight at the front. Some of them are retained as non-combatants to work as clerks, orderlies, office boys and even nurses.

The soldiers who are retained for ground combat are called infantry men though all the men, including officers, serving the infantry are called thus. Soldiers who serve the air force of a country are called air men, while the men in the navy are called marines. Interestingly, the marines and the airmen consider it beneath their dignity to be called soldiers.

Cavalry soldiers of yore fought from horse back – they have been replaced by the modern soldiers fighting in armored vehicles. The artillery men operate guns, missiles, rockets and mortars while the engineers of an army are engaged in construction, demolition, mine clearing and building bridges for the army.