Military Pay raise and do they earn enough?

IMG000002I received an e-mail from a friend that was circulating an old topic, but I think it a very important topic.

The topic is Military Pay raise and do they earn enough?

I personally think the GI’s do not get paid enough.  I have a son that has been in the military for a while now.  He recently got married to a wonderful young lady and will soon be shipped overseas again for the 3rd time in only a couple years.  He thought he was making enough to support a family, but soon found out how much that costs once he got married.  Before he was living in the barracks and always had extra money at the end of the month, but as soon as he got married and had housing expenses and all, he soon needed help.  His mom, being single and just making ends meet herself managed to help where she could as well as the young girl’s parents.  They still struggle every month to make ends meet. 

It is my belief that all the GI’s are working very hard to keep this country free.  And where I don’t believe they should be getting rich from it, they should at least be paid enough to survive with out struggling and should not be on a poverty level.

That is my 2 cents about all this!

I am including the original article by the Cindy Williams and the original airman’s letter back to her that started me wanting to give my 2 cents about all this:

Our GIs Earn Enough

Cindy Williams

 The Washington Post, January 12, 2000; Page A19

This month every member of the U.S. military is getting a 4.8 percent pay raise, the biggest inflation boost the military has seen in 18 years. The ink on the paychecks is not yet dry, but already some politicians and lobbyists are clamoring for bigger raises in future years. Just this week the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) reported that most military people feel they are not paid fairly.

Proponents of additional hefty raises argue that even after this month’s raise, the military suffers a 13 percent “pay gap” relative to the private sector. But in fact there is no pay gap worthy of the name; our armed forces are already paid very well compared with the rest of America. It makes no sense to pour money into outsized pay raises. The 25 percent pay hike that some proponents are backing would cost taxpayers more than $12 billion a year.

The “gap” of 13 percent does not measure the relative levels of military and civilian pay. Rather, it is supposed to reflect the differences between military and private sector raises since 1982. The calculation is set up to make the differences seem as large as possible. For example, it includes the growth in what the military calls “basic pay” but not the growth in allowances for food and housing. And it compares the military and civilian raises over separate time periods. Just correcting for those two problems cuts the result in half.

Comparing raises and calling it a pay gap makes no sense anyway. If you get a 5 percent raise this year and your neighbor gets 10 percent, it hardly means your pay has fallen behind your neighbor’s: If you earned twice as much as your neighbor to start with, you still earn more than he does. Wage data show that our troops typically earn more money than 75 percent of civilians with similar levels of education and experience.

For example, after four months in the Army, an 18-year-old private earns about $21,000 a year in pay and allowances. In addition, he or she gets a tax advantage worth about $800, because some of the allowances are not taxed. That’s not bad for a person entering the work force with a high school diploma. By way of comparison, an automotive mechanic starting out with a diploma from a strong vocational high school might earn $14,000 a year. A broadcast technician or communications equipment mechanic might earn $20,000 to start but typically needs a year or two of technical college.

At the higher end of enlisted service, a master sergeant with 20 years in the Marine Corps typically earns more than $50,000 a year–better than a senior municipal firefighter or a police officer in a supervisory position, and comparable to a chief engineer in a medium-sized broadcast market. Among the officers, a 22-year-old fresh out of college earns about $34,000 a year as an ensign in the Navy–about the same as the average starting pay of an accountant, mathematician or a geologist with a bachelor’s degree. A colonel with 26 years makes more than $108,000.

In addition to these basic salaries, there are cash bonuses for officers and enlisted personnel with special skills. There are also fringe benefits: four weeks of paid vacation, comprehensive health care, discount groceries, tuition assistance during military service and as much as $50,000 for college afterward. Enlistment and reenlistment bonuses can run to $20,000 and more.

Advocates of additional big raises maintain that military people should be paid more because they are more highly qualified–they exceed national averages in verbal and math skills and percentage of high school graduations. But while these
facts may help explain why the majority of our soldiers already earn more money than 75 percent of Americans, they don’t explain why their future raises should exceed civilian wage growth by a large amount.

Some advocates contend that we need a large boost in military pay because the services are finding it difficult to attract and keep the people they need. But recruiting can be improved much less expensively by pumping up advertising, adding recruiters and better focusing their efforts and expanding enlistment bonuses and college programs. Pay is not necessarily the most important factor in a person’s decision to stay in or leave the military. We might get better results by reducing the frequency of deployments, relaxing antiquated rules and improving working conditions.

Proponents of higher pay also note that military people put up with hardships such as long hours and family separations. Yet many civilian occupations make similar demands, and firefighters, police and emergency medical personnel, like many in the military, risk their lives on the job.

The report that CSIS released this week points to problems of morale and dissatisfaction across the military. But those problems are not all about pay. According to CSIS, they reflect concerns about training and leadership, the demands of frequent overseas deployments and unmet expectations for a challenging and satisfying military lifestyle. Higher pay will not fix these problems.

The writer, a senior research fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was assistant director for national security in the Congressional Budget Office from 1994 to 1997.



Military Pay


        This is an Airman’s response to Cindy Williams’ editorial piece in the Washington Times about MILITARY PAY.


        “Ms Williams:


        I just had the pleasure of reading your column, “Our GIs earn enough” and I am a bit confused. Frankly, I’m wondering where this vaunted overpayment is going, because as far as I can tell, it disappears every month between DFAS (The Defense Finance and Accounting Service) and my bank account. Checking my latest earnings statement I see that I make $1,117.80 before taxes per month. After taxes, I take home $874.20. When I run that through the calculator, I come up with an annual salary of $13,413.60 before taxes, and $10,490.40, after.

        I work in the Air Force Network Control Center where I am part of the team responsible for a 5,000 host computer network I am involved with infrastructure segments, specifically with Cisco Systems equipment. A quick        check under jobs For Network Technicians in the Washington, D.C. area reveals a position in my career field, requiring three years experience with my job.

        Amazingly, this job does NOT pay $13,413.60 a year. No, this job is being offered at $70,000 to $80,000 per annum.  I’m sure you can draw the obvious conclusions.

        Given the tenor of your column, I would assume that you NEVER had the pleasure of serving your country in her armed forces. Before you take it upon yourself to once more castigate congressional and DOD leadership for attempting to get the families in the military’s lowest pay brackets off of WIC and food stamps, I suggest that you join a group of deploying soldiers headed for AFGHANISTAN; I leave the choice of service branch up to you.   Whatever choice you make, though, opt for the SIX month rotation: it will guarantee you the longest possible time away from your family and friends, thus giving you full “deployment experience.”

        As your group prepares to board the plane, make sure to note the spouses and children who are saying good-bye to their loved ones. Also take care to note that several families are still unsure of how they’ll be able to make     ends meet while the primary breadwinner is gone obviously they’ve been squandering the “vast” piles of cash the government has been giving them. Try to deploy over a major holiday; Christmas and Thanksgiving are perennial favorites. And when you’re actually over there, sitting in a foxhole, shivering against the cold desert night; and the flight sergeant tells you that there aren’t enough people on shift to relieve you for chow, remember this: trade whatever MRE (meal-ready- to-eat) you manage to get for the tuna noodle casserole or cheese tortellini, and add Tabasco to everything. This gives some flavor.

        Talk to your loved ones as often as you are permitted; it won’t nearly be long enough or often enough, but take what you can get and be thankful for it. You may have picked up on the fact that I disagree with most of the points you present in your opened piece.  But, tomorrow from KABUL, I will defend to the death your right to say it.

        You see, I am an American fighting man, a guarantor of your First Amendment rights and every other right you cherish. On a daily basis, my brother and sister soldiers worldwide ensure that you and people like you can thumb your collective nose at us, all on a salary that is nothing short of pitiful and under conditions that would make most people cringe We hemorrhage our best and brightest into the private sector because we can’t offer the stability and pay of civilian companies.

        And you, Ms. Williams, have the gall to say that we make more than we deserve? You can kiss my royal red a**!!!


        A1C Michael Bragg Hill AFB


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I am a hopeless Romantic and Positive person. I started a company called Website Designing Plus, which helps small businesses build an online presence. I write poetry and study history as it pertains to my genealogy. I am yes-23's website designer and lighter side because I love humor.


14 Responses to “Military Pay raise and do they earn enough?”
  1. Naomi says:

    That is not A1C Bragg’s original letter. It has been changed from the original. He was never in Kabul, and was already out of the service when the current conflict began. For more accurate information, see .

  2. SGT DENSON says:

    I fully agree with the airmen comments, someone give this lady a 80 pund ruck and tell her to live out of it for a couple of weeks, or deploy her for 18 months in dry, hot , and harsh enviroment. Or watch someone next to her die and have to continue with the mission with no hick-ups. Please! Pay wouldnt completely solve the problem it sure a** heck sounds good. She obvisously is out of her mind, We are under paid.

  3. Sgt Denson,

    Thank you for coming in and commenting about this subject. Even though I am not in the military myself I do come from a family of military people. And it is nice to see that even though some said the letter was a altered by the time I got it, it shows us all how the Military members do agree with what it said as I did!

  4. Ernest says:

    Our Military doesn’t get enough thanks from this country as it is now a days. They deserve to get paid more than what they are for what they go through. I want to know why Ms. Williams doesn’t go after Congress and Senate who keep giving themselves pay raises without our approval and live better than our Military. I never served in the Military, not by choice, but I honor and thank all our Military personel and their families for their service and sacrifice. I would like to see Ms. Williams join a group to Afghanistan, but she would probably be all talk and no action, so it will probably never happen.

  5. Ed Thompson says:

    Anyone who thinks the military is overpaid should try it before flapping their lips. Our military men and women give it all just so that illiterate, uneducated/uninformed morons can live the way they do.

  6. Arthur Carroll, Sr. says:

    I would like to know what Ms. Williams Makes Per Year – including ‘perks’.
    I think the lady is out of her mind. I served in the Marine Corp from 1971-1977. I grossed approx. $4,200/YEAR. Being from N.C. I PAID FERERAL AND STATE TAXES. This included PERKS. I was guaranteed 1 meal a day and 3 hours of sleep during a 24 hr. period, and if anybody remembers the ‘C’ rations – One meal I had to eat was as old as I was.
    Semper Fi
    Sgt. A. A. Carroll, Sr

  7. Nancy Proud Army Wife says:

    I am the proud wife of a US Army Soldier. We are now charged for our housing so knock that one off the list and please deduct from our meager pay. I just walked around the multi billion dollar community center that “privatized housing” built for “us”. Beautiful lounge areas with furniture right out of the catalogs. A pool table you have to ask permission to use and the balls for the game are always locked up in the office, which is just as luxurious. They have a gorgeous and well equipped functions room and kitchen, yet we have to reserve it with a deposit if we want to use it. Makes more sense to use someones quarters and back yard in good weather. They want to charge me a deposit for my animal, tell me I have to pick up his biodegradable feces (however, no problem here picking up the poo) , require that I microchip him at my cost and then not allow me to have a backyard fence. There are two of us now, as our children are grown and moved on, so the only housing we are eligible for is a 2 Bedroom 8-plex apartment on the not so well kept side of post. Just last night, the frozen 19 degree air was rushing through the non insulated, more than likely 50 year old windows in our meager apartment. I had to duct tape visqueen to the inside of the window, my husband is currently deployed and I have learned to do a lot of things on my own from carpentry to mechanic work, from budgets to bills…not unlike a single woman would do as I am alone most of the time. None of us here pay the same amount of rent to these people, as it is dependent upon rank as to what your Basic Allowance for Housing is. Example, an E1 receives only 90.00 less than a Sergent with over 10 years in service yet the amount we all receive is far less than the going rate for rent and utilities outside the gate. So if you want to live high on the hog, the idea here is to live as trashy outside the gate as you can to make a few extra bucks in the end which usually goes into your monthly utility bill. So now you live in a not so well run side of town, but its probably dangerous and a high crime area. And, we are still broke.

    We have new housing down the hill, its really some impressive looking stuff. Im not sure who lives there, we sure don’t. And not a lot of people here do, so maybe its just for looks when important people and higher ups roll through the gate. Did you know we have to pay prorated rents to move in to housing on post, did you know that as soon as you sign the contract they start taking those vast amounts of money y’all claim we make? Did you know you can be cited for your animal doing his business but yet the soldier living next door can play his intolerable, loud music and video games all night regardless of time zones. My refrigerator, at one time, was spoiling my food because the fan went out. That was a waisted trip to the Commissary where we get “discounted” food. None of our food choices include generic brands nor to they include any comparable brands in a lesser price bracket. So we pay discounted prices for name brand items, haha what a joke. Did you know that the commissary charges us a fee every time you check out? Yes, the fee is comparable to the tax rate you pay in a civilian store. Sam Good is sounding better everyday!. The fee, well its to keep the commissaries in good shape and clean…. Funny thing is you used to be able to buy a carton of smokes for under way under 20.00. Now ya pay about the same amount, minus the taxes plus the commissary fun fee. Who are they kidding anyway? The experts want us to quit smoking, but you sit alone a few nights in the dark with people who hate your husband shooting at him in another country. See how fast you quit the lousy habit.
    I guess what Im saying is that Ms. Williams has no idea what we go through. Our medical care is not unlike waiting in a welfare line for the lowest bidder, trust your surgeon to remove a lump from your breast and wake up ok? Go ahead Sweety, give her a try.
    What can I say though. Yes the pay is lousy, people always think we make so much money! Break out the calculators guys, come on, give me a break. But this is the career field my husband chose. He is the man I love and his Joes are the guys who will always be welcome on a weekend for a bbq. You may not like us, you may not even want to pay us. Heck, way back when, Joes weren’t even cared about cause they weren’t “issued” a wife so I guess we are doing OK today huh?

    I can’t wait for this year long separation to end, the life is hard and trying but I wouldn’t change it for the world and if you think you are gonna get rid of us by paying us less Ms. Williams, you got another thing coming. We aren’t going anywhere and if I have to pick up two jobs to help my husband make it through something he has committed his life to doing, that is defending your right to make stupid decisions, then so be it.



    A proud Army Wife!

  8. Charlene says:

    Here is a link to what I believe is the correct Cindy Williams who is the” Assistant Director for NATIONAL SECURITY” who feels our Military receives enough pay already:

    In my opinino our Military MEN AND WOMEN who fight for our freedoms and rights should be honored by our Government far more than the Government officials honor themselves. Please pass this link to as many people as you can. This is not the Cindy Williams celebrity many are thinking it is.

  9. Jennifer Franklin says:

    I think the military men & women should want for nothing. They should be living without anything on there mind as well as their families. They fight to protect the very right for Mrs. Williams to voice her opinion. Trust me I am positive that Mrs. Williams would not be able to even stomach what they have to go through on a daily basis. My stepfather is ex-military and let me tell you he does not go through a day without a constant reminder of the friends and enemies that died in close range to him. He went into the military at 18. He had the highest scores in his class. Extremely giving person. He would give the shirt off his back for anyone. He taught us girls (his daughters (3) to take up for a person if you see someone doing wrong. He taught us to never judge a person by their color , looks or religion. When he came out of the war people did not praise him. They shunned him. He went to work at a meat packaging plant to try to take care of all of us. The position was a head manager. He saw cattle being slaughtered and had emotion trauma from seeing his fellow solders shot and killed. He never complained. We as children never knew about all of that. Not until we became women and saw him go through counseling. He would never talk about it to us girls. He would just instill the honorable lessons that he learned………always help one in need………never judge others unless you are sin free……do not judge people on the color of their skin …………….Mrs. Williams I ask you……..would you give the shirt off of your back to another in need? My husband is ex-military. Now we teach our children the same values. We started our own business and my husband saw a homeless man wanting work for food. He picked him up and gave him a place to stay . He gave him work and food. My husband had a terrible accident and we lost everything because he had a head injury. I was pregnant and had to toddlers. My husband didn’t know who I was for almost 3 months. Guess who I continued to take care of……………..My kids of course with the help of the church…………but I would make sure I had enough to take food for the homeless man that my husband had picked up and was trying to help. I ask you Mrs. Williams do you have this kind of heart. Do you understand putting others before yourself. If not I do feel sorry for you………….Please know that these young men & women understand what it is to be selfless……to give everything they have…….maybe even their lives. I can’t imagine saying, thinking or writing an article like the one you had printed in regards to their pay. We own them our lives………………………………

  10. USAF Airman says:

    I would just like to put in a few links that people can look up to draw their own conclusions about this very controversial conversation.

    This link shows the annual income of military members by rank in 2007(this was increased by 3.5% in 2008, 3.9% in 2009, 3.4% in 2010 and 1.4% in 2011):

    This link shows the monthly basic pay of military members in 2011. This is only one part of military annual income. There is also basic allowance for housing and sustenance to consider:

    After looking over this information I encourage everyone to go to the U.S. Census Bureau’s website to see how the private sector is fairing in income.

    By comparing the facts, everyone can conclude that the real median household income in the U.S. has dropped 6.4% since 2007 to $49,445. A married E-4 military member with only a high school education receives $45,000 annually after serving the military honorably for three years. This does not include the free health care that military members have. Each military member can see exactly what they earn annually in their personal statement of military compensation that is given to them every year. This document also lists many of the extra benefits that come with military service. In 2008 the U.S. Census Bureau stated that males with a high school education aged 18-24 made a median income of $26,213 and aged 25-34 they made a median income of $36,742. Those numbers have dropped with the hurting economy.

    Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but it is important to look at the facts before drawing a conclusion.

  11. John Record says:

    Being a retired firefighter I can say that while yes I put my life on the line ,I did NOT enduer HALF the hardship our service men & women do!!!!!!! Being gone for 24 hours a day is in NO WAY CLOSE to Six months!!!!! My family could come to the firehouse and eat with us while on duty To compare us to the military is ridiculos on her part!!!!

  12. Sara says:

    i agree with the airman above… she says that we get money for housing and food and i just wanna point out that only if you are high enough rank to be allowed to live off post or have a family do you get money for housing and where i am stationed now i don’t receive money for food rather they take almost $300 away from me and give me a meal card for a shitty defac that i don’t even eat at so both of those are a case by case basis… also as of right now the budget cuts are getting rid of tuition assistance so we no longer will receive those benefits and i won’t be getting money for college when i get out of the army because i signed up for the student loan repayment program (which the army is 2 years and $40,000 behind on) so before you go saying that we get all these benefits why don’t you tell people the whole story rather than just listing options that could potentially be available to us to make yourself look better.
    oh and 1 more thing with the economy the way it is and the army being overstrength people aren’t really getting enlistment or re enlistment bonus’ so again why don’t you tell the whole truth next time…

  13. Sgt Childers says:

    Okay, being a mech myself, I started my career in the Marine Corps making $14,000 a year as a Towed Artillery Systems Technician. During my first four years in, I met civilian mech’s doing the same job I was with half the hours making nearly eight times what I was making at four years and didn’t have to worry about deployments or cut backs or any other reason to lose their job. Being deployed I made just under $16,000 in an eight month period as an MP, police (only seeing the conditions I worked maybe once or twice in an entire career that I worked everyday) in my home town start out at $31,000 annually with only being required to attend a six week firearms safety course. Working as a diesel mech after I did my first four years I started out at nearly twice the pay as I made on active duty. Five years later I am now serving in the army reserves and working as a facility maintenance technician I make just under $36,000 annually, but that required three years of technical school and I work a standard 40 hours a week.

    If you do not know what the military go’s through in all aspects, don’t bother to comment.

  14. Tammy M says:

    My husband is in the Tennessee National Guard. He has deployed three different times since 9/11. Each time he deployed for a year. His pay increased during deployment times. He signed on for the job. He loves our country. When he deployed out of the country, there wasn’t an amount of money that would have measured up to the emptiness left. The holidays were the worst. I can only liken it to a deep depression. My children suffered the most. When he had a hard time getting used to his regular job, his regular life, he decided to become full time. We get to live with the Guard all the time now. The benefits are poor. They tell you where you can go to doctor. They tell the doctor what they can do for you. We do pay for dental insurance that is the same MetLife policy anyone else can get. Also, I think anyone can get the same type Humana/Tri-Care crappy insurance I have for a pretty low cost.

    Before long, Obama will decrease pay and jobs for military people and insure that people who don’t work have great insurance and can choose the services they receive. So what difference does it really make?

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