Today’s military men and women, be they on the land, on the sea or in the air, are not paid close to what they’re worth.  Having spend nearly thirteen years in the Air Force, I know from whence I speak.  I was one of those guys middle-management didn’t mind leaving military service.  I was (probably by today’s standards, a bit “ADHD”) not prone to giving much thought to my decisions and actions, needing only less-than eight more years to retire.
    When I enlisted (June, 1964) the base pay was $78.00/month (E-1, under 3 months).  When discharged (June, 1968) my base pay was $235.50/month (E-4, over 3 years).

*Just to illustrate how screwed up the entire military pay system is, my oldest brother was drafted for the Korean War (in 1951) and earned only THREE DOLLARS LESS ($3) than I did thirteen years later! 



    In 1971 I returned to the Air Force as an E-3 over 4 years with the standard administrative reduction in grade (E-4 down to E-3).  At that time my base pay was $287.40/month.  Even after taking nearly two years ‘off;’ even after the administrative reduction, I netted a PAY RAISE of $41.90/month!!  After two promotions (I wasn’t the overly-concerned-with-promotions, type) and over eight and a half years additional service, my base pay at the end was $800.10/month (E-5 over 12 years).

As a comparison (with most recent pay charts), an E-5 equates to a ‘GS-5’ plus any “Step” increases.
E-5 (over 12 years): $37,128/year ($3,094.00/month)
GS-5 (Step 6 [12 years]):  $32,325/year


    I already know what you’re gonna say….
look, the military guy makes almost $5,000/year over the civilian…”
Your closed view of the compensation comparison indicates a military member’s exposure to intense-and-ongoing stress levels unheard of in the civilian population, PLUS the realization that ‘lead-poisoning (catching a bullet/shrapnel)’ AND PREMATURE DEATH is not worthy of compensation! 
    In closing I have to say that these military men and women are due a heluva raise in base pay has well as hazardous/special pay.  Currently, the Congress ( who are OVER COMPENSATED at $174,000+++/year) has determined that “gettin’ shot at is ONLY WORTH $225.00/month in Hostile Fire Pay!!There’s no amount of money that can compensate a family for their loved one’s death, severe injury!  What I might suggest:

  • 1.  Upon receiving combat orders, the military member automatically receives a one-million dollar insurance policy against death AND serious injury~WITH NO EXCLUSIONS~at no expense, and
  • 2.  Hostile Fire Pay must be increased commensurate to the danger involved.  It would not be out-of-line to raise this allowance ten-times, to $2,500.00/month, and
  • 3.  Federal Service pay (GS) is adjusted for the cost-of-living in various areas of service.  Examples:
  • Buffalo, N.Y., area: +16.98%
  • Chicago, Il., area: +25.10%
  • Dallas-Ft Worth, Tx., area: +20.67
  • Denver, Co., area: +22.52%
  • Houston, Tx., area: +28.71%
  • LA, Riverside, Ca., area: +27.16%
  • New York, N.Y., area: +28.72%
  • Portland, Or., area: +20.35%
  • and on, and on….
  • The family housing allowance must be raised to a level equal to the rentals in the location of their residence or use the ‘GS’ COLA percentages.

There should be practically no reservation by the Congress in adequately compensating the active-duty military man and woman in harm’s way.
That’s all I got.
Til Nex’Time….
Justin Case
Reference “Lie-Barry:” [Charts for all referenced military pay rates]
[Comparison between Civil Service, Military Pay Grades]
[Civil Service (GS) pay and COLA Tables]