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Our GIs Earn Enough - An Airman's Response

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posted on Nov, 9 2009 @ 12:12 PM
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Fellow ATS'rs:

An article in The Washington Post called Our GIs Earn Enough by Cindy Williams was published January 12, 2000. The article can be found here. I realize that this article is old but the subject is timeless and important. Basically, in the article, she denounced a 13% proposed pay raise for the armed services.

A young airman from Hill AFB responded to her article. I received this response via email recently and did not see anything on ATS about it. The email said he sent this to the Washington Post. I could find no evidence of this either way when I looked. However, even if it is fictitious, the points made are valid and obviously written by someone who was/is in the military. It reminded me of my Infantry days.

Here is the letter.

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 it 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 AFNCC




posted on Nov, 9 2009 @ 01:00 PM
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I have a few samll problems with the air mans response.


1. The income he is talking about doesnt include the free health care or free meals, or the free gym membership and the commissary discount that we get. I argee that we do get less than civilian counterparts but understand this: those people that come into the military are usually right out of highschool and arent the best and the brightest. sure we go through school but its the basic kind. civilians have to get degrees and they have to pay for there own healthcare and pay store price's while we get discounts. Please dont let them fool you. we get paid well and what we dont make in dollar amounts we make it up in extras.

2. If you're finding a service man/woman complaining about there money situation thats on them. Instead of blaiming the gov which cuts your checks try balancing your budget and living within your means.



posted on Nov, 9 2009 @ 01:48 PM
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My guess is that complaints about "overpaid" G.I.s come from the conservative crowd that wants everyone to "support" the military. From my experience, that translates into supporting the military POLICIES of the the corporatists, not the expendable PEOPLE.

I've been told outright by some when I was in service that to complain about pay was unpatriotic, as I should take as my reward the warm and fuzzy feeling that I was protecting and serving my country, not that any coprpate types would accept warm and fuzzies as payment for THEIR services.

In my opinion, servicepeople should start at at least the rate of pay a beginning police officer makes, as they are in far more danger and work under far more stressfull conditions in far worse working environments for far longer stretches of time. So why shouldn't an E-1 start at say 30K a year with full bennies?

What does Blackwater pay its mercenaries? Why aren't our G.I.s paid a comparable amount? The health care sucks: just look at the scandal over the last few years involving Walter Reed Hospital's handling of severely wounded soldiers. And remember, there's no overtime: the longest "day" I put in on the flightline was 55 hours or so, in subzero temperatures. We worked through flu when most people would be curled up in bed hating life.

Looking back, it really wasn't worth it. I sacrificed and suffered for a truly ungrateful nation that treated me and all the rest of us with contempt and disrespect while I served them, and threw me on my own resources when done witout so much as a thanks.

Being a veteran, even a decorated veteran, in this country will buy you a cup of coffee if you've got a couple of bucks.

But respect? No.

A job? No.

Thanks? No.

Penny-pinching ingrates who refuse to pay the military what they are worth should be allowed to face the enemies they create on their own.

Disgusting.



posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 04:59 PM
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Thanks for sharing your spam with us. We can never get too much.



posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 05:16 PM
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Originally posted by Lilitu
Thanks for sharing your spam with us. We can never get too much.



How much is your life worth ? How much is his ?


You know what we spend to much on for this war ? Fuel. 400 dollars a gallon? I know there will be an increase, but ? What does that equate to filling up a Humvee ?




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