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Military pay in the USA?

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posted on Mar, 21 2015 @ 04:33 PM
I'm currently writing an article regarding military pay scales in both the U.S. and Canada. While I found it easy to find, down to the dollars and cents, what Canadian servicemen and women are being payed; and, it was simple to find pay scales of enlisted US military members during wars before the Gulf War, I'm stalling completely when it comes to uncovering salaries of military men and women in the US today. I've found a general pay scale for the Navy, but it isn't specific enough.

The article stems from the perception that US military personnel are not making what most people would deem to be a living wage. Are there any current or former military members who can confirm or deny these perceptions? Are you making enough to support yourself? Are you making enough to support a family? Have you purchased a home; or do you utilize military housing?
What happens to your pay when you are deployed?

If anyone has any insights, your voice would be a great advantage towards the factual representation of US military members in my article.

posted on Mar, 21 2015 @ 04:55 PM
a reply to: Atsbhct

Good topic! My concern has always been what they are paid when they are actively in harm's way, in combat. I almost dread knowing..........From what I have seen on limited search, it's not nearly enough.

I'll be interested to see what information you turn up with.
edit on 3/21/2015 by ladyinwaiting because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 21 2015 @ 05:05 PM
2015 Military Pay Scale

Basic pay is across the board, meaning, a E-4 in the Navy with 4 years in makes the same as an E-4 in the Army, Marines, Air Force, etc with the same amount of time in.

Same for Officers and Warrant Officers.

However, there are certain pays that military members receive that are different from different branches.

For example, and enlisted sailor that is serving active duty aboard a US naval warship, receives what we call "Sea Pay", but when transferred to shore duty, looses that Sea Pay.

You also have different pays depending upon if the military member is married or not with dependents. You have Basic Allowance for Quarters and VHA (unless they've changed that since I was in).

Your article is going to be quite complex, because the amount of pay that one receives in the military has a LOT of "depends" on it.

What they do not get is just the Basic Pay in the link above.

Good luck!

ETA - Forgot to say that the BP list in the link is the monthly amount before federal taxes, SS, and any state taxes that are removed (IE Gross Pay)
edit on 3/21/2015 by eriktheawful because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 21 2015 @ 06:38 PM
Wow, thank you! That's a very valuable resource. Thank you for the insight about the benefits and different rates of pay as well.
a reply to: eriktheawful

posted on Mar, 21 2015 @ 06:40 PM
a reply to: ladyinwaiting

It's never enough in a combat situation, that's for sure. Military people who have never seen a war zone, at least here in Canada, are paid a pretty standard wage for whatever it is they do within their station.

posted on Mar, 21 2015 @ 06:53 PM
a reply to: eriktheawful

That's the one I looked at too. Is it incorrect to think the enlisted people on lower pay scales are the ones who see the most combat? The ones who might be viewed somehow as the most "expendable"? I don't disagree that pay scales like "Sea pay" can be lowered upon returning to a less risky venue, but as combat is the most dangerous "job" a person can have, I'd like to believe they are being compensated accordingly, when they are at high risk.

posted on Mar, 22 2015 @ 09:09 AM
Here is the current 2015 pay chart. This is for any branch of the service.
Military pay chart 2015
edit on 3 22 2015 by Ceeker63 because: wrong link

posted on Mar, 22 2015 @ 09:37 AM
a reply to: ladyinwaiting far as enlisted personnel are "cannon fodder", here's some food for thought:

Army/Marines: Enlisted personnel sent out to do battle, with low ranking officers, higher ranking officers tend to be back from the battle directing it.

Air Force: Officers tend to be the ones flying into battle while enlisted personnel tend to be the ones safe back at base working on the aircraft and intelligence, heh.

Navy: When a ship doesn't just take the enlisted personnel with it.

Go Navy! An EQUAL opportunity employer!


I was thinking about the OP's project. OP, keep in mind that there are many, many volumes of books on military pay used by the military to figure out who gets how much pay.

Every military member's situation is not always the same as others. There are so many different things that can affect one's pay.

For example, a few months before the first Persian Gulf War, I was a E-5 in the Navy, married with kids. I was living in an apartment in Charleston, SC where I was stationed on board the USS MacDonough (DDG-39). I'd been in the Navy for 6 years at that point.

I had my Base Pay, Basic Allowance for Quarters (BAQ), Variable Housing Allowance (VHA, which the amount is dependent upon several things, including WHERE you're living), and Sea Pay (which is based on rank and amount of time stationed aboard sea going warships).
Just before we left for the Gulf, My family got into housing, which meant that we no longer had to pay rent, electricity, water, etc. Phone and Cable you have to pay for yourself. When you get into housing, you no longer receive BAQ and VHA.

So my pay went down, but so did my living expenses.

Then off to the Gulf War, while there, I received Combat Pay, which was no longer having to pay Federal Taxes (so that amount varies too). When we got back, I no longer received the Combat Pay of course.

Some months after getting back, I was promoted to E-6, so my pay went up again. However, we decommissioned the ship, and I had to go to Shore Duty (I fought that tooth and nail, because having 7 years at sea under my belt as an E-6 meant I was getting quite a bit of money in my pay check for Sea Pay), and when that happened, I lost my Sea Pay, which for me was like loosing half my pay check.

Was I payed well?

As I rose in rank, and put more time in service, and was able to take advantage of certain situations for my pay, I couldn't complain. It's a salary job, so I was being paid even if I got sick. You earn 2.5 days leave (vacation) every 30 days, so you earn 30 days vacation a year.
If you don't use it, you get it back in pay.

Was I able to take all that vacation? Not all at once, no, but I was able to take vacation here and there (sorry, can't take it while you're in the middle of a 6 month cruise. The ship needs you during that time).

I received full medical of course. So did my dependents (wife and kids). We never had to worry about medical bills.

If I compared how I was paid to my father who was also in the Navy, back say in the 1960s and early 1970s, I can tell you I was paid much better than he was then. But that changed in the middle of the 1970s. Military members started getting paid a lot better then.

Over all I can't complain too much. More pay would have been nice. But considering all the stuff the military did for my family (housing, medical), I really can't sit here and say: They were not paying me enough.

Any time we ran into debt, it was because we were either trying to live above our means, or didn't budget our money right. But my kids never went without.

And my wife didn't work during my naval career.

posted on Mar, 23 2015 @ 02:43 PM
a reply to: eriktheawful

Thank you so much for your input! This is the complete opposite side of most of the anecdotes that I've been told regarding military pay in the US; but, I believe the most comprehensive.

The overwhelming majority of service people who I've spoken with have told me that "they could make more money working at Walmart", or that their pay was no where close to what was needed to support a family. Of course, I have to present this information in my paper without bias, but by your account and a few others, and the pay scales I've collected US service people are getting paid a "living wage".

Like you said, personally I will assume that service people who are in debt or unable to live on salary are maybe over spending or have abnormally large families.

posted on Mar, 23 2015 @ 03:15 PM
a reply to: Atsbhct

You're welcome.

I'm betting most that said they were not getting paid enough were most likely enlisted.

In many ways, military pay reflects civilian pay. Enlisted tend to be non-college graduates and blue collar workers, where as officers have degrees (normally one of the requirements to become a commissioned officer) and in a lot (not all) cases tend to be more like what we call white collar workers.

Again, not always true. You'll find a captain in the Marines crawling through the mud with their weapon along side the enlisted men in his command.

I think what you're going to find is: E-6 and below tend to make less money than what we normally consider "middle class" here in the US.

Personally in my opinion: there is something wrong when we pay people in the millions of dollars to play some athletic game, yet we ask our military members to hand the government a blank check on their lives, and pay them a lot less.

However: our military budget is obscenely huge compared to other countries. In order to pay military personnel more, you'd have to increase that amount. So it's sort of something that I'm torn between on.

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