Military Pay Rates

When joining the military, it is likely not just because of the military pay that you are committing yourself-with your signature and oath of allegiance-to serve your country for a given amount of time, whether it be two years, four years or more.

Top reasons for joining the military

We would like to think that patriotism is number one on the list of reasons people join the U.S. military. But the fact is that today's armed forces actually do offer decent pay and, more importantly, the opportunity to acquire skills to those who did not quite make the grade to get into college or who simply found higher education to be too expensive.

Patriotism can, at times, be at the top of the list, though. After the attack on America on September 11, 2001, there was a surge of enlistments in all of the branches of the armed forces, with a great number of the enlistees seeking revenge for what had been done to the nation.

Military base pay

Today's members of the armed forces are getting decent pay. In comparison to their civilian counterparts, they receive an almost equivalent salary, in addition to earning the ability to get a free college education after honorably completing their service. Pay ranges from the minimum of $1467.70 per month for an E-1 rank, the grade a service member starts at, to a maximum of $18936.90 per month for a four-star general with more than 40 years of service.

Additional benefits

In addition to the base pay, many service members also qualify for various other benefits, such as housing allowance, which may range from $2187 per month in Maui County, Hawaii for an E-7 with dependents to as little as $1206 per month for the same rank in Wheeling, W. Va. To figure out different locations, use this handy widget.

Those who serve in the military also get hazardous duty pay, flight pay, parachute jumping pay and combat duty pay. Many of these depend on rank and length of service.

In spite of the improvements of remuneration to the enlisted corps over the last few years, especially since the Vietnam War, patriots probably do not join the military to get rich.

However, the pay over the last few years has improved tremendously, not least of all because the powers that be in Congress finally figured out that the cost of training a soldier, marine, airman or sailor has run into the tens of thousands of dollars, while the retention rate because of the low pay was very poor. This has been costing the taxpayers billions of dollars while dumbing down the armed forces by having to lower enlistment standards to fill the ranks.

Today's members of the armed forces are enjoying a similar standard of living as their civilian peers while serving the nation in a very valuable capacity and earning the respect of the community.

Many service members, going back to the end of World War II, have taken advantage of the GI Bill and today's equivalent to make better lives for themselves and their families, while at times possibly making the ultimate sacrifice that is always connected with joining the military or any branch of law enforcement.

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