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Report Urges More Pay for Junior Troops
There are a few things about combat service that tend to irk me.
The first is the award system. I’ve always found it quite odd that the people who serve within the relatively safe confines of the FOB receive Bronze Star Medals while those pounding the pavement and humping the hills are lucky to leave with Army Commendation Medals.
The second is combat pay. Soldiers in Kuwait and Kyrgyzstan supporting the mission in Afghanistan get the same combat pay as the guys navigating IEDs and small arms fire on the front lines. Those same guys (like me during my last deployment) – whose only daily frustration is whether the dining facility has enough lobster tail on Friday night or protein powder for the morning Green Beans shake – get paid the same amount as the guys sitting out at an observation post pulling 4-6 hour guard shifts wondering if they’ll be ambushed at first light.
Along those same lines is how rank plays into all of this. For the most part, you won’t find a Master Sergeant or above or Major or above out there on daily patrols putting themselves out there as targets. Our jobs are mainly support for those that are. So, why should we get the same amount of money as the 18-year Private carrying 80 pounds of gear across ten kilometers of uneven terrain rooting out the terrorists?
The most recent Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation addresses that:
“There is little correlation between exposure to danger and compensation benefits,” concluded the report released Thursday, the 11th in a series.
Congress and the Pentagon should consider a series of measures to “strengthen the relationship between combat and compensation so that combat compensation more appropriately rewards those service members who face the greatest possibility of being injured or losing their lives as a result of hostile action.”
I think this is a great idea, but one that comes much too late seeing as how we’re ending combat operations. Better late than never to recognize those that make the biggest sacrifice.