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News Army Pay

  1. Sep 20, 2005 #1


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    I was very surprised to see on the BBCs website that privates in the US marines only get paid $1,023 per month. Is this a typo or are America's fighting elite really paid so badly?
    Anyone know what the comparable rate is for a private in the British marines?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 20, 2005 #2


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    There is base pay, and that amount is probably correct for a private. Then there are allowances, for food, clothing, housing, combat, travel, . . . . And they provide medical care, which is fine unless one is severely injured. Just talk to any severely combat vet.

    Basically, Seargents make something like in the high $20- to low $30- thousands. Now compare this to the $75-100 thousand or so that the civilian contractors are making, and add to that the 'overhead' that companies like Halliburton are charging the US government, and that is why the war in Iraq is costing the US taxpayers so much.
  4. Sep 20, 2005 #3


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    I found a pay chart for the British army and their lowest starting salary is £1,087 or $1,956 per month which is a lot more than the US but is still pretty crap.

    It's a wonder the US military gets any recruits at all for the pay they offer.
  5. Sep 20, 2005 #4


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    You can't just look at base pay, as Astronuc mentioned servicemen get a lot of additional money for food, housing, pay differential based on if they are at home or away. It could be that once everything is considered, the US soldier might actually be getting paid more. Don't look at a single element of "pay" and jump to incorrect conclusions.
  6. Sep 20, 2005 #5
    So you think that is under paid? How much would you spend on someone with no education, 17-18 years old and just out of high school? All of their needs are taken care of....that money is theirs free and clear.

    I had a SSGT that worked for me before I got out...he invested all but 100 dollars from his pay check since he came into the Marine Corps when he was 18 years old and did this until he was about 26-27. After that he just let his investments grow....he was 39 when I met him and was worth over 600k.

    You advance very quickly early on and by end of 8 years most people are making about 32k (real dollars, there are yearly increases to make up for inflation) free and clear....at the end of 20 years you can retire and get a 2200.00 dollar check for the rest of your days.

    Trust me, the military is a good deal if you make it one. These guys might not be getting a grip of money out the starting gate but it is made up for in the long run.

  7. Sep 20, 2005 #6
    Don't forget that the Army will also pay your college tuition, they also pay to train you in whatever it is you'll be doing.
  8. Sep 20, 2005 #7
    That assumes you have enough free time to take classes while your enlisted. I wasn't able to take more than 3 to 6 credits while I was on active duty because I had to work 40 to 50 hours a week.

    The training is kind of crap but the experience you get is more than enough to get you a job in the civilian work force. In fact AT's (aviation electronics technicians) often start with higher pay than an EE out of college.
  9. Sep 20, 2005 #8


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    Well, either that or you go to college after you leave the military.

    I was enlisted in the Navy and I thought the pay was quite good. http://www.military.com/Resources/ResourcesContent/0,13964,49020,00.html [Broken] are the rates.

    As others stated, an E-1 with less than two years will have all of their basic needs provided for them in addition to their base pay. No need to even consider hazard pay, sea pay, GI bill, etc (you aren't eligible for most allowances right away anyway): that's a pretty good deal for a 18 year old straight out of high school.

    If you want to compare it to what you'd consider a "normal" life, move up to an E-4 with 4 years in. Anyone who isn't screwing up royally should be able to attain that (in the Navy, anyway) - and that's $22,500 a year, again, with the military still paying all of your basic needs. At that rank, you're eligible for a housing allowance, which, for me at that rank in Pascagoula, MS, was a little over $600 a month. Now we're up to $30,000 - and that's something easily attainable by a 22 year old with no edcuation beyond high school.

    Enter the Navy with a school lined up (an enlisted specialty) and you can be an E-4 in a year (though you aren't eligible for a housing allowance until E-4 with 4 years or E-5 with 2).
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  10. Sep 20, 2005 #9
    That is what I am doing...but that is completely different. That money is either the college fund or GI bill. What he was talking about is tuition assistance which will pay for your tuition while your on active duty. The National Guard pays 75% I think, of your tuition while your serving.
  11. Sep 20, 2005 #10


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    Ahh, ok - I only had the GI bill and only vaguely remember the tuition assistance. Have you tried getting OCS or something like that? For that, they'll pretty much drop you out of active duty while they pay for your college education.
  12. Sep 20, 2005 #11
    Heh. I got a 75% off my tuition because of Florida's bright futures scholarship. Really easy scholarship too, basicly it only requires a 3.0 GPA, piece of cake.
  13. Sep 20, 2005 #12
    I was thinking of the OCS route but I decided that I didn't want to stop at the end of 4 years so I just completed my last enlistment and started school. The GI bill gets me 1154.00 a month which is not much but my wife works and I have a nice financial aid package so I have been doing pretty good with that. Not to mention I have managed to save up a small chunk so that works too. :smile:
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2005
  14. Sep 20, 2005 #13


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    Don't forget the ROTC. They'll pay for your schooling before you join the military, and you join with a commission. Of course, not every 18 year-old right of high school can do it. You actually have to qualify.
  15. Sep 20, 2005 #14
    holy ****. 75% off for 3.0? I don't qualify for any scholarships in my BC, but I could get that one easy.
  16. Sep 20, 2005 #15
    From what I understand you also get nearly twice the pay you would normally be getting if you're married and about the same amount more if you have a child. There are plenty of military people here in the US that complain that they don't make enough money. Those ones though are the ones that blow all their money as soon as they make it. Too many of the military people I have met as soon as the had a room instead of just a bunk bought themselves an expensive TV, stereo, computer, booze, drugs, ect... Just about any kid who goes into the military is all the sudden eligable for a credit card which is just trouble waiting to happen. So pretty much every military person I have ever met either had their head on straight and was doing quite well for themselves or they were trying to get out of the debt that they had dug themselves into in their first year.
  17. Sep 20, 2005 #16


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    The benefits over and above basic pay seem pretty much in line between the British and US forces so I think a comparison of basic pay or discretionary disposable income is valid.

    I take the point that people who join up for a career can do reasonably well over the medium to long term (if they live long enough) but as the marines are normally the first into any combat zone the pay seems vey small recompense for what is a very dangerous job.
  18. Sep 20, 2005 #17
    When they are in combat and deployed they get paid a hell of a lot more too. Tax free and countless upon countless benefits come along with being in a combat zone. I made about 8k free and clear over a 3 month period at the age of 20 for being on a ship during operation desert fox.

    That low income is very shot lived and does not reflect how much they're making in a combat statues.

    edit: on top of that the state of SD just gave me 500.00 dollars for what I did years ago...
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2005
  19. Sep 20, 2005 #18
    The pay sucks any way you cut it. In 1993, after 8 years in as a Sgt of Marines, I was making $1458/mos before taxes(checked and old pay stub in my record book). In most commands you will have to live in the barracks if you are single unless you can show an outstanding need to live off base, married/dependents. Non-Rates, e-1 through e-3, are almost ALWAYS ordered to live in the barracks if single. NCO's and officers are usually given the priveledge of taking residence either way. As a Sgt at Camp LeJeune I was "asked" to remain in the barracks for guidance/leadership. The rule for Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) was that if you were a Sgt and the barracks were 85% capacity you could get authorized for it to help pay rent and utilities but you had to petition for it. The petition had to go through channels with the approving authority being the board that was in charge of allocating the funds for housing and I got shafted so I had to pay ALL my bills myself, rent/util, etc...yes, I'm still resentful. The barracks on Marine bases are usually substandard. Just imagine the crappiest college dorms you can and they're usually worse, They are always clean but forever in disrepair. If you live in the barracks you get a meal card that allows you to eat in the chowhall for free. All I can say about Marine Corps chow is that it makes a turd, nothing more, nothing less. Each year you are given a piece of paper that tells you how much you "actually" make and it looks pretty awesome because they add in the amount of money it costs to provide health and dental care, housing, meals, and somehow they figure in how much you save by shopping at the Commissary and Post exchange. It's all crap.

    For those of you that are thinking about joining the military, don't. Do you REALLY want a job where you can go to jail and have half your pay taken away for saying the words "FU" to the wrong person?

    As for school, you are usually allowed to as long as it won't interfere with your units operational capability. It is usually pro-rated depending on your rank so, yes, you can get a 75% discount in some cases. There are degree completion programs where your career is basically put on hold while you attend college and then you return for an obligatory amount of time but nothing is guaranteed. You HAVE to sign up for the GI bill, etc, its not GIVEN to you. Fortunately or Unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I was in during the VEAP period which was about as useful as a full diaper. After I got out I found that if you were a Texas citizen when you signed up and were not eligible for other financial aid the the State would pay for 150 hours of college. Great for me because I make too much for a Pell grant. All I pay for is books and parking. All in all, unless you are planning on staying in for 20 and are the gungest of the ho, look elsewhere.

    It's no small reason USMC stands for Uncle Sams Misguided Children, or Unnecessary ***t and Mass Confusion, You(U) Signed the Mf'n Contract, ...the list goes on.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2005
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