The Pentagon, not usually known for its frugality, is pleading with Congress to stop spending so much money on the troops.
Through nine years of war, service members have seen a healthy rise in pay and benefits, with most of them now better compensated than workers in the private sector with similar experience and education levels. [emphasis mine]That's the key here: similar experience and education. I need a show of hands from all you civilians out there:
- Have you refueled a B-52 from a KC-135 at 45,000 feet, flying 15 feet apart while pumping thousands of gallons of JP-4 aviation fuel?
- Have you crawled around some tropical shit hole while guys in funny clothing want to kill you, one of your team carrying a 12-gauge to defend against the cobras?
- Have you spent a better part of a year on a temporary duty to a third-world country, not seeing your wife or kids, working 18-hour days to keep things going?
- Have you spent Christmas eve sitting on top of an M-118 track, guarding the F-111s parked behind you?
- Spent a dark night on the plains of South Dakota, wind chill of 80 below, guarding B-52s loaded with nuclear weapons?
- Had to fly to remote bases so low that the sides of the canyons where just off the wing tips?
I looked up my pay scale, and if I was still on active duty, as an E-8 with 26 years, I'd be pulling down about $86,000. And E-8 for you civilians is an Air Force senior master sergeant, Army master sergeant, Navy senior chief, or Marine gunney.
A base commander, normally a full bird colonel, who is responsible for 6,000 personnel and 75 aircraft, makes about a tenth of what a corporate CEO does.
Granted, no one joins the military to get wealthy, but they'd like get compensated so they can have the same standard of living as everyone else when they are not getting shot at.
If you think that is much too pay for this type of experience and education (a lot of us NCOs have college degrees), let me know and why.