Should all Military Retiree Pay Rates be Equal?


There was an interesting article in last week’s Washington Post concerning the unaffordability of the all-volunteer military. Some of what was written was not a surprise:  the current retirement pay beginning at 50 percent for the rest of retired active duty service members lives as well as health care is under scrutiny or already changing.  And as many of us know, the active duty retirement system is a pretty good deal.Which is one reason why this family still moves every two to three years.

How can retiree pay be a money sucking entity, you might ask, when 80 percent of the military never see a penny due to leaving the service before that golden 20 year retirement mark?  Well, with 2.4 million retirees currently in the system, 1.4 million active duty, the need for health care and future benefits including those for dependents can indeed, and will be, a vacuum for the Benjamins.

All that considered, an interesting topic was brought up:  Should benefits be equal for someone who has seen combat vs. someone who has only had an office or stable career in the military with no deployments?

Example: The Marine Corps Band (aka “The President’s Own”). Most of the members, according to the article,  never even attended boot camp. Members of this elite group of musicians are able to live in the D.C. area for pretty much their entire career if they choose. They are eligible to receive the same retiree benefits as someone who has seen at least one deployment. Retention comes into play as well.  Not many guys in the band are punching their military meal-tickets early where other marine corps service members rarely stay in  20 years (little wonder why … war takes a serious toll).

Rest easy, ’cause Washington is on the case. Defense Secretary Panetta called for the assembly of a nine member panel to discuss such things among themselves and give recommendations to congress and the president for modernizing the military retirement system.

But what I want to know are your opinions … do you think there should be a system in place that takes into account the number of times a military member sees combat? Say, a 1-2 percent increase in retirement pay for someone who has deployed  and a 1-2 percent decrease for those who have not. Or maybe all retiree pay in the future begins at 40 percent, with increases of 1-2 percent for each deployment. Or pay stays the same, but a decrease in health care benefits for everyone.

And what of those who want to deploy but keep getting left behind? In an era of troop withdrawals, some Brigades are leaving half their people back home as the rest head to the ‘Stan. Since an individual servicemember is hardly in control of what Big Army decides will be his fate, is it fair to tie his retirement and his family’s future sustainability to a decision on which he doesn’t get the final say?

We can’t come up with a three trillion-dollar coin to fund this, so be creative but also be practical. Instead, a penny for your thoughts — what would you do? The only thing we cannot do is leave it the way it is — at least for those currently in the process of entering the service.

What would you recommend to the panel?

About the Author

Married to her high school sweetheart/AD Air Force man, Heidi was initially reluctant to life as a dependent, finally drank the Kool-Aid, and has since embraced being an active Air Force spouse. With a background in sports medicine, she has no real reason to write other than she enjoys it and likes to get others thinking. Heidi enjoys at-will employment as a substitute teacher, serving as an Arlington Lady, mothering two boys, rehabbing their short sale home purchase, recovering from a case of volunteeritis, correcting her verb tense, and learning more acronyms.
  • Jacey Eckhart

    During a time of war, it is clear that combat troops on the ground have paid a higher price–their death rates are higher, their rates of wounded, ill or injured are higher, even the suicide rate in the Army and the Marine Corps have increased at a greater rate than the Navy or the Air Force. But the majority of those who served on the ground will never retire. So altering the retirement pay doesn’t make sense because it doesn’t affect the combat troops when they need it most.

    • guest

      But in all the intervening years at which we haven’t been at war, the Navy still deploys all the time. Families are still separated, etc. What about those years? Or don’t those sacrifices count? What about all the Navy Corpmen that have died in this conflict? What about all the Individual Augmentee tours, especially those that came right on the back of a regular ship deployment and their families had zero support or contact from the unit to which they were attached?

      • Rick Lipary

        Yes, combat is ONLY when you are under fire! Come up with other terms for PTSS caused by fearing future combat or death in combat, or even loneliness and boredom. But don’t steal the thunder of combat veterans like me! We deployed to places like Vietnam, just as vets from Grenada, the Gulf War, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The difference is that, unlike those on ships that did’nt see actual action, those WAITING to deploy, etc., we actually DID see combat! So, you have deployment AND combat! Clearly, being in imminent and present fear for your life is worth more than not always rational FUTURE fear of combat death or harm to body! Non combatants fear future combat death or harm to body, but the rockets and small arms fire in Vietnam were real and actually happening to me! Again, the possibility of combat death or harm is much greater in that circumstance, and the stress and psychological harm from real conditions like PTSS merits a more extensive benefits package, and higher monthly pension and service connected monthly disability compensation payments!

    • Oh, sure. Because ships never deal with danger, are never fired on, never have accidents. The Cole never happened. Counter-drug ops are never dangerous. Etc.

      So constant deployments year after year for decades are worth less than constant deployments for the last decade because of the nature of the danger. Am I picking up what you’re putting down?

      Of course, we’re discounting the lucky few who’ve ended up with boots on ground (despite their training to fight in non-landlocked situations), yes?

      This whole discussion is silly. Without the contributions of all, the military would not be as strong as it is. Regardless of role, there are demands put on the service member and his/her family. Nobody is any less worthy because s/he remained behind to support the members who were called away.

      • Ancient Mustang
    • Michael

      I agree and disagree with you at the same time. I was Active Army for 4 years. I’m currently with the Air National Guard. I’ve done three tours to the “sand box” one with the Army and two with the Air Force. I can assure you that the reason Army suicide rates are greater than the Air Forces’, is not because they are more exposed to any more action than we are. It’s all a matter of taking care of the troops which the Air Force does very well. I think the Army should get of their high pride and seek help from other branches in dealing with this issue. Can’t speak for the Navy or Marines.

  • cds

    I think the “deployment” concept is just too vague. Not only do we have issues mentioned here, such as people who want to deploy but never get orders, or navy ships who are on patrols whenever they leave port, but there are other duties that people may argue are similar.

    Air Force Missileers “deploy” to fight the nuclear war on a regular basis. Some installations have individuals who are considered “Deployed in place”.

    Plus, we already get financial bonuses each time we deploy in the form of tax breaks and special pays, none of which require us to retire to reap those benefits. I certainly wouldn’t deny the deployment beneits to someone who has deployed, simply because they left after one or two enlistments instead of staying until retirement.

    • stgcs

      CDS, you have hit the mark…service members are already compensated for being in combat zone and deployment does not always mean danger.

  • MsCamo

    Interesting idea, however, what happens if we end up with an extended “peace time” like between the 1970s and the 1990s. Those people will have no opportunity to increase their retirement pay.

    • Jeff

      Extended Peace time! While there was no “war” please don’t forget those that deployed to Bosnia, Panama, Grenada, Congo and Iran and several no-named places! It’s so easy to forget those that died or were injured fighting during “Extended Peace”. Yes I’m one of those and I earned every dime I get each month and the medical care for injuries received during my military career. And BTW there are no MOH or Silver stars or Purple Hearts to go to those that served and or died during “Extended Peace”

      • Brenda

        my husband spent 3 mo. on a “closed base” just before he got out of the Air Nat. guard (he had 38 yrs of AF/Air Nat. Guard) and he took many, many extra trips with the guard that he didn’t have to do. So, just because he didn’t spend a whole lot of time in any war zone, he still put in a lot of time on foreign soil in peace time as well as war time. He put in a lot of time in Panama Canal/Costa Rica & although they were not war zones, he was considered for dangerous tours (drug trafficking) so he also did pull duty in places not considered “safe”. Why should he not (he is dceased) have gotten the pay the same as someone who put in a lot of time during war? He did his time, should be paid for it-he died 9 mo. after drawing his first check.

      • Jay

        “Those people will have no opportunity to increase their retirement pay”.

        Uh, that’s exactly the point. You don’t think this 9 member panel was put in a room to create a mandate do you? No, they have a mandate already, Panetta just told them to come up with a way to get it done. The end state is already decided.

        • Kimball Wilson

          100% correct! We must remember that the military and hence the DOD is here to protect Democracy not to practice Democracy! Orders have been sent and the TOP already knows the end result maybe not the exact details but the end result. This has already been decided and useless to debate because to many people are walking around with their eyes wide shut!!!

    • Bob Kinsler

      There was and is this little group (37,000) on a year tour (or more) in a country that does not yet have a peace treaty from it’s northern neighbor country from the end of the conflict (1954 to present). They are in a combat enviroment and some (who volunteer) actually live within a 1/2 mile of the border with constant trips to the border on a daily basis (if not more). So did we have an extended peace time between 1970 to 1990? Not really for the reason stated above.

      How do I know, I served with that group who volunteered to live within 1/2 mile from the border as its Assistant S1 and PAC Supervisor.

  • jumper

    The military retirement cost is such an absurdly miniscule part of not on only the federal budget but the entitlement payouts in general. But… we’ll be the first to get chopped because we vote conservative in such a large percentage the current ruling party doesn’t bother with trying to “court” us. The money is better spent giving it to people who never have, and never will, contribute anything to our society, but vote the correct way. To breach the pact this country made with its service members who have stuck it out for 20+ of honorable service is disturbing.

    • SSG Ret Hill

      Lets make our Law Makers sever 20 years to get 50 % there full retirement. I’m currently Retired and haven’t had a cost of living increase in 3 years but my taxes still keep going up so i live on less now.

      • MLemons

        I have also said this all along , that they should serve a full 20 years of service, maybe not in the same job as I also agree two terms in any office is enough. But most of them come up through the ranks in local govt, to state and then federal. So if they served a total of 20 years they should only get a max of 50% of their basic income. If they serve less than 20 than sorry, guy/gal, get another job.

    • Joe

      I was thinking the same thing when I read this article. How about we stop sending billions in foreign aid also?


  • Kia

    Twenty years served honorably whether it be a desk or in battle deserves what is PROMISED to the military member when they signed up. However, there are few, if any, other jobs that provide such a retirement (50% of base pay at 20 yrs). This will likely change, but those currently serving will be grandfathered in. Yes all retirees should received medical care. It is not unreasonable to have a small co pay for prescription drugs. All retired troops who were ever injured in any situation in the line of duty ,should be medically cared for, for life.

  • Carolyn

    All retirees deserve equal benefits. If for no other reason than the one you stated, “Since an individual servicemember is hardly in control of what Big Army decides will be his fate, is it fair to tie his retirement and his family’s future sustainability to a decision on which he doesn’t get the final say?” Also, a single military member, may choose to sign-up for deployment after deployment, because they have no family or maybe a service member signs-up for multiple deployments for the tax breaks. There are many reasons that a member can deploy, especially when self-initiated versus directed. Also, as a previous member voiced what about the times we aren’t in combat? I also agree with the sentiment expressed earlier about all those veteran’s who served their time and some even during combat that now can’t find good access to care. Suggestion, how about the Government re-access Disability and look at those people who while on active duty did something like tore-up their knee while skiing and meet the magical criteria for a disability check, so they separate from Active Duty, receive their monthly disability check, receive VA benefits & meds and go on to a Civilian job as a GS-13 working full-time making $85,000 a year with the option for full medical benefits from the government…there is room for improvement there.

  • Kim

    I’m with cds and MsCamo. I know plenty of Soldiers who would like to have deployed, but came in too late and were never PCSed to a unit that deployed. And, right, we’re getting to the end of the current war business, so all of those who serve in a time of peace but still have given their country twenty years of their life wouldn’t have the option of deploying to make the extra percentage through no fault of their own.

  • mongolberry
  • George Mells

    I have about 7 1/2 years active and 5 reserve before being discharged so except for VA benefits I don’t have a dog in the fight. However, I have a niece still recovering from injuries received in Afghanistan. So I believe military retirees and wounded vets are entitled to benefits. But we have to remember that the 20 year retirement point was create quite a while ago when both live span was shorter and medical care less effective. Perhaps a change for future retirees should be a merge of current active and reserve procedures. Unless it’s been changed a reservist with 20 years equivalent service waits until 55 to start getting retirement pay. Perhaps an active 20 could get 20 to 25 percent base until 55 and then bump to full 50 or higher based on years of service. I believe medical coverage should still start with retirement though even that could be adjusted given that the new health care laws will keep retirees from being excluded from civilian medical plans due to prior injury or medical condition. And with a revised system it might just be possible to provide “bonus” percentage for combat service or frequent relocation and sea duty. Of course probably nothing practical or that doesn’t provide advantages to our congressional reps financial backers will be passed.

    • Ned

      Any plan that doesn’t phase in with new recruits is a breach of trust, Any plan that reduces retirement and benefits will hurt recruitment and, by extension, readiness. When the economy eventually improves, what kind of 20-year man do you think you will have left in the force?

    • John Myers

      There has been a change to Reserve retired pay, George. I could not receive my Reserve retirement until I was 60 years of age. That was in 2007. It may have changed since then but I don’t believe so. I had 20 years as active Reserve and 2 good years (50 retirement points earned) in the Individual Ready Reseve.

    • Charlie

      George, the age for a Reservist to draw retirement pay is 60. That is unless the called up for Active duty after 9/11. Thetime was then redused form 60, down the amount of time they served to the max reduction to 58 years old. But I did see on here back in July of this year, where they were trying to get that redone also. The way they wanted it to work was that is you stayed in for 20 years, you then could start drawing 30 years from the start date of you boot camp.I do not know if it would be at a reduced rate either. But would like to see what they had planned, to see how good or bad it would have been. I have not seen anymore info on it since. But if it works out, and comes to a good amount, I think I would like to get it since I will reach my 30 this March. And as for active/reserve time, I maid two cruises, spend 72 straight days off the coast LeBanon, was off the coast of Libya, and in the reserves called up 18 months, and spent 7 months in Bahrain.

  • Jesse

    If the government is concerned about cost then why are they handing out billions every month to dead beat ever widening rear ends that won’t work!!!! Oh I get it. Votes. The takers now outnumber the givers. And also, by demoralizing and shrinking our military, it will unable to come to the aid of the citizens when the commies try to take over!!! The military is sworn to defend the Constitution. Obama’s Homeland Security Force (he said it would be larger and better armed than the military) will only have allegiance to him!So he is doing everything he canto destroy the military!

    • Brenda

      and add to that the 11 + illegals that will be given amnesty & then medical, welfare, housing, SS, etc. and there will b many more getting a lot more than the military & veterans. And on top of that, the politicians REFUSE to accept Obamacare or even Medicare-if it’s good enough for the military/veterans, it should be good enough for them!

    • SFC James J. Butco

      Homeland Security Force better Armed than the Army. Seems to me Adolh Hitler had the same thing called the gestapo. The National Guard is our Homeland Security, or that was its intended purpose, until they found out there wasn’t enough regular Armed Forces to do the job. High wages, are part of the problem, along with single parents, day care, and a mixed bag of other benefits that aren’t necessary to a strong Armed Services. In 1970 I was paid 300+ dollars a month, then I took a discharge and found out my equivelant civilian pay was appro. 15 dollars an hour. This was calculating health care , meals in the mess hall, living in the barracks and of course overtime was averaged. this is all there is to it, wasted monies on housing, family care, nothing but the best provided by the Congressional cronies at the highest cost. Million dollar missiles to take out 10-20 people overpriced equipment, much not even made in the USA because of the cost to the MFR. I could go on forever, but to change the compensation of retirees and how they earn it shouldn’t even come into the powers that be thoughts.

    • Ret AF MSgt

      I agree 100%!!! This bloated debt our government has incurred is not caused by the military budget, it is caused by giving free cell phones, welfare, rent subsidies and free medical to free loading leaches who have not and will not work to support themselves. One only has to look at the woman on the news lately who has given birth to fifteen kids and is jumping up and down screaming that someone had better meet her ‘needs’ because the system put her drug dealing baby daddy in jail thereby depriving her of her ability to feed and care for her kids! That is how absurd this has gotten and like it or not our current president has doubled the number of people on the welfare dole and has plans to increase it even more. I am all for giving my fellow man a hand up. I am fed up with giving them endless handouts only to be told that I must ‘tighten, my belt and have my pay and benefits cut so some worthless, good for nothing slime ball can have a ‘free’ cell phone. This is insanity but a liberals dream!!!

  • John Robbins
  • Ray

    I’m also a retired E-7 and my retirement is less than half of the retirement that is received by the local police officers I currently work with. Just like the military, most worked hard for their 20 years, while some others rode much easier 9-5 desk jobs for most of their careers. Most of their overtime is by choice and significantly increases their take-home pay. Most of my overtime was not by choice and had no effect or increase to my pay. I do know that rising co-pays and nearly non-existent dental care now reduces my retirement in a major financial way that I would never have anticipated 10 years ago. Our military deserves better and promises made need to be promises kept.

    • Hal

      You are right on the money with this. To the taxpayer funding our retirements, what is important is their overall tax rate. If all public servants are held to the same retirement plan as military (50% averaged over three years of base pay) the impact to tax payers would be lessened. In CA cities Firemen are often receive retirement based on their last pay which can be a single month on the books as Bn Chief with extra overtime. With disability this equates to 6-figure retirements. Teachers get 80% after 30 years in No. VA but at least that’s more in line with the military, This is a problem that needs a holistic fix not one that focuses on a small segment of society.

  • LisaSmith80

    Ok so I can understand the idea of why there could be a push for those who saw combat. What I do not understand though is how you can compare experiences. For those of us that struggle with PTSD I cannot comprehend how you would. ell someone what they feel, interpret, or experience is or is not justified. For me I went though a series of horrible events as I was stalked, harassed & threatened while in basic. I ended up being discharged honorably but it was under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Now I realize that’s not the same as watching a bullet just miss you or being. In a vehicle that was hit by an I.e.d. On the otherside of it how can you put those who were affected by the shooting @ Ft. Hood and say they didn’t deserve the same treatment as those who went overseas?
    Ultimately, we are each individuals & those of us who have legitimate medical, and mental health issues & illnesses’. Why should any of us be made to feel any worse than we already do. I feel like crap because when I took the oath I didn’t take those words lightly. I’d rather be out there protecting my friends and family. They could save some money by not giving the money to those that treat it like welfare. Nothing in the world can be perfect and none of us have spent anytime in the other person’s shoes.
    When will the day come that instead of going after those of us who signed the line voluntarily or drafted get treated with respect. Have we forgotten that without the military we wouldn’t be as far as we are, regardless of where each of us served we are all still connected in some ways. I’m personally tired of hearing that our assistance should be taken away or questioned. How about the politicians give up some of their salaries? I mean come on look at what they receive & then look at how they act like spoiled kids that didn’t get picked fast enough for dodge ball. You could spend 2 years in D.C screwing crap up & then end up with better health care & penision than the rest of us. I just think people need to take a look at what their throwing @ the citizens..

  • Karl

    Well maybe the when Military can get theirs streighten out they can then work on the Postal Servie’s retirement streighten out….Ummm that will never happen

  • rdl014

    I think it is funny how so many of you automatically blame Obama when it is the Republicans that are insisting on a reduction in spending. Were you in the military too long and forgot how to think for yourselves? I only have 12 good years toward retirement because of a back injury, but I have over 200 combat missions in VietNam, so how much should I get compared to someone who spent their time in Germany during that time? I also earned the Combat Action Ribbon while a FAC with 2/7 in VietNam so should that get me more than that reservist that was never called up? I have worked over 30 years in the medical field and get NO retirement so why should you get something that civilians do not get now days that the Republicans have gotten rid of most of the unions that used to help out the common people. Maybe those 45 year old “retirees” need to get a civilian job and work until they are 65 to draw their pay like the rest of us do that are paying taxes to support their pay.

    • Don

      Oh woe is me…..

    • Robert Anderson

      I am soon to be a 67 year old veteran and one thing I have learned through those years is that both the Democrats and the Republicans in our Congress and Senate are the ones who control the spending. We have this big deficit because both houses want us to have a deficit. It doesn’t make any difference which party is in the White House because the President doesn’t control the funding of any thing that is spent. All the President can do is propose a spending budget, the Congress and the Senate are the ones who provide the money to spend. They are also the ones who load the budget down with what’s known as PORK BARREL funding. Why are we as Americans sending billions of dollars to rat trap countries who hate our guts and would slit all of our throats if given the chance to do so. My little stump speech!

  • s. mitzner

    my husband served this country and lost lage and has P T S D and some barnd damage just what eals well thay denie him he cant get anny thing for livening in agent orange like outher’s get ,for d0ing the same thing as he has done . and now you wount two take some of his retiremant as wall. and a nouther thing not evary one’s jobes wer the same over thear in wore time so you get your pay amount as a sined to your dotys wer.thats comman secense. love you all boy’s and girls

    • artymgysgt

      I feel for you and your husbands loss, along with all the others who serve and suffer.I don’t think the P.C.big wigs will ever be able to come up with an equiblepay/benefit plan for those who serve in direct combat and those who provide support fron rear echelon areas.

  • Thomas N Beaver SR

    At present a member of congress has 100% free medical coverage and a retirement check if they serve a single day of their term. Why not start there? Where else do you get to decide when and how much of a pay raise you are to get. Only in congress. They ask us all to sacrifice except them! I say LEAD BY EXAMPLE!!!!

  • Harvey’s Gal

    AS a 24-army wife, and now an Agent Orange Widow, I’ll put in my two cents worth. We got what we
    were promised when my husband signed up. The other side of the coin is the fact that I retired from
    Federal Civil Service, and that was accomplished over 40 years in order to get the 20 years to retire.
    Yes, I stayed home while we were overseas and raised my own kids. No better investment could we have made. However, I’m now being penalized by not being able to get much of my husband’s Social
    Security, because of my retirement check. Had i retired from Coca-Cola, I’d not be penalized. So be it.
    I’ll take the good with the bad, but I would also like to see Congress cut their benefits by at least half,
    which I feel would be a show of good faith. They ran up the deficit – so why shouldn’t they help pay it off.
    The G.I. doesn’t have to be first in line for cuts every time Congress overspends.

    • AECP 1964

      You can thank Reagan for not getting a full widow’s portion of Soc Sec. He changed that back in the 1980s.

      • Popie
  • David

    I read somewhere that the military comprises of roughly one percent of the total U.S. population. With that being said only one percent of that one percent will stay in long enough to reach 20 years. Therefore, the retiree benefits should be left alone.

    • Jay-R

      Actually less than 1% of US Citizens will volunteer to protect and defend the Constitution. To have the other 99+% decide our fait is ludicrous and ridiculous.

      An appointed panel is only going to give “their boss” the biased facts, in fear of their job.

      Look what happens to those senior leaders who speak their minds concerning the wars…. Sure they have to obey their orders, but they also need to be able to speak the truth.

  • David
  • SSG J. Dennis

    Come on now we cannot go against each other…. Serving our country is a sacrifice in itself. Some time we don’t have a choice in the MOS selected for us due to test scores but giving of our life to protect our country speaks for itself. There are still a lot of civilians walking around stating they will never go in the military and there is a job for every and anyone in the military. There was an old guard; we both were preparing our resumes during retirement transition, he was a Staff Sergeant; if I could have cried for him I would have. He sat crying stating “what am I suppose to put in my resume that I shoveled horse mess serving my country for the past 20 years.”

  • SSG J. Dennis

    One will fail to realize although certain MOS’s don’t seem important to you, they are important enough to keep one solder in place because it’s near to impossible to get a replacement. Regardless if it’s safeguarding the Tome of the Unknown Soldier, taking care of horses, dogs or playing an instrument in a band all of which are very important in support of the National Capital Region (NCR). What is not fare is to treat the soldiers serving in the NCR any different than they treat all other soldiers supporting our country. The entire military should follow all set military rules and regulations (over weight, physical training, and annual qualification only to name a few). Regardless of how we serve our country all of us should be treated the same.

  • Jim in SOMD

    What is defined as “deployment”? I was in land-based Naval Aviation and we deployed all the time. 36 deployments in my first 3 year tour. They were short, but they were deployed and evryone meant flying in a Naval Aircraft performing the mission. After 3 tours I left Active Duty and spent 18 years in the reserves during a period when they were not calling back reservists, or they did not need my specific talents. Half of those were in a non-paid status. I was there every month, but now that I am ready to collect a retirement, 60 years old, you want to reduce the percentage that I am to receive? There better be a Grandfather clause. They have been taking away from retirees for too long. Start by taking away Congressional benefits. Make them pay for what they get and reduce their pay, significantly. They don’t like it, then resign or stop asking for the job every 2, or 6 years.

    • Monica

      You are right, Congress need to take the cuts for a change. They should pay for their benefits. not only that, but if they don’t come to work and stay awake and pay attention, NO PAY. No one pays me if I don’t show up an work. I am soooo tired f them calling my benefits an “Entitlement” like I should be glad they are giving me MY Social Security, they can kiss my ass, I worked hard and PAID INTO MY retirement, They aren’t giving me anything. They are real quick to give OUR money to people with their hand out that didn’t work for it and to other Countries. Those Countries hate us, Well, let them hate us for FREE. GETTING REAL TIRED OF THIS SHIT.

  • Gloria Walker
  • Gloria Walker
  • Gloria Walker
  • Gloria Walker
  • Jason

    There are a few non-deployable bands in the system… the Jazz Knights at West Point and the Marine Corps Band. These are distinct from the division bands, and you have to be a better player to get into them than the division band system and the Guard bands, both of which are deployable assets with a wartime mission (post security, casevac assistance, traditionally).

    For the non-deployable bands, I suggest we use contractors or technicians, rather than active duty troops.

  • RD Carey

    Its the Marine Corps, not the marine corps.

  • Matt Carey

    I spent twenty-five years (1974-1999) in the Marine Corps and was never in a combat zone. I served where the Commandant told me to and I shouldn’t be penalized by way of my retirement pay for following my orders. Marines in combat zones get combat pay, end of story.

  • SgtMaj USMC Retired

    I retired 14 years ago. When we retire from the military, we only get a percentage of our basic pay (good bye allowances that helped us live). If I were to retire today, my retirement pay would be about 25 % more than I am currently getting. I recently learned that since I live more than 40 miles from a Military Treatment Facility, that my Tricare Prime will be taken from me this October to save the DOD money. I guess being a 26 year Marine Veteran is not enough! The Pentagon and Congress keep screwing the military retirees (and Congress keeps bumping up their own benefits). We military folks are asked to sacrifice a lot…what does Congress sacrifice?

    • Jim

      They sacrifice us! They have broken the financial back of the country and are now looking for scapegoats. Here is a thought: The country is and has been run by “Ivy League” graduates and checking out their performance we should never send any of our young relatives to “Ivy League” schools if we expect them to be moral and have character.

  • Don s

    It’s an all volenteer force folks, we raised our hands to defend what we believed was best for us and the country.
    I ask only that I receive what is due and no more. Money can in no way replace what we gave for this country and we should be aligned with that as veterans every where we should be reaching out to each other . If our needs are not being met then we should seek for representation and recompense .

    Ask not what your country can do for you..stand and be an example for others.

    • Monica

      Excuse me Don, but it was not always a volunteer force. The Vietnam era or example, and by the way they didn’t ask for Agent Orange and the effects they have to live with. My husband has to have Infusions for 2 days each month, and that is just to be able to do daily functions that you take for granted.

  • VegasSmitty

    I have never understood how retired pay can be different for people of the same grade who retire in different years. A retired E-9 is a retired E-9 today as one who retired 20 years ago. Same grade, same retired pay.

    • Shane Leiser

      I have to agree with VegasSmitty. My father retired in 1966, as an AF E9. When I retired in 2003 as an AF E7, I was earning approx $300.00 more per month than he did. My brother also retired in 2003 as an E-6, and HE was making more than our father. While it made for humorus banter when he got together, it hardly seemed fair……


    “No man’s life, liberty or fortune is safe while our legislature is in session.” – Benjamin Franklin


    Ridiculous question. Aside from the tiny unit of bandsmen that are recruited specifically for the band, name any MOS that isn’t subject to difficult work at unpredictable times. I remember four infantry Marines who used their first reenlistment option to switch to aviation and after a couple of years were wishing they hadn’t. They thought of course that the aviation Pogues had bankers hours and no sweat jobs. Then they found out that they routinely worked 12 hour days ashore and 14 or more seven days a week when deployed which was at least 50% of the time. Between green (Marine deployments) time and blue time (deployments aboard ship) they were never home. Gone were the early fridays when not in the field, gone were the Company Gunny’s training schedule with early days, replaced by longer hours, more actual work and more. Each MOS has its good and bad, easy and hard and none are exempt from following orders when given or short and no notice deployments, PCS orders, recruiting duty (sucks) and more.

    Leave the congress out of it, the only thing they can do is screw it up. We are going to have a long period without wars and as always, things cycle in and out, things change. Let the military manage their own, civilians and politicians can only much it up for all.

  • BigEd

    All I can say is the Base/Post/Camp Hospital should be for active duty folks and their dependents. Retirees should only use it if the distance to a Vet center is to far to travel and 60 miles is not to far to travel. Also, everything depends upon the illness or injury. We use the local services because it helps to create jobs for people. The more people working the more taxes being paid. I earned what I receive, it’s too bad that some people abuse the system and receive what they shouldn’t, which makes it bad for others that deserve it.
    Just my opinion mind you.

  • Guest

    Take a look at the retired pay scale for a Congressman/woman, Minority/Majority Leader, or Speaker of the House!!!! Readjust that FIRST before taking another privledge or benefit away from a servicemember!

    • Monica

      ABSOLUTLY RIGHT, they are GREEDY. Someone needs to put them in their place

  • Black9

    The higher the rank, the higher the responsibilities, you cannot have equal retirement or pay, when most are off duty, those with responsibilities are still working, the system have always been good for those who served before, I lived off $78.00 per month. but as I was promoted my pay went up, There can never be a equal pay scale, the pay in the pay grades are equal but if you have served more time your pay will reflect it.

  • Retired SMSgt

    DoD (aka DefSec Panetta) admitted in Congressional testimony that DoD hasn’t the slightest idea where all its money goes. A splendid example: Remember a few months back when they wanted to raise Tricare premiums because “the premiums weren’t paying enough to support the program” and turned around and asked for permission to borrow from the Tricare program to make up deficits in other programs? Another item of interest: DoD has NEVER been audited! Perhaps if DoD would clean up its fiscal house, they would find more than enough money to support manpower programs like retirement and health benefits!

  • Al T

    As a retired military member of the Vietnam time period I question if any of our elected government leaders really understand what a military member goes through today. What percent do you really think will make the military a career. Weather combat or non combat one has served 20 years of blood, sweat and tears to EARN a retirement. Enlisted or Officer one pays a price for a military retirement. The very thought of different pay rates for retired members is insulting to career members. It shows no respect for what we have gone through for service to this country.

  • rsdw45

    Here they are worried about military retirement, at least we had to spend 20 years to get it. WHY not start looking at the politicians the way they get theirs. All they do is sit behind a desk and screw the citizens of our country.

  • ChuckI

    I am a Army Retiree. As I understand the system today and in the past on about 6% of people who enter the force stay to collect a retirement. That is grossly unfair to both the individual and the Service, it is not always at the Service members option to leave the service before retirement. The other option is to have TSP or 401K type system that allows individual to do X years and then leave the service and can allow the money to grow and collect at 59.5 or some year in the future. The services are having an interesting problem now that they are having an older group of people entering, the problem is that because of the physical demands many are living the service with service connected disabilities. How do you link the disability system and the retirement system. Personally I believe that the VA medical needs to go away and each service member completing 6 years of service or being disable should be enrolled in TRICARE with the option to purchase his family into the program. The VA medical money would go to TRICARE.

  • Willy

    Make retirement pay a flat pay rate accross the board based on total # of years served between 20 & 30 years of service. A Colonel with 25 years gets paid the same amount as an MSG with 25 years. Or a flat rate for enlisted grades and a flat rate for officer grades. Give additional pay for awards earned in combat such as the silver star, bronze star, purple heart , Medcal of Honor etc…. That would reduce the budget but rewarding those who earned certain war time medals.

  • Ben Dover

    At the very least IMO, every veteran who was seriously wounded in war (all wars and conflicts) and is disabled because of it totally deserves free health care for life and the best health care that is available in this country as well. I was not one of those Heroes but that is where my heart and mind lays.

  • Gary l. Guy
  • Jim

    My wife worked for state civil service in a state that is at near the bottom of all states for income, opportunity and other advantages. She draws more in retirement than I do and was an E-7 with over 20 years active. So this nonsense about the military retirement benefits being overly generous is just political hype. Check out the auto company retirement plans and really check out the congressional retirement plan. Talk about leeches!

  • Jimmy Freeman

    Do you know anyone that can help a disabled veteran o the USAF? I have been medically retired with 19 years of service and the Air Force just dropped kicked me out with no pay. They told me the VA will take care of me; but one attorney told me that I should receive 3 checks: one from the VA, one from the USAF and the other from Social Security. The military gave the Retirement with an indefinate date military retiree card, but no military pay. I am 100 percent disable, not by war but by the USAF. I spent a year of a coma, I went 4 brain surgeries and coded twice under the knife. No attorneys will touch the military or even think about suing for my pay. If you have an information, please contact me below:

  • ArmyNightingale

    Retired pay: the system can save bucks by having all retiree’s wait to collect retirement when they reach 59 1/2. What other retirement system starts to shell out entitlements after 20 years no matter what the age?

    I was in the Army for 30 years (6 active/24 reserve)… Could I have stayed in all 20 years active? Probably not due to life commitments. Did I have friends who did stay the 20? Yes and because they did stay 20 they got great supervising jobs with the VA once they got out… The VA counted their 20 years towards retiring from the VA and they also started picking up their retirement checks the month after they got off active duty… Would they continue another 10 years in the reserve? No, because their retirement pay would then be held off until they were 60. So the reserves couldn’t tap their military expertise, but another agency could.

  • Mike

    You all voted for him…

    if military retirement and medical are up for reductions for cost, then what about senators and congressmen/women’s retirement and medical. there are so many more area’s of waste in Government.. It is the same thing every time. we need to change the way we look at these cuts..we need to cut other things first if at all possible. these people in charge are lazy there not wanting to really do the work they just want to cut the easiest things , And this is the way our elected officials work. lazy and they all should all be fired for not doing there jobs.We must do things different and we must cut all waste before we cut Benefits to military and Senior is the only right thing too do…

  • Bill Fern

    I think that everyone who served honorably should receive the same retirement benefits. But what does need to change is those military personnel who are in career fields that allow them to stay at one location for most of their career and not deploy. They need to experience what a real military career is all about. I know that they are afforded better promotion opportunities because there are less eligible and easier to be promoted. They receive higher awards for simply tooting a horn. All military members are suppose to be combat ready. If they can’t do that then out of the service they go. Today, it’s a matter of stacking priorities and funding. Our job in the military is to train for war and all contingencies. This subject has always been a contention of contraversy.

  • Joe

    There are so many other options available to saving tax dollars that haven’t been implemented yet. How about 1). pro-rating combat zone tax exclusion benefits. If an aircrew fly over an edge of Saudi airspace on their way to Qatar credit them with one 1/30th of a month tax free rather than a full month. Give the full month to that young deployed Soldier who sleeps behind sandbags every day. 2). Reduce the variety of KBR meals. When I was in Afghanistan no one looked forward to Friday night steak, lobster and ice cream. It was more like shoe leather and rubber shell fish. Most preferred basic fare. 3). Withhold highway funds from states that do not cap their state (and county) public servant rates at the rate Service members are under (high-3 of base pay, without overtime factored in). Is this POM dust? maybe, but why go after military retirement when you haven’t made an honest attempt at other areas.

  • John

    Develop a new Defense Budget based on the needs of the Country without politics and pork-barrel projects. Fund troops and reirees fully and, if you need money, cut unnecessary big-iron like ICBM missiles and Ballistic Missile Submarines. Reduce the numbers of ridiculously expensive aircraft you’re buying. Get rid of the branch-politics that influence budget levels and, most importantly, reverse the long-standing positive reinforcement for fiscal responsibility throughout Government. Reward managers for spendling less and cutting staff rather than rewarding them for building empires and increasing budgets!

  • Jimenez
  • Jimenez
  • Gary

    I have watched the erosion of our benifits over the years and think our government has really took it to the Vet. I started my career with a deployment to Bien Hoa South Viet Nam i 1971. Then many other stops along the way. I deployed with SBCT-1 when they deployed in 2004. Seems to me that our government has not kept their promisses at all. They keep cutting and there will be a need for the draft. Pay will suck, you will be able to get better benifits working for Kmart. No one will want to join.

  • SSG 42R

    This article singles out military musicians while omitting the fact that most military musicians are not in the Special Bands in the DC area. They are at Division Headquarters all over the world. Ask the Bandsmen at Hood or Benning or Drum or Riley how many deployments they have been on. Most would tell you at least one and some as many as four. Everyone has a job and they all take their turn serving in one way or another.

  • Mike

    The Great Leader and his elves are looking for another way to fund HealtCare is looking to the military to be the scape goat. Why does the president even get a retirement? Why do congressman and senators even get a retirement after serving one term in congress? It’s amazing you’re all missing the point, we have done something for our country and offered our lives up to protect and defend the constitution! What has the Great Leader and his elves sacrificed to preserve and defend the constitution? And either house of congress for that matter. Yes we deserve no healthcare so illegals and leaches who’ve done nothing for the country except be a drag on society can benefit from our sacrifices. If you’re you need to really think about not staying on. Let these leaches along with the Great Leader repalce us and sacrifice as we have before they use us as the scape goat to fix the inept policies and laws they’ve enacted.

  • jon R

    ok, what some of you have forgotten is, if you enlisted, I said ENLISTED, since 1981, NO ONE gets the old 50% for 20 years and 75% for 30 years of base pay, for retirement pay. During a few years from 1981 it went to the HIGH THREE pay system, where they averaged your base pay from your last 3 years on active duty BASE PAY (I know this because im one of them). Not the last year you were in, but an AVERAGE of those last 3 years, and 50% of that. Then it changed again in late 80s/early 90s, and added up to like 40% of base and so on, till now i think they get like 35% of base pay for 20 years (yeah, Im exagerating a bit). The fact is, that the above mentioned article is giving incorrect/missing information about retirement pay.

  • Henry

    lets cut out the opinion where the bulk of the budget goes..example military used to have their own cooks and security…now they pay a contractor many times the money what a soldier would have gotten paid and you end up with a huge waste of money …so we cut out this mess .then everyone in the military that serves their time or is combat retired can both have their retirement and health care just fine! lets stop fighting among ourselves for the scraps and work together to find real solutions!!

  • Dsrtknight

    The distinction between ‘combat’ and non-combat is less relevant than Active versus ‘Reserve.’ Every time we try to fix the active retirement, we risk retention. Redux caused problems and had to be rescinded and I suspect any new change will result in the same challenges. Strangely enough, despite the great disparity between AC and RC retirements, retention in the Reserve and National Guard is stable. So, maybe it is time to re-think AC versus RC. If we treat AC as a tour of between 1 day and 20 years, instead of a separate entity, then we could have every member of the military enter as a member of the Reserves and serve tours of active duty. The service member remains on active duty as long as their tours are extended. If there is a reduction in active component forces, then they transfer back to the reserves (no separation pay and no early retirement ). The RC retirement plan would change to an age 55 plan with a reduction in age of 1 day for every 2 served on active duty and no earlier than age 50. So, everyone joining the military has a clear expectation that retirement will happen no earlier than age 50 but no later than age 55. They are guaranteed no long career on active duty, can attend college as a member of the Reserves or National Guard (instead of on America’s dime while on Active Duty) and a career outside of the military (hopefully, reducing the challenges of transitioning from military life). This will create a retention challenge in the Active Component but the RC members have been back filling them for so long, the only difference between components are the disparities in benefits (retirement, travel, housing, etc.)

  • moltman

    Mr. Panetta and the panel of 9 should immediately respond to any queries about “modernizing” the military payroll with a very simple reply. That reply is…When congress passes legislation that states the following: There will be no changes to the military retirement system until the following conditions are met: 1. NO Official of the federal government (elected or appointed) shall draw more than 20% of his/her final pay(averaged over final 3yrs of service), as retirement pay. 2. NO official of the federal government (elected or appointed) shall qualify for retirement pay until they have served 20 continuous years and 1day. 3. ALL officials of the federal government (elected or appointed) shall receive ALL their health care (while in office) from the same federal programs currently in use by the Department of Defense, and all dependents of those same officials will be treated as if they were dependents of military personnel, to wit: the elected official shall pay copays, etc. blah, blah blah…when they change how they are treated, then they can begin to “think” about how those of who have served should be treated.

  • Lawrence Nall

    Retirement pay should not be determined by whether a member ever served in Combat. Simply serving for twenty years or more should entitle every service member the same retirement based on rank and years of service. As it is, combat personnel get extra pay and tax benefits as well as awards and commendations that place them above non combatants when competing for advancement. If a service member receives physical or psychological damage during combat then the VA grants disability and at a higher rate than non combatants. A more pertinent question should be Should every retiree receive the same retirement pay if Rank and years of service are the same. I say yes. Why should someone who retired when pay was low receive so much less than current retirees when pay is at an all time high? Especially since retiree raises are traditionally less than active duty further lengthening the gap between current retirees and future ones. And let’s be honest, 50% is a misnomer, as much of the pay a service member is in the form of allowances that generally make up about one third of active duty compensation, the public continues to have a misconception about military retirement pay.

  • accskp

    So don’t pay it. Reduce pay, reduce medical benefits, reduce retirements. There are consequences to these actions. The people of this country can make those decisions. The people of this country will have to live with the consequences. But please if these reductions are taken, please stop saying you support our troops.

  • 1st Sgt L K Johnson

    How about cutting retirement pay for those do nothing SOB’s & DOB’s in congress. As always the old firstsoldier.

  • Ereilad

    From the time every service member signs up… till the day of discharge he or she follows orders. They have limited choices, if any, as to what their assignments are. At any time they could be ordered into combat and perhaps not survive or be injured. I just can’t see a system that could fairly judge the worth of each individuals service.

  • John
  • H. Johnson

    Being a Retired Marine of 22yrs. I agree their should be a new system in place for those whom just serve and never really attend boot camp. But for those whom attend Boot camp and serve in an active duty status with whatever unit even if they never deploy should get the same pay in retirement. You serve with the knoeledge that you may at sometime get called up, The Pressidents own will never get called up to deploy to a hostile enviroment or just deploy aboard a ship.

  • BUC(SCW/SS) ret

    Simple solution to this problem: Make all present and past elected officals use the same retirement system and health care systems that active and reserve military members use and the problem will be fixed in a single session. 21 years of service and I may be lucky to bring in $1500 a month. I will be paying nearly $600 a month for medical benefits (this was supposed to be free when I joined). Congress gets $100,000 and free medical – for what? not balancing the budget on time?

  • Mike

    Just a pipe dream perhaps….how about a full Federal and State exempt tax status for military retired for starters. Then let’s talk about reduced retirement pay.

  • Ted A Parks
  • bill

    need to get rid of all those in our government that are treating its military retiree and dependents without due respect for service render. especially those like McCain.

  • Ted A Parks
  • G. Jeranka

    Never heard of a band member receiving combat pay. Correct me if I am wrong, but those that entered combat were paid combat pay (not enough) and receive special benefits after leaving service. If a member of the military makes the rank, stays the course of 20 plus years they should be paid in retirement accordingly. Promotions are and should be allotted percentage wise for those fields that conduct the core of the military service or where the service needs for retention. So those in the supporting roles are already receiving fewer promotions than the core service. I say if you dedicate your life to a military service, forgoing a civilian life style then you have earned your retirement.

  • Gordon

    As far as the Marine Band goes they never see combat or even hard training to prepare themselves on readiness. Since they never even went to Basic Training or MOS Training then I fell like they should be civilian GS positions or perhaps even contract ed Eoither way they should not be qualified for the same benifits as deployed soldiers. They did not pay all the sacrifices as others so they should not reap the benefits.

  • J T Colvin

    It is critical that this country maintain the strongest military in the world. Our security as a nation depends upon it. But, in order to maintain such a force, it requires a vast array of skills. And, military service is a young persons game. We need people who are in there most productive years. Some people spend years taining for the most rigous military combat specialty but never see combat. Others never expect to be in combat but suddenly find themselves having to fight.

    If this nation needs the type of force we are blessed with, it should gladly pay for it.

  • Dan

    Rather than look at a total restructure, which by the way, there would be no fair way to do. Lets start at an easy point and then work forward if need be. ALL and I mean ALL including post office and congress the application of retirement should be applied in the same as many businesses. You must work for s certain period of time to be invested in the retirement program. Once invested you could not take a dime of retirement money before age 55 than it would be on a sliding scale up to full retirement age set by the program say 62. This would save millions. Once invested if you retired from the service with say 10 yrs. active duty, you would be able at your retirement age eligibility be able to draw some sort of pension although it would be say 1/2 of what a 20 yr. retiree would draw. Most retiring from the service with 20 or 30 yrs. go on to work full time till retiring at ages listed by social security. Of course who knows how long that will be around with its high maintenance costs and all the exceptions it has built-in. (another story) Medical disability resulting from military service should be dealt with totally separate from retirement and have nothing to do with retirement.

  • mmcs

    if you do the time you are entitled to the dime.

  • EQCM

    We all earned our retirement, regardless of where we served. When a person retires the funding for the retirement should be transfered to the Department of Treasury, thus removing the retiree from the DOD budget.

  • Clear View
  • Marine
  • DBW

    Don’t just point out the US Marine Band! There is the US Marine Drum & Bugle Corps whose members do attend boot camp and then report straight to the D&B and can often spend nearly their entire career there. Then there is the US Navy Band and the US Army Band and don’t forget the US Army Field Band as members can join them in much the same manner as the Marine Band and Marine Drum & Bugle Corps and can spend their entire careers in those bands.

    There are also a good number in all the services who serve only in the Pentagon, or special state side commands their entire careers and yet end up with a chest full of medals to boot!

  • George Mells

    A little off the subject but people please use SPELL CHECK! I have never read such poorly prepared comments. If this is typical of the correspondence our veteran community can produce it is no wonder that our elected officials feel they can ignore us. This post by s. mitzner is an example:

    my husband served this country and lost lage and has P T S D and some barnd damage just what eals well thay denie him he cant get anny thing for livening in agent orange like outher’s get ,for d0ing the same thing as he has done . and now you wount two take some of his retiremant as wall. and a nouther thing not evary one’s jobes wer the same over thear in wore time so you get your pay amount as a sined to your dotys wer.thats comman secense. love you all boy’s and girls

    Now to correct or clarify some of my earlier thoughts. I was not aware of the change to the reserve retirement system taking the age from 55 to 60 but not surprised. I also was not suggesting any major change to those currently serving. But just like social security is changing with the older life expectancy I think military retirement (and civil service programs) will have to follow. And we will never have fairness while the corporate culture permits the CEO to leave after a couple years with millions in pension and benefits and the thirty year guy is lucky to get any kind of pension.

  • Being retired since 1998, and serving since 1968, I have seen many changes. Some good and some not so good. One thing that never changes is the lines and the waiting at military hospitals. For anyone. Yes priority is given to active duty, but even then it’s a wait. Face it, it’s a fact of life. Living over 100 miles from a military hospital, and 65 miles from the nearest medical facility, I and my spouse rely on tri-care. Prime is not an option. We chose to live here and pay for it. With the cuts to our care, and rising costs of deductibles a retirement check does not go very far. Now with further cuts being discussed, we as retirees are really taking a beating. It’s my opinion our elected officials forgot if it wasn’t for the sacrifices WE made, they would not have the freedom to mess with our benefits the way they are. They should be reminded every day, without the military, past and present, who gave them the opportunity to “serve” the people . Without “us” they would not have the luxuries they have taken for granted. Which includes retirement and free medical for life. AND THEY ARE TURNING THEIR BACKS ON US. Go Figure….

  • Caz

    YAAAAAAAAA……. 1st Sgt……. and you REAAALY have to understand my humor……. I’m ret’d USMC MSgt….. never cared for the admin side…… pack yer happy azz up & get on ……………. I thought I was gonna have to scream…… you said everything I needed to say…………

  • Poorwidow

    I am a military widow and my husband passed away after 14 years of active duty. I do not feel that I should be punished for GOD’S work. We were planning on staying the full 20 years as we both loved it, even when he had a 13 month unaccompanied tour to Korea. That was no fun but that is where the Air Force sent him and we had to deal with it. How would you handle this one?

    • Glen

      Unfortunately, we are all “punished” for God’s work. Whether it is a career cut short, the loss of a loved one or a tornado destroying our home. I had to go to college to learn life is not fair. Hopefully you are smarter than me.

    • Heidi

      I am so sorry about your loss and the loss of a future with your husband.

  • SOG1

    Why not just give each military person retiring a cup of hemlock at their retirement, and then all the current “warriors” can enjoy all the things that they feel only they have earned. Until they retire.

  • SwabJockey

    I agree with Mr. Caywood’s comments up at the top of the comment list. Look to other areas to cut pay and/or benefits. All us volunteer elistees joined to “protect and defend”, and when we did certain bennies were pointedly stated would be ours if & when we retired. There are NO other government employees who are on call 24/7 like the all volunteer force, and if some supposedly are, they are collecting time & 1/2 for same. Gut the “do nothing” congress and all the czars and assistant agency flunkies first.

  • Glen Gassman

    ANYWHO, enough about Melissa. IRT graduated levels for military retirement-It seems like a good option to reign in spending. It could be on a point system similar to the Reserves. When you do 20 years, you get $X (according to paygrade). If you’ve deployed (90/180/365+ days), you get points. If you do more than 20 years, you get more points. Warfare/Combat/Efficiency designations=more points. It would just be a matter of how many points to assign to the various service accolades. I can’t see ANYONE doing 20 years and never deploying if they wanted to. An entitlement mindset is going to destroy this nation, so we all will need to tighten the belt a notch. Having been retired for 6 years, my belt has plenty of notches to tighten. God Bless the USA and God Bless Ironman! MOLON LABE!

  • Tom Butterton

    I am aware of the pay an entitlements that politicians have voted themselves. I also know they don’t participate in a retirement system that leaves much to be desired. They are consider them selves so special that they don’t participate in “Obama care” as the rest of us will be mandated to do. So, if we are going to “gut” any programs I would say all political entitlements be first.

  • bdowns

    There has to be a grandfather clause in any new retirement system that the military adopts. I served for over 22 years and the contract that kept me reenlisting all those years was the promise of the retirement I would receive. To renege on that promise now would start a rash of lawsuits that would bog down the courts for decades. Another problem with any new retirement system in the military is the recruiting and retention programs that will surely suffer if the current system is scrapped. The domino affect of this would lead to another form of military draft as the strength of the forces are reduced and eventaully fall below levels that hurt military readiness. To maintain an “all volunteer force” the people of this countr need to understand that it will be expensive. Otherwise, it will be 1960’s all over again with the campus protests and draftees running to Canda to escape the draft.

  • petersow
  • OICU812
  • OICU812
  • Linda Wilson

    Being a retired air force TSgt for 16 years this year they need to leave the retirement system alone. I saw it change while i was in. If a member does not deploy that does not mena they are not as important as the person that went. More than likely the person who deployed will have PTSD upon his arrival back from war and get compensated for that while the one who stayed behind just gets his normal retirement. Everyone has an important job in the military. I begged to go to the Persian Gulf war when it kicked off my commander refused to let his 3 women in the squadron go. “I do not believe women should go to war.” Boy he would have to eat his words today. You do twenty or more everyone should get the same percentage.

  • Robert Mizwa

    Trackman/treadhead I served in Viet Nam as a tank platoon leader then In OIF in a “rear area”job-only got shot at once by an AK 47 and dodged several mortar rounds and rockets. I believe we were reimbursed with hazardous duty pay (“combat pay”) while in these areas. Leave it be, but maybe extend the retirement age, like they are going to have to do with Social Security-we are all living longer than when all of these programs were initiated.

  • g. trent

    I am a army reservist with 24+ years & 1 deployment, I will start retirement pay and medical coverage at 60 years of age, as reservists don’t get paid or recieve medical benefits till 60 and pay is based on 1 point per day of service not 50 percent as active duty gets. I believe that an one that dedicates 20 years or more of their life to the defence of our nation deserve to be provided for. Our political leaders provide for people that won’t work that have never served our nation in any capacity with support & benefits that they don’t deserve, which should be cut instead of our retired military benefits.

  • SDavis

    Sure, again, let’s go after the military…the congress and senate barely work as it is and they only have to serve one term and they are set for life…why not start there and leave the military alone!!!

  • jack

    Yes, all retirement pay should be equal unless you do away with combat tax exclusion and all of the combat pay entitlements. Keep in mind while these folks are out getting the glory the folks of the jobs deployed and their job. Military pay retirement should not change until the retirement of Congress changes.

  • Charlie

    When one enters the service of their country they are not given much choice of what they will do, or when and where they will do it.
    I would rather see the House and Senate in Congress, do basic things such as pass a budget on time every year.
    Maybe instead if transporting SECDEF to Calif each weekend, that money could go to retired pay.

  • DJReuben

    Not an issue. Those who serve in combat get promotions those who did not serve do not get, they are given preference in assignments, and many other things that contribute more to their income after retirement. An E-7 retired makes more than an E-6. The real drive needs to be to provide our veterans and retirees what we promised them to keep them around in an all-volunteer force. I stayed to have medical and “some” income after retirement, now I’m told I was never “promised” healthcare for life. Seems to me we were all promised healthcare for life, until it wasn’t in the governments best interest to provide it. Let’s do what we promised, then we can worry about the rest. An injured veteran/retiree shouldn’t have to struggle to get the medical care and retirement income they earned.

  • Al (Ret CW3)

    Perhaps we should look at cutting the retirement benefits of the politicians who serve one term, opposed to cutting the benefits of our service members who put it all on the line for 20 years serving their country. Also why do those same politicians making laws for the common people not pay into social security. Why do immigrants who have never paid into the social security system continue to drain it dry daily? I believe that there is several ways to cut or redirect spending in this country which I served proudly for over 42 years of governement service.

  • T.Rhodes

    Seems most are missing the point (combat vs. peacetime) The point is professions within the military and the toll of that profession versus standardized retirement. Combat Arms personnel in all services are in the field training in peacetime and walking the patrols in war. The retirement should be based on the skill set performed whether peacetime or war. I am retired Special Forces and I find it insulting that I spent my 20 years in the military doing damage to my body and upon retirement someone that never left an office makes the same thing. Those performing special duties receive special duty pay. This special duty should be accounted for in retirement, the years on special duty or in combat arms and serving in combat should weigh into a calculation for retirement. Those that go above and beyond should receive the same consideration in retirement.


    I am a retired Navy after 20 years, with three West PACs, number of shorter trips, two over sea tours for more than a year each, and some shore tours. We who service the NAVY have 12 hour on 12 hours off if you do not have other call to duty like General Quarters, Man over Board (Real of not), and USS Okinawa LPH-3 Blown Boiler. I have times I worked up to 22 hours on some days.
    NOW check out what does Congress and the President of the USA receive after the short time of FOUR YEARS! Full retirement of better than $175,000.00 a year and full FREE Medical for LIFE! Now see my retirement pay (40.00 taxable plus $123.00 non-taxable per month.
    I know we never have our feet on the ground, but you sail in the SEA with no day off until you pull into port and NO BEER unless you spend 45 days out of port. Then they will let you have only TWO cans of BEER.
    Yes 50% of base pay was agree to for all who server for 20 years and 2.5% added for every year after 20 up to 30 years at 75%. We had to meet standards, DC qualification 6 months after reporting to a ship, 3M, and pass test for advancement to next pay grade. Now what does Congress and the White house have to do? Pass a BUDGET and laws! Last four years how many Army, USMC, NAVY, AIR Force have done their duty? Now Congress (Mr. Reed) and the White House, Have they pass a BUDGET? Leave our retirement alone, until you have done your duty and cut your retirement, for the GOOD of the county.

  • John H. Starnes

    Come on, let’s at least get it right. Base pay is all that is considered when computing retirement income which is 50% after 20 years and 75% after 30. Things like hazardous duty pay,flight pay,proficiency pay, family separation allowance, housing allowance, sea duty pay and hostile fire pay do not count. Again, BASE PAY ONLY which is cleverly kept in check. Were you ever in a combat zone? Did you ever spend 90 plus and 154 consecutive days at sea? Did you ever remain at General Quarters (battle stations) for extended periods? Did you ever make back to cruises? Did you ever get you sea tour extended by a year?

  • Vhern042969

    I served proudly within the US Army for twenty-four years, being involved in four of this nation’s wars; Viet Nam, Grenada, Panama, and the Persian Gulf (both Desert Shield and Desert Storm). I was deployed to Korea and Germany during the Cold war, and because of my ability to speak Spanish deployed to El Salvador, Honduras, Ecuador, and Colombia. I served in all of these assignments not for glory but merely because my nation needed me, and I swore to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic, obeying the orders of all officers appointed over me and the Commander and Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States. When I retired there was no brass band or a hoard of people shaking my hand and thanking me for my service, just a very rude DAC who grabbed my ID card put it through a shredder at the out processing office as I walked away. After finishing my terminal leave, I received my last discharge certificate and my career with the US Army was over. All the foxholes (or fighting position as the Army called them); all the miles or kilometers, however you would like to call them walked, ran, or crawled; all the cold days and nights spent on the DMZ in Korea or patrolling the Berlin Wall; all the blood, sweat and many tears shed in all the valleys, jungles, deserts, and mountains both in combat and in training, was all over. For this I was guaranteed fifty percent of my base pay for the rest of my life. For someone, who has never been or seen the things I have done and seen, to now sit and second guess how much all of that is worth cheat the bravery and conspicuous service rendered by all those who served this nation in war, whether or not that war was declared or not. Don’t mess with the retirement funds of all those who served this nation, regardless of where that service was rendered, be that in Washington, DC or the jungles, desert or mountains where our leaders deployed us to, now or in the past, our service was service. What we did, we did it in the service of our country, and regardless of the cost, in our retirement, now is time for that nation to recognize their responsibility to all those Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen in retirement who earned every penny they now receive. I just hope my nation remembers the sacrifices I endured for fifty percent of my base pay, as well as, I remember what I did for my country.

  • Russell

    With all the bad press over the military being over paid compared to civilian standards how many civilian companies field enough trained personnel to fight a war? Lets take this issue one step further, not just discuss those that deploy to fight and those that don’t and support stateside bases. Lets look at the military pay scale over all. Lets say I am a TSgt Electronics (ECM) or a Jet Eng tech or Munitions tech. What do the have in common one things they are all TSgt and make the pay depending on TG/TS. Now look at the TSgt that types your deployment orders, he too gets the same pay just like everyone in non deployable positions. Pay those that physically fight th war more than those that dont directly dont pay clerks the same as electronic techs ect:

  • lugbert

    retirement pay and health benifits should remain basic, consumerate to time and pay scale. additional benifits are then awarded through various additional compensation, ie: combat pay, untax pay while deploy to certin areas and such. but if you serve you deserve, lets not take it away. military pay and sacrafice will never equal that of the civilian sector. A sacrafice is a sacrafice, some not as meaningful as others, but a sacrafice none-the-less.

  • JDC

    Don’t go down this path. It leads to a very slippery slope. The very nature of the question is divisive.

  • Tokyojoe

    As a retired military member of three branches (mostly Air National Guard) and having deployed into a combat area, I think we retirees should get more benefits than those sitting in Washington DC. Who gave for their country more? Who earned it more? Why is this an issue? Congress needs to be cut, not retirees. While I don’t see that happening since they control the decisions (which it should be us citizens and not them), I will put in an idea for retiree pay if a change must be made for the NEGATIVE. When the plan is to be implemented, those coming into the military at that time, forward, will only see 40% in pay for retirement. Mandatory deployments to any area of danger (decided by higher) or extended period of time (i.e. Navy 6-7 month cruises), will get 1% increase in retirement pay. Any volunteer deployments (under same conditions) will garner a 2% increase.

  • cowboycoleman

    This is not a new development. I served in the USAF for thirty years, twenty-eight days. From 3 September 1979 to 30 September 2009. In that time, we went through three different ways to determine retirement pay. I came in under a system that determined retirement pay based on what one earned on the final month of active duty. That was replaced with a system that determined retirement pay based on the average of the last three years of pay. The final system, I believe, cut retirement pay after 20 years to 40% I didn’t study it much because I was not affected by it). The one policy that kept these changes acceptable to everybody was that those on active duty who had already served a certain length of time–vested, if you will–were grandfathered under the older system. A change in retirement policy may indeed be deemed necessary to cut costs. But, as long as there is a grandfather clause in the policy, then the government will not be lying and cheating those who took an oath of office to support and defend the Constitution under which the government is supposed to operate.

  • Frank

    I say we deserve every dime, i say cut politians retirement pay they never talk about that, its always fuck the guy who gives all, cut the prez and all there retirements and leave the soldier the fuck alone

    • Linda

      That is something that I have said for many years. Their pay raises never stop. They get their benefits for the ramainder of their lives no matter whether they served 4 years or more- that does matter to the military but not the politicians! that is VERY unfair and unjust!!

  • Frank
  • t. wilks

    long gone are the days when the line between officers and enlisted was clear. Today, as in the Air Force, I’m sure that all branches of the military require enlisted members to continue their education, for promotion criteria of course. Due to this practice I see many, many instances where enlisted are far more educated than the officers appointed over them. History shows that the backbone of all branches of the military are the enlisted members. An enlisted member that joined in 2000 and was placed into a career field dealing directly with combat ops has possibly seen 11 years of combat or combat support operations (if they’re still in). An officer that joined in 1993 that was placed in any office support or supply career field and has never stepped foot in an AOR could retire this year and fare much better in his retirement. Think back to 9/11 and the situation with discerning the relief money for the victims families. Now, does any logical person see why one family would get millions and another family get thousands? Why did any family deserve more than another simply due to what their deceased spouse earned in thier living occupation?


    When I first entered the Navy as an enlisted E2, I looked at the 50%@20 years as a just payment for the low wages compared to my civilian counterpart. The medical part I considered my “retirement insurance”. I drew many a buck from “sea pay” and “combat pay”. Yes some of us Navy guys were in the battle front on SHORE. One thing for sure, no medals, decorations or pay will ever compensate for battle damage on the body. Certainly the majority of us do not have the opportunity to go from E7 to O1 and remain in your same job field. Again, my LDO officer pay did not match my civilian counterpart. I finally grad-u-mitated from the service as a LCDR [O4 LDO Engineering] with 25 yrs active service and 22 of that as “sea duty”, lost count of just how many 6 month+ “deployments” and un-accompanied tours I made. My career was not the typical snipe. Any reorganization of the pay and retirement system for all services needs to have a wide open ear on the possible oddities of career paths and pay grades with, close attention to our civilian counter parts. Just how badly does the country want to keep us good people in the service??? Presently I feel my retired pay and disability compensation has been “fair and just”.

  • AFmember

    What about congress? Take away their retirement, they get paid way more than military and get a better deal without ever having to go through the same crap a military member does. Whats good for the goose is good for the gander…

  • AZAggie

    Carlisle Barracks, home of the USA War College, is in PA and alive and well.

  • B. Wilkins

    I served 20 years, and feel I deserve my retirement. I did not see combat, but did volunteer for SEA several times only to be turned down. I may not have seen combat, but I was ready for it if it came. I think I deserve my retirement.

    As for the vets who have seen combat, if the government kept the promises they have made and actually care for the wounded and those with combat related problems, this may not be much of an issue, but until that time comes an additional percentage should be offered.

  • John P.Spearman Jr

    The retirement pay at present is guaged by rank and time in service, as it should be. The only thing that should looked at is how the congresman can vote themselves a rase instead of a raise being based on their performance and approved by the people in his voting area. Also they should have to pay for medical coverage like everyone else. The retirement pay should be raised just as they are about to do to the 20 year retirement.The military have to endure siduations that no general public has had to endure
    Very few congressmen have had to endure the conditions that the men and the women have had to do over the years.

  • Marine Dad

    This topic really upsets me. Look at the retirement elected officials get. They don’t have to serve but one term and they are on the gravy train. They will make military surrender their benefits, while the elected cowards whom we serve increase their pay and benefits. Sorry for the emotional outburst but I think it is time to turn the table around and it starts by getting rid of ‘professional’ politicians who have outlasted their usefulness.

    • Heidi

      Your passion is well placed. Speak up! Let your opinion be known before things change!

  • Barry Halsted

    I would like to know if the same policies that are for the enlisted mem also go for the staff in the Pentagon or what about the staff giving up part of their pay .When you serve you serve.I am a combat vietnam vet.I dont know but I do know that there is no other job civilian job where you can get Ptsd from doing your job or dioxigennexcept Fierman or law enforcment.Bear

  • Patrick

    I would point out a little acknowledged fact that makes this topic a moot point to even entertain. The number of Americans who served in our armed forces during World War II was approximately sixteen (16) million. Of those, only twenty-five (25) percent actually saw combat. That’s correct. Only about four (4) million saw combat during World War II. Today, we still have many veterans of World War II who retired after serving twenty-plus years of active duty in our armed forces. The same can be said about those who have honorably served since then. Not everyone saw combat during the Korean War. Nor did everyone see combat in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan. Yet, what all share is a common honorable service record of having served on active duty for at least 20 years and retiring at their highest military pay grade. If you want to speak about equality of retirement pay rates for military veterans, shouldn’t we at least acknowledge those who made a career commitment at great personal sacrifice and having to endure many hardships that most Americans have never had to make in their lives?

    • Heidi

      I, too, feel it should be a moot point. But others do not feel the same. Looks like changes will indeed happen…so if you get a say so on the topic, what would you recommend as a change other than “nothing”?

  • Joey1003

    You know nothing about the bands of the services. The requirements are never-ending. And if combat and deployments are the issue, then the rest of the service needs to comply. That’s the problem. There is no mandatory deployment or rotation system in place. People are excused regularly.

    Bring back the draft. That will fix it. And it will keep our congressmen in check when deciding to overthrow other nations.

  • Retired_but not dead

    I love to hear the active duty comments about having to wait on retirees and it not being fair. It is funny how your perspective will change-don’t be so narrow minded. One day I was an AD E-9 and living on top of my world, the next you are simply retired. Does this mean you shouldn’t have the right to the health care promised you? You shouldn’t be able to go to the same medical facility you have gone to for years vs the place that you are unfamiliar with and want co pays? When I started my career I was promised many things, Tri-care, Delta Dental, etc… were never in those discussions. So after 25 years of service I don’t deserve to be in-line at the pharmacy because a spouse of an Active Duty member has better things to do? If you want something to go after, take a look at the health care plans our politicians get for an effort that is far less than 20+ years of military service. Sorry but I earned my place in that line.

  • NightJumper

    There is not a direct correlation between years served or the number of wars one has served in as it relates to the amount of retirement received. I served in four wars. I had multiple missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Horn of Africa, Uzbekistan, krygystan, Qatar, Doha, Kurdistan, Vietnam, Iraq 1, I mention these only to remind you that I have also served in three fine branches of the United States Miitary Services. I have 30 years, 4 wars and cannot receive my retirement yet. I have to wait until the age of 60. Surprized I am not 60 yet, well I’m not and it is not fair that VA told me that they would have to access my benefits based on my income. Guess what, it’s zero at the moment. I have been unemployed since I was RIFTED against my choice. I served in and with several special operation units but that has not given me any advantage. Anyone and everyone who served deserves to draw a just and fair retirement benefit for having served 20 years and appropriate increase for years past 20. You don’t like somethng, you know how to change it. Vote, Vote, Vote, Educate people, Vote.

  • here’s a concept, start paying these guys and gals for what they are worth, right now, and let them figure out how they want to save for retirement on their own. If we are are paying a defense contractor $150,000.00 a year to provide security in Afghanistan, and they are standing the same post as an E-3 then lets pay the E-3 the same money (instead of the $23,000 a year we currently pay him), and let him figure out how to invest it for retirement. The bottom line is it was determined a long time ago that our government can not afford to compensate our troops at these rates, and in that, they would receive compensation in the form of a guaranteed stipend for life after 20 years of service. They pay all through their careers for this stipend in reduced salary over their civilian counterparts. Just because this value was not monetized on their LES doesn’t mean that the value is just something that can be thrown out when it becomes inconvenient for some law maker. 1) right the pay scale so that it is comparable to civilians doing the same job. or 2) shut the heck up and leave the pay and benefits alone.


    When signing up for the military, you hand over a “Blank Check” which can include your Life… How the Government uses it is their choice.

  • Richard Beck

    Don’t forget about when some of these unionized go on strike and don’t load the ships and trains with the equipment we need in the combat zones.
    Also don’t forget when you retire from the military your social security is adjusted down because you retired fro the military.

  • SJDIllinos

    All members of the military should be given same retirement. We go where we are told, when to go, how to go. If you are money motivated stay out and go into a business career. We volunteer and do so with an expectation that the government will live up to its word as they expect us to live up to ours. And I cannot tell you how smarmy and low comments about those who ‘fly a desk’ or some such BS because they didn’t see combat affect morale. There are already inentives like ‘flight pay’, ‘combat pay’..etc..
    Sucks to know that our leadership feels more inclined to play with the uniform regs and are largely silent with regard to Congress killing off career incentives.

  • Miss Daisy

    All retirees should absolutely get the same retirement paycheck. Everyone knows the stress for a member that travels around to different bases and sings has the same level of responsibiliy and stress as someone like a trauma surgeon. :)