Busting the Myth of Low Paid Soldiers in the US Military

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One of the great myths on the US Military is that the defenders of our freedom are poorly paid. While that might have been true back in the 70s, in order to improve the recruit quality the military pay has been boosted significantly, especially after President Obama signed the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. According to the new rules, base military pay across all service branches will be the same and will be based on a soldier’s rank and time spent in service, but military personnel also get to take advantage of additional pay if they operate in special situations.

Other Job-Related Pay

There are members of the military who receive additional pay due to the nature of their duties. The following are some examples of the extra pay that soldiers could receive during service. Sea Pay – Soldiers who carry out their duties at sea are entitled to a special monthly military pay apart from the basic salary, which is called ‘Career Sea Pay’. The current $100 career sea pay premium has been doubled to $200, so all sailors, both those who are enlisted as well as officers who have three or more years of total career sea duty under their belt will be eligible to receive a sea pay increase by 25 percent. The Career Sea Pay is given to sailors in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances in which they are required to perform their duties, while staying for months out at sea. This monthly amount is determined by the Secretary and cannot exceed an amount of $350.

Hazardous Duty Pay

Back in the 1960’s, airborne paratroopers on jump status were given $55 dollars per month. That amount has been upgraded since then. Today, service members who are under orders to perform hazardous duties such as parachute jumping, operate in toxic environments carry out demolition of explosives or other dangerous duties are entitles to a Hazardous Duty Pay of $150 per month, and $225 per month if they are to carry out HALO or High Altitude Low Opening jumps. Most jumps are made between 10,000ft and 13,000ft, HALO jumps are carried out at altitudes between 28,000ft and 35,060ft. Military careers like the Navy SEALS are prime example of those who receive hazardous duty pay.

Flight Pay

Although it is often referred to as ‘Light Pay’ there isn’t a specific type of flight pay since it is a generic term which is used to describe the extra military pay given as an incentive to those who perform various military flight related duties. Payment amounts vary according to duties.

Diving Duty Pay

Normally, divers are designated by order, assignment and the amount of training they’ve had. But, in certain situations, members of the Army or Air Force are also required to carry out diving duties in which case they are entitled to an allowance. Military personnel are entitled to Diving Duty Pay of up to $240 for officers, and can go up to $340 for enlisted members in the armed forces. This special military pay is usually paid every month.

Submarine Duty Pay

Sailors are also entitled to a Submarine Duty Pay if they have been assigned to a submarine. Currently, Submarine Duty Incentive Pay for O-7 through O-10 is around $355, which may vary according to the mission and other factors.

One of the great myths on the US military is that the defenders of our freedom are poorly paid. While that might have been true back in the 70s, in order to improve the recruit quality the military pay has been boosted significantly, especially after President Obama signed the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. According to the new rules, base military pay across all service branches will be the same and will be based on a soldier’s rank and time spent in service, but military personnel also get to take advantage of additional pay if they operate in special situations.

Other Job-Related Pay


There are members of the military who receive additional pay due to the nature of their duties. The following are some examples of the extra pay that soldiers could receive during service.

Sea Pay

Soldiers who carry out their duties at sea are entitled to a special monthly military pay apart from the basic salary, which is called ‘Career Sea Pay’. The current $100 career sea pay premium has been doubled to $200, so all sailors, both those who are enlisted as well as officers who have three or more years of total career sea duty under their belt will be eligible to receive a sea pay increase by 25 percent. The Career Sea Pay is given to sailors in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances in which they are required to perform their duties, while staying for months out at sea. This monthly amount is determined by the Secretary and cannot exceed an amount of $350.

Hazardous Duty Pay

Back in the 1960’s, airborne paratroopers on jump status were given $55 dollars per month. That amount has been upgraded since then. Today, service members who are under orders to perform hazardous duties such as parachute jumping, operate in toxic environments carry out demolition of explosives or other dangerous duties are entitles to a Hazardous Duty Pay of $150 per month, and $225 per month if they are to carry out HALO or High Altitude Low Opening jumps. Most jumps are made between 10,000 ft and 13,000 ft, HALO jumps are carried out at altitudes between 28,000 ft and 35,060 ft.

Flight Pay

Although it is often referred to as ‘Light Pay’ there isn’t a specific type of flight pay since it is a generic term which is used to describe the extra military pay given as an incentive to those who perform various military flight related duties. Payment amounts vary according to duties.

Diving Duty Pay

Normally, divers are designated by order, assignment and the amount of training they’ve had. But, in certain situations, members of the Army or Air Force are also required to carry out diving duties in which case they are entitled to an allowance. Military personnel are entitled to Diving Duty Pay of up to $240 for officers, and can go up to $340 for enlisted members in the armed forces. This special military pay is usually paid every month.

Submarine Duty Pay

Sailors are also entitled to a Submarine Duty Pay if they have been assigned to a submarine. Currently, Submarine Duty Incentive Pay for O-7 through O-10 is around $355, which may vary according to the mission and other factors.

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