« On Combat Pays and Im… | Home | Progress and Violence… »

Rapid Fire Responses to “I Didn’t Deserve My Combat Pay”

Yesterday, we discussed some big issues responding to Michael C’s post, “I Didn’t Deserve My Combat Pay”. Today, we take on some quick hits.

From Jim last week, “I have just one observation, a technical one: You’ve never been a pay clerk. The combat pay rules & regulations are admittedly a broad-sweep covering a lot of areas. But trying to apply the pay on a day-by-day, location-by-location, mission-by-mission basis would be Herculean.” True, but we could pro-rate it by the days in country, and only have Iraq and Afghanistan count. Travel vouchers work in much the same way already.

“But there is an underlying problem with the guys reasoning...a bias of who is "really in combat" and who isn't. Those who were in the "shooting war" are somehow better or more deserving than those that weren't, either by assignment, luck, or mere chance.” I am not advocating that any one military occupational specialty (like cook, mechanic, infantrymen, artillerymen, etc) get additional pay simply because of who they are. Our Forward Supply Company saw more combat than a lot of infantry companies. So it isn’t who you are, it’s where you are.

Let’s cut other stuff in the budget first. (For example, here.) Really? Really? Is this the new counter-argument? This waste is okay, because other stuff wastes more? The simple counter-argument is that we need an Army culture that starts minding its spending at all levels, and in all areas.

“If you want to save the budget, cut some contractors whose salaries dwarf soldiers’ pay.” (For example, here.) Similar to the above point, I think we need to relook at combat pay AND the salaries we pay contractors.

Combat pay vs. imminent danger pay. Some commenters mentioned that combat pay’s techinical name is “imminent danger pay” Let’s not get into semantics. Anyway, the op-ed “I didn’t deserve my imminent danger pay” wouldn’t have gotten published. Let’s ignore the typical, overly-bureaucratic language the Army uses for “communication” (hook and pile tape anyone?).

Homeschool4joy wrote, “...combat pay is not only to compensate you for the risk to your life. It is to compensate the dependents back at home who wait for you in an agony of fear for your safety...There is no dollar amount that could ever adequately compensate a family for the time they lose with their loved one as they deployed to a combat zone, much less any amount that can truly compensate for a lost limb, a lost mind, a lost life. The combat pay system is a woefully inadequate but properly intended acknowledgement of the sacrifice made when the buses pull away as the children cry.” No, that’s not why we have combat pay. That’s why we have family separation pay. And again, as Michael C wrote in the article, sailors in Bahrain can are bring their families.

“Life isn’t fair get over it”[sic] From Eric C: This is awesome. As a liberal, I will use this in every budget debate I have with someone. “The government shouldn’t support NPR.” Life isn’t fair; get over it. “I don’t like Obamacare.” Life isn’t fair; get over it. “The hippies are protesting the war.” Life isn’t fair; get over it. “The Fairness Doctrine is unfair.” Life isn’t fair; get over it.

One comment

I liked Jim’s objection because of the practical look at logistics. However, simply because it’s a tedious task, that doesn’t mean the problem shouldn’t be addressed. And I completely agree with your “Really? Really?” statement above.