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JOBS: Military service, civilian jobs can’t be equated

Letter by Bob West, Des Moines / The News Tribune on March 10, 2011 at 1:02 pm with 16 Comments »
March 10, 2011 2:19 pm

Re: “Give priority to jobs, not tax cuts” (letter 3-3).

The writer distorts the truth pertaining to military retirement. The reason for free medical was because the pay was so low.

I went in at $21 a month, then had a pay raise to $35 a month. The writer says we get half or two-thirds of our pay when we retire. I got $300-plus. My pay before retirement was $1,500-plus a month. Hardly half or two-thirds.

I only did 21 years, but military workdays are far longer than civilians’. I snuck in the Navy at 16 in 1944 in World War II. I was in the Seabees on Guam where we worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week. That was 8,060 hours for two years compared to 3,800 hours for a civilian.

After the war, I went into the Army. From 1950 to 1951, I was in the Korean War. My time there was 12 months in combat, less three days R&R. My total “working” time was 8,757 hours. Our enemy liked to attack at 2 a.m. and we liked to attack at dawn. This made a full 24-hour day.

The writer speaks of free medical. In Korea, I froze my hands until they had no feeling. They put gasoline on the road and lit it, and I put my hands close to get feeling back. Later I got a small piece of flak in my hand and got blood poisoning. the medic gave me penicillin shots every two hours until the red line faded away. This was my “free” medical.”

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  1. Bob, you story does not compute.

    Old Military retirement was 50% of base pay after 20 years, and 2/3 after 30 years.

    Based on your dates and length of service I calculate you would have retired no later than 1969.

    To earn $1500 a month with 21 years of service you would have had to be a brigadier general.

    Based on a retirement pay of 300 per month and 21 years of service your rank would have a Sergeant First Class

  2. xring — Most likely, part of Bob’s $1500 pay in 1969 was BAH and BAS (or whatever they called it back then.) I would guess, based on the rest of the info, that his base pay was $600 per month and his housing and sustenance allotments were $900 per month.

  3. In 1969 military retirement pay was based only on a person’s base pay and time in service, and was equal to Base pay per month X years in service X 2.5 where years in service was between 20 and 30. Even a 100% disability would have only meant that Bob would have retired on full pay or something like $600 a month.

  4. xring — Oh. I don’t know then. How the hell did my parents feed us?

  5. harleyrider1 says:

    Thank you Bob for your service.

  6. xring, your nitpicking on this subject is deserving of a quote from the movie “A Few Good Men”:

    “You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties (or on this forum), you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to (or what retirement benefits your betters are not entitled to)” .

  7. I don’t think xring is nitpicking. I think he is calling BS.

  8. Bob, Thanks for your service. A few suggestions; (1). never talk to a civilian about the military. (2). never talk to a liberal about the military (3). never talk to a liberal about anything. Again, as a fellow retired army guy, thank you.

  9. Ron, you are right, but you think I am strident about this, wait until the concept of stolen honor comes up.

  10. USMC for 8 years says I don’t need any hollywood lectures.

  11. Ron, thank your parents for their service. Raising a family on military pay has always been tough. To do so on retirement pay is really tough.

  12. frosty – why do you persist upon not taking your own advice?

  13. beerboy, I can’t help myself. Everytime a liberal posts something, it’s an open invitation to respond with common sense.

  14. Frosty then the question is not why do you post so often, but why do you post at all.

  15. xring, simple answer to a simple question. I post here because I love to p–s off liberals.

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