The Walter Pincus opinion piece about “generous” retirements for the military (TNT, 1-17) highlights the two classes in the U.S. military.
Soldiers in the all-volunteer service sign an enlistment of two to 10 years, but the government turns the majority of them into long-term conscripts through “stop-loss,” impressing them for the duration of the endless war against “terrorism.” Military pay is well below those of civilian contractors doing similar jobs for the military. Troops returning from war with injuries may be unable to make a living salary for the remainder of their lives.
As to equating combat to noncombat pay scales, troops do receive combat pay while in a combat area plus gets some breaks on taxes. All that being said, you can never pay troops enough to face combat and be maimed or killed for their country.
Information shared in this opinion piece about “overpaid” soldiers comes from interviewing Arnold Punaro, a retired major general, chairman of the Reserve Forces Policy Board and a former top staffer on the Senate Armed Services Committee. He gets to double-dip, so what would he know about overpayment?