Recent letter writer wrong about military pay, benefits

Posted: Friday, April 16, 2004

Regarding John Carrico's recent letter:

As resident of Alaska serving in the United States Air Force overseas, I am somewhat resentful of being denied a permanent fund dividend simply because I'm serving in a location other than Alaska. However, for those who are wondering, Elmendorf is on the very top of my list of places I would like to be stationed at. I respect the government's argument for withholding our dividend, even though I don't agree with it.

Mr. John Carrico's statement concerning military service members and the dividend is another story. I would like to ask where Mr. Carrico is getting his information, because it certainly wasn't off of a military base pay spreadsheet.

I make, with benefits, under $2,000 a month, $24,000 a year. I am about halfway through my six-year enlistment with a rank of airman first class (E-3). According to the fiscal year 2004 base pay chart for enlisted members, you would have to be a master sergeant (E-7) in the Air Force with 20 years or more of service in order to be in the $40,000-a-year pay range.

I cannot speak for other career fields, but doing my job in the civilian world would increase my pay three or five times over. Next, my wife and I have a savings account that I put $400 a month into. I know people who have massive savings accounts that have been in for less time than myself and don't make as much per month.

Finally, addressing how military members try to get back to Alaska once a year to retain their eligibility for the permanent fund dividends. Well, a round-trip ticket back to Alaska from Frankfurt, Germany, would cost me anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500.

Add to that the fact that I work in a work center that can deploy at a moment's notice, and most will realize that I do not have the luxury of planning my vacations more than a few weeks ahead.

In short, do a little bit more looking around and research before you start throwing numbers around, Mr. Carrico. Not that I wouldn't love to make $40,000 a year, but it won't happen in the military at my pay grade. Not now, not ever.

Mikhail Woltering , Airmen First Class, USAF , Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany

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