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I had just read this story when I switched over to the NYTimes and it was there also. It appears that rather than lose our top soldiers to Blackwater and their ilk, we have been paying out some damn hefty bonus.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon has paid more than $100 million in bonuses to veteran Green Berets and Navy SEALs, reversing the flow of top commandos to the corporate world where security companies such as Blackwater USA are offering big salaries...

Overall, more than 1,200 of the military's most specialized personnel near or already eligible for retirement have opted for payments of up to $150,000 in return for staying in uniform several more years.  Military offers millions in bonuses to retain elite commandos

I have the breakdown on the flip.

I'm sure you realize we are talking some serious money. 100 Million and Gates is going to ask for another 43 plus million in this budget. Two things come to mind. The first being if Blackwater and the others haven't been able to get the best of the best, is it any wonder they are using what appears the less disciplined to file their ranks, causing us trouble. The second being are we paying too much or not enough to these experts to risk their lives ? Think about that a second, I honestly don't know how I feel about this yet.

At the 19-year mark, an Army sergeant first class earns about $63,400 annually, a figure that doesn't include what the Congressional Budget Office calls "noncash" benefits available to military members such as subsidized child care, lower grocery costs at base stores, and free access to recreational facilities.

The "critical skills retention" bonuses work on a sliding scale and are offered to senior enlisted personnel and warrant officers who form the backbone of the force.

Those agreeing to stay an extra six years receive $150,000; five years is worth $75,000; four years, $50,000; three years, $30,000; two years, $18,000; and one extra year, $8,000.

Since January 2005, 2,326 have been eligible and more than half took bonuses, statistics show.

If they took the 6 yr bonus, that is a added $25,000 a yr, and it can be tax free during combat. While I have always thought our Men and Women were underpaid, something about this is eating at me, but I'm not sure what. I'd like to know how you feel about this.

Originally posted to OneCrankyDom on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 07:15 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Bonus Jar (20+ / 0-)

    Thanks for stopping by.

    -8.63 -7.28 We all have to be concerned about terrorism, but you will never end terrorism by terrorizing others.~Martin Luther King III

    by OneCrankyDom on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 07:15:04 PM PDT

    •  The volunteer army guarantees the downfall of the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      military..No draftees to bitch and moan and raise hell about whats going on..Now all we got are well paid volunteer robocops who know how to keep their mouth shut even when they see the worst forms of abuse..If you want to advance you must see, hear, or speak no evul..! That in itself is dangerous and is a self perpetuating, incestuous and certain path to total corruption and malfesance..I am not referring to the National Guard soldiers who have been hoodwinked by an Amerikan government that is just as good at "Fine Print" as the best credit card companies or insurance companies..Talking about the volunteer lifers..If there were no Blackwaters and other assorted mercenary forces to bid for trained specialist retirees expertise, the government would not be forced to offer these obscene bribes to re-enlist..I do not blame the seals, green berets or rangers as they are just doing what our best politicians, athletes etc. do..Show me the fukin muney babeee..Now, we draw fire and call in the helecopters and gunships to blast away..Evur notice when we read the headline that there was a fierce fire fight, that usually there are zero, nada coalition deaths..Mmmm..Killed nine children today, but its the al queedas fault..We reeely hate and regret vaporizing and disembowling iraq childrun. really..That is why, evry six months or soo we bring to Amerika a lil Iraq child who we operate on and provide with arms or legs..that is good press..But how did he-she lose said arms, legs, eyes, nose...? Just sayin..The Amerikam party is going into the sewer with the cross of Jesus and the bible leading the rethuglican-bush christian pervert parade...Where was I, No one asked my opinion..Got to get some sleep, and I'm sure things will look just as fukin bad in the morning...and that aint good, that aint mom, apple pie, Norman Rockwell retro..

      "Better a little late, than a little never"..Doctor Julian Winston

      by Johnny Rapture on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 07:55:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  OK... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SpecialKinFlag, Justanothernyer

        I'm going to ignore your absurd generalizations and ask you a basic question.

        You're complaining that (in your opinion) our troops are well paid, and that they are volunteer.

        Which format are you suggesting?

        Looks to me like every bit of your investigative work has occured on the internet. That's. Not. Investigative. Journalism.

        by USArmyParatrooper on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 09:12:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You are talking out your ass. (4+ / 0-)

        Do us a favor and wake up smarter.

        If class war is being waged in America, my class is clearly winning... - Warren Buffett

        by dj angst on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 09:19:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Aside from the (0+ / 0-)

        obvious attempt to start a flame war, your wrong an all professional military.  When I was stationed in Italy, there was an opportunity to train with other countries.  There was a marked quality difference in the forces that had compulsory service.


        Never underestimate the power of stupid people (Republicans) in large numbers.

        by pritchdc on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 09:29:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  people (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        who are selected and complete any of the SOF training have never been draftees.  That goes for VN-era as well.  SF guys had to be 3-time volunteers; volunteer for the Army, airborne training, and Q-Course.

        In irony, in the early days before the Army created the SF Command, it was a career killer for any officer to even join SF because he wasn't punching his ticket like his conventional Army colleagues.

        And they should get better bonuses because that life never allows for quality family life or life in society - you are always gone.  The problem is simple economics when you put in the Blackwater equation, supply and demand: a short supply of these people by the very nature of the the job, training, and unit, and a huge demand created by current US policy.  Blackwater fills the void and it escalates like an auction.

        Kill the demand, and these super high bonuses will drop.

        "Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the bastard is dead, the bitch that bore him is again in heat." -Bertolt Brecht

        by Jeffersonian Democrat on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 10:13:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  That's $100 billion in Blackwater dollars (n/t) (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fouro, PatsBard, OneCrankyDom, va dare
    •   I'm not sure about that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Trix, va dare

      It would be with Blackwaters material and profit probably. At the end of the article they make the argument that Blackwater and others aren't poaching the troops anymore than before 9-11.

      -8.63 -7.28 We all have to be concerned about terrorism, but you will never end terrorism by terrorizing others.~Martin Luther King III

      by OneCrankyDom on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 07:20:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Do we still have to call them... (0+ / 0-)

    "our brave young men and women in the military serving in Iraq" when they get six figures for re-uping?

  •  I don't think working for almost twenty years for (12+ / 0-)

    an organization and getting paid $63,400 a year even with benefits is out of line. The problem isn't what the soldiers are getting paid..and now they're at least getting paid somewhat competitively for their service (which might lead to death or serious injury)..the problem is the shitass war and the constant redeployments that the troops are being asked to do.

    I think, therefore, I snark. Anon.

    by byteb on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 07:23:51 PM PDT

  •  Pay Chart (7+ / 0-)

    If you're in a situation where we're asking people to go into a situation where they may get their ass shot off, I don't begrudge anyone receiving money for a doing a job few are equipped or trained to do.

    This is part of the base pay chart detailing military pay.

    Most of the young guys straight out of high-school, have a base pay less than $20,000 per year. It's almost at the level of what somebody would make working at McDonald's.

    If in combat, this is supplemented with combat pay (immiment danger pay) at the rate of only an extra $225 per month. And if you have a family, you get an extra $250 per month as part of a "Family Separation Allowance".

    My father was in the Marine Corps for 20 years. In that time, I remember hearing about other military families that had to get food stamps or support from the Church in order make ends meet.

  •  something about this is eating at me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Yeah, it's working.

    I got 15,000 back in '79 or so 'cause the Navy was running short of fast-mover pilots. That's not why I stayed, but I didn't give it back. Nothing new.

  •  So this is how privatization is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    cheaper than government services? Oh, please let's blow the lid off of this corporate feeding frenzy once and for all. No wonder the wingnuts are smearing the Frost Family so hard. We've gottem on the run. Let's pound this.

    The crux of the problem is so-called corporate personhood, which should be called corporate monsterhood. It's the total lack of accountability and unregulated pillaging of the commons coupled with the propaganda that says government is bad.

    Remember, Blackwater pays their mercenaries with money that comes from the same pot as the military's pay, only they are unaccountable and have cronies in government shovelling the money at them. The only way Erik Prince makes his huge profits is by luring away the best talent (trained at taxpayer expense) with fat paychecks on cost-plus contracts. The whole set-up is phony.

    Of course the true patriot soldiers deserve to be paid well for their service and sacrifice. And without middlemen to siphon off profits. It's the phony tinkle-down free-market claptrap that's eating at you and all of us.

  •  Definitely not greed or patriotism... (0+ / 0-) what is it? IMHO its this god-for-saken war. An unnecessary war, a war the real soldiers have a hard time feeling patriotic about fighting...who are they saving from what???  So when they know the no-rules guys are being paid way more then them but our real military are the ones in the trenches every sucks, it more then sucks. This republican administration, repub neocons, their bluster and bullshit pretend they know what theyre doing and sloppy incorporation of capitalistic 'mba' management of this crisis including the incredibly divisive policy to bring in high paid mercinaries not under military command, or required to follow US military or US civilian rules of engagement, etc.. You bet it creates anamosity. This has to be Cheney-Rove gutless thinking. No dkos type should give even a glimmer of thought that our real soldiers are not being 'fair' for taking the money...the bush administration created this terribly divisive situation.  

    Our nations quality of life is based on the rightousness of its people.

    by kalihikane on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 08:31:51 PM PDT

  •  I guess it depends on your outlook (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pritchdc, Justanothernyer

    Very, very few can make it through the physical and mental challenges it takes to become a Green Beret, Navy SEALs, etc.

    In the civilian sector highly skilled (high demand) positions can command enormous salaries.

    Looks to me like every bit of your investigative work has occured on the internet. That's. Not. Investigative. Journalism.

    by USArmyParatrooper on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 08:58:03 PM PDT

  •  It's not really new. It's just a lot darker. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    For instance, the Air Force Refueling aircraft, the KC-135 is better known in the civilian world as a Boeing 707.

    With full aircraft knowledge, the pilots were hot targets for the Airline Industry and so the AF grudgingly gave commensurate pay packages just to maintain their personnel.

    Back in the day.

    If class war is being waged in America, my class is clearly winning... - Warren Buffett

    by dj angst on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 09:18:01 PM PDT

  •  Regardless the annual pay package, the (0+ / 0-)

    job requirements usually demand 24/7 availability or something close to that.

    That demand in cilvilian life would constitute huge salary amounts.

    I think the pay for military is too low.

    Further, anyone that works for a living that is considered to be at the top of their field commands a higher wage. Consider ball players, CEOs, actors, politicians, etc.

    The buy/sale transaction known as employment is a strange thing, especially in corpations. Usually the more inept the higher the salary.

    One final thought, any serviceman/woman that is injured should receive double time pay for as long as the disability lasts.

    Single purpose usage belittles the search for true value.

    by 0hio on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 09:34:32 PM PDT

  •  On a similar note about bonuses (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rimjob, Justanothernyer

    Why is it bonuses are considered acceptable monetary compensation in the civilian world, but when the military offers bonuses some people call them bribes?

    Looks to me like every bit of your investigative work has occured on the internet. That's. Not. Investigative. Journalism.

    by USArmyParatrooper on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 09:53:08 PM PDT

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