No. of Recommendations: 21
On 12 Jan, MS Cindy Williams (from Laverne and Shirley TV show) wrote a
piece for the Washington Times denouncing the pay raise(s) coming service
members' way this year-citing that the stated 13% wage gap was bogus.

A young airman from Hill AFB responds to her article below. He ought to
get a bonus for this!

Ms. Williams:

I just had the pleasure of reading your column of 12 Jan, "Our GIs earn
enough" and I am a bit confused. Frankly, I'm wondering where this
vaunted overpayment is going, because as far as I can tell, it disappears
every month between DFAS (The Defense Finance and Accounting Service) and
my bank account. Checking my latest leave and earnings statement (LES), I
see that I make $1,117.80, before taxes. After taxes, I take home
$874.20. When I run that through Windows' Calculator, I come up with an
annual salary of $13,413.60 before taxes, and $10,490.40 after.

I work in the Air Force Network Control Center (AFNCC), where I am part
of the team responsible for the administration of a 25,000-host computer
network. I am involved with infrastructure segments, specifically with
Cisco Systems equipment. A quick check under jobs for Network Technicians
in the Washington, DC area reveals a position in my career field,
requiring three years experience with my job. Amazingly, this job does
NOT pay $13,413.60 a year, nor does it pay less than this. No, this job
is being offered at $70,000 to $80,000 per annum. I'm sure you can draw
the obvious conclusions.

Also, you tout increases to Basic Allowance for Housing and Basic
Allowance for Subsistence (housing and food allowances, respectively) as
being a further boon to an already overcompensated force. Again, I'm
curious as to where this money has gone, as BAH and BAS were both slashed
15% in the Hill AFB area effective in January 00.

Given the tenor of your column, I would assume that you have NEVER had
the pleasure of serving your country in her armed forces. Before you take
it upon yourself to once more castigate congressional and DOD leadership
for attempting to get the families in the military's lowest pay brackets
off AFDC, WIC, and food stamps, I suggest that you join a group of
deploying soldiers headed for Saudi. I leave the choice of service branch
up to you. Whatever choice you make, though, opt for the SIX month
rotation: it will guarantee you the longest possible time away from your
family and friends, thus giving you full "deployment experience."

As your group prepares to board the plane, make sure to note the spouses
and children who are saying good-bye to their loved ones. Also take care
to note that several families are still unsure of how they'll be able to
make ends meet while the primary breadwinner is gone-obviously they've
been squandering the vast piles of cash the DOD has been giving them.

Try to deploy over a major holiday; Christmas and Thanksgiving are
perennial favorites.

And when you're actually over there, sitting in a DFP (Defensive Fire
Position, the modern-day foxhole), shivering against the cold desert
night, and the flight sergeant tells you that there aren't enough people
on shift to relieve you for chow, remember this: trade whatever MRE you
manage to get for the tuna noodle casserole or cheese tortellini, and add
Tabasco to everything.

Talk to your loved ones as often as you are permitted; it won't nearly be
long enough or often enough, but take what you can get and be thankful
for it.

You may have picked up on the fact that I disagree with most of the
points you present in your op-ed piece. But, tomorrow from Sarajevo, I
will defend to the death your right to say it.

You see, I am an American fighting man, a guarantor of your First
Amendment rights and every other right you cherish. On a daily basis, my
brother and sister soldiers worldwide ensure that you and people like you
can thumb your collective nose at us, all on a salary that is nothing
short of pitiful and under conditions that would make most people cringe.
We hemorrhage our best and brightest into the private sector because we
can't offer the stability and pay of civilian companies. And you, Ms.
Williams, have the gall to say that we make more than we deserve?


A1C Michael Bragg Hill AFB AFNCC

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