On 12 Jan, MS Cindy Williams (from Laverne and Shirley TV show) wrote apiece for the Washington Times denouncing the pay raise(s) coming servicemembers' 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 toget a bonus for this!Ms. Williams:I just had the pleasure of reading your column of 12 Jan, "Our GIs earnenough" and I am a bit confused. Frankly, I'm wondering where thisvaunted overpayment is going, because as far as I can tell, it disappearsevery month between DFAS (The Defense Finance and Accounting Service) andmy bank account. Checking my latest leave and earnings statement (LES), Isee 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 anannual 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 partof the team responsible for the administration of a 25,000-host computernetwork. I am involved with infrastructure segments, specifically withCisco Systems equipment. A quick check under jobs for Network Techniciansin the Washington, DC area reveals a position in my career field,requiring three years experience with my job. Amazingly, this job doesNOT pay $13,413.60 a year, nor does it pay less than this. No, this jobis being offered at $70,000 to $80,000 per annum. I'm sure you can drawthe obvious conclusions.Also, you tout increases to Basic Allowance for Housing and BasicAllowance for Subsistence (housing and food allowances, respectively) asbeing a further boon to an already overcompensated force. Again, I'mcurious as to where this money has gone, as BAH and BAS were both slashed15% in the Hill AFB area effective in January 00.Given the tenor of your column, I would assume that you have NEVER hadthe pleasure of serving your country in her armed forces. Before you takeit upon yourself to once more castigate congressional and DOD leadershipfor attempting to get the families in the military's lowest pay bracketsoff AFDC, WIC, and food stamps, I suggest that you join a group ofdeploying soldiers headed for Saudi. I leave the choice of service branchup to you. Whatever choice you make, though, opt for the SIX monthrotation: it will guarantee you the longest possible time away from yourfamily and friends, thus giving you full "deployment experience."As your group prepares to board the plane, make sure to note the spousesand children who are saying good-bye to their loved ones. Also take careto note that several families are still unsure of how they'll be able tomake ends meet while the primary breadwinner is gone-obviously they'vebeen squandering the vast piles of cash the DOD has been giving them.Try to deploy over a major holiday; Christmas and Thanksgiving areperennial favorites.And when you're actually over there, sitting in a DFP (Defensive FirePosition, the modern-day foxhole), shivering against the cold desertnight, and the flight sergeant tells you that there aren't enough peopleon shift to relieve you for chow, remember this: trade whatever MRE youmanage to get for the tuna noodle casserole or cheese tortellini, and addTabasco to everything.Talk to your loved ones as often as you are permitted; it won't nearly belong enough or often enough, but take what you can get and be thankfulfor it.You may have picked up on the fact that I disagree with most of thepoints you present in your op-ed piece. But, tomorrow from Sarajevo, Iwill defend to the death your right to say it.You see, I am an American fighting man, a guarantor of your FirstAmendment rights and every other right you cherish. On a daily basis, mybrother and sister soldiers worldwide ensure that you and people like youcan thumb your collective nose at us, all on a salary that is nothingshort of pitiful and under conditions that would make most people cringe.We hemorrhage our best and brightest into the private sector because wecan'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?Rubbish!A1C Michael Bragg Hill AFB AFNCCIF YOU AGREE, PLEASE PASS THIS ALONG TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE ANDSHOW OUR SUPPORT OF THE AMERICAN FIGHTING MEN WOMEN. THANK YOU.
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