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Your commute is nothing like these guys'.
Civilians, well some of them, take a very 'tut tut' view of military service and especially military pay. In their view, a military life is easily compared to, for example, working at Wal-Mart or manning the help desk. These are the sorts of views that cause people to say 'hey...I make crap at my shit job sitting on my fat ass in an office park all day. Why should some guy facing machine gun fire halfway across the world getter better pay and retirement benefits than me?!' Thus goes the rationale for comparing the civilian workforce, public or private, to military service.

Let me make something absolutely clear to you people: You have no fucking idea of the personal, sometimes physical sacrifices that are required for military service. And if you did, if your civilian job even came close to requiring that level of discipline, selflessness, and willingness to give up so much in the way of a normal life, you'd either quit your cubicle life or demand 10 times what you're currently making. Guess what, military families take less. That's right LESS.

I don't want to hear shit about your job and how shitty it is and how everyone else's job should be as shitty as yours. That's how you get a race to the bottom. That's why the middle class is where it is now. That's why upward mobility, outside of the military notably, is where it is now.

First, they pick a group of people, say...private sector manufacturing workers. They say, 'Hey...why should some auto worker get better benefits than you? Huh?! Cut their pay!' Then when that's done, they do it again: 'Hey...why should those government workers get better benefits than you? Huh?! Cut their pay!' And then again: 'Hey..why should some jerkoff Marine who lost his arm in Iraq get better benefits than you?! Huh?! Cut their pay!' And that's how pensions became 401(k) plans. You're welcome.

Another thing they do to divide folks is 'grandfathering.' You know, that means some guys still get benefits, but the new guys don't. But in every case where we've seen grandfathering of pensioners, eventually they come back around to the previously grandfathered and cut them too. Because the new guys are told 'Hey..why's that old geezer getting a $21,000 a year pension when you're gonna have about 500 bucks for your entire retirement in your 401(k) plan?! Cut that guys pension!'

You see how this shit works?

That's how you get a fucked up race to the bottom people. You shouldn't be bitching about someone else's decent benefits. You should be demanding them for yourself.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (190+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Polly Syllabic, DRo, Kevskos, CwV, CFAmick, FisherOfRolando, a2nite, nhox42, Serendipity, Lily O Lady, oortdust, FG, Joes Steven, Most Awesome Nana, rg611, detroitmechworks, nickrud, leeleedee, rudewarrior, anodnhajo, Militarytracy, maryabein, PsychoSavannah, Empty Vessel, JeffW, HamptonRoadsProgressive, basquebob, KBS666, leonard145b, zerelda, VeggiElaine, TheDuckManCometh, Heavy Mettle, Bonsai66, MKinTN, Mark E Andersen, Dobber, bleeding blue, ord avg guy, FogCityJohn, zeke7237, sawgrass727, Josiah Bartlett, petulans, Lurker in the Dark, NBBooks, GAS, scurvy turbo, Tunk, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, Jim P, mattc129, implicate order, quill, Norm in Chicago, Shadowmuffin, kharma, mrsgoo, Calamity Jean, GeorgeXVIII, MJ via Chicago, highacidity, earicicle, gerard w, Bluefin, golem, marathon, SixSixSix, splashy, mechboots, prettygirlxoxoxo, ask, Buckeye54, Patrick is Lucky, BachFan, blueoasis, Laborguy, greenbastard, markdd, Just Bob, Wino, Pilotshark, roses, serendipityisabitch, badscience, xaxnar, Eric Nelson, blue aardvark, Free Jazz at High Noon, theKgirls, dewtx, slowbutsure, SherwoodB, anonevent, kefauver, Sue B, myadestes, old wobbly, i dunno, gloriana, IL clb, timewarp, northsylvania, angelajean, swampyankee, CA Nana, Thinking Fella, MikePhoenix, Jakkalbessie, wilywascal, slakn1, Dont Just Stand There, Statusquomustgo, FrY10cK, Persiflage, divineorder, KansasNancy, brentut5, trumpeter, Oaktown Girl, ER Doc, Chinton, rb608, Hannibal, wilderness voice, poopdogcomedy, dotdash2u, Habitat Vic, nsfbr, belinda ridgewood, peachcreek, Angie in WA State, newfie, dagnome, WakeUpNeo, renska, Bluesee, Edge PA, 1BQ, Isara, Betty Pinson, petesmom, Joy of Fishes, Unitary Moonbat, Buckeye Nut Schell, Matt Z, koNko, AaronInSanDiego, MargaretPOA, carpunder, flatford39, SpamNunn, Tinfoil Hat, BYw, rapala, Square Knot, skybluewater, Joieau, wader, Hastur, devis1, kerflooey, Ed in Montana, Laughing Vergil, native, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, twigg, kurious, sandblaster, Gowrie Gal, ruleoflaw, RiveroftheWest, Cat Servant, terabytes, HCKAD, JustBeKos, Hayate Yagami, high uintas, randallt, ChocolateChris, 207wickedgood, JVolvo, YellerDog, kirrix, Oh Mary Oh, htowngenie, political mutt, JerryNA, YatPundit, Pat K California
  •  Note that cuts to the military always (97+ / 0-)

    focus on the troops and rarely on the expensive toys that don't work so well.

    This is true for most government cuts - the staff are the ones who feel the pain and this is because they don't have a lobbyist on their behalf like the MIC does.

    Get rid of lobbying in DC and the cuts might be more equitable.

  •  This is exactly how it is. (13+ / 0-)

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 07:45:54 AM PST

  •  Agreed BBB nt (9+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 07:59:06 AM PST

  •  Thank you for speaking out again, BBB, for (18+ / 0-)

    the military. Conservatives make a show of "thanking" the military for their service with words and bumper stickers, but you can't pay the bill with those.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 08:04:23 AM PST

  •  I think it's possible to make the dual point... (14+ / 0-)

    ...about the uniqueness of military service and the foolishness of "beggar-thy-neighbor" without the straw man you're invoking.

    These are the sorts of views that cause people to say 'hey...I make crap at my shit job sitting on my fat ass in an office park all day. Why should some guy facing machine gun fire halfway across the world getter better pay and retirement benefits than me?!'
    To the extent those people exist, they see all others in society that way, not just military.  

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 08:07:03 AM PST

    •  Well, i think it rather manifests itself (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      No Exit, quill

      in people knowing the military does more than them, but believing symbolic pr gestures even the score.  Like how football games resolve the anxiety of their appropriation of war imagery and metaphors by doing stunts like having family reunions with servicemen and women at games, which only really reminds me of how many familiesaren't united, and whether keeping a football game safe is really the best use of those soldiers.

      Either way, treating each member of the military as a hero beyond compare is dehumanizing, as would be treating each member of the military as a bloodthirsty goon.  They do make great sacrifices, some of which they sign up for (or could have signed up for if paying enough attention), some of which they don't.  Most members of the military are good, like most people.  Many members of the military are also assholes, like most men in their early 20s.

      Agree with the diarist on the pension thing - especially because of the long-term health and quality of life effects of combat.  But I don't know a better deal to stop a government shutdown, ya know?  And other government workers may indeed be more worthy of receiving more money, because even if the personal sacrifice is less, the contribution to society is greater.  Sure, a nuclear submarine is uncomfortable, but what does it do for kids?

      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

      by Loge on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 09:03:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I would add that it's rarely military they (4+ / 0-)

      have a problem with....much more likely it's government counterparts to private biz jobs. Doesn't make it any better...we shouldn't be encouraging the lowest common denominator.

      While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

      by GoGoGoEverton on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 10:45:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I support improving benefits for the military (10+ / 0-)

    not cutting them.

    I had no idea everybody here at DK sat in a cubicle, how informative.

    There are also many civilian jobs, not equivalent to the military necessarily, that are complex and difficult that others do not understand.

  •  10000 rec's and a million tips! n/t (5+ / 0-)

    "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

    by Most Awesome Nana on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 08:12:21 AM PST

  •  are the repubs trying to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, catwho, Matt Z

    cut military pay and stuff now? They truly want to burn their bridges there?

  •  I musta missed something. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lost and Found, EthrDemon

    I agree, but I thought pretty much everyone here does.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 08:27:59 AM PST

  •  It is a hard road (15+ / 0-)

    And many families stay single income because one member must be available for anything at a moments notice.  Spouses sacrifice their careers to moving all over and being the one person who can pick up the kids whenever, however, why ever.

    I have seen soldiers work 16 hr days and just consider that part of the job.  I have seen soldiers work 16 hr days for months on end and just consider that part of the job.  I have never known people who gave more of themselves to the job at hand or each other.

    •  Yup... (4+ / 0-)

      Worked pretty much 13-14 hour days for 11 months straight , no going home afterwards and no weekends.  As well as being on call for drills during designated sleeping hours.  

      "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

      by cardboardurinal on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 09:28:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Short, sweet and to the point (6+ / 0-)

    Points all of us can make with our friends, family, neighbors without getting overly personal at them and hurting relationships.  Always make it a big-picture discussion and people will begin to see how it all worked.  They will begin to see why they haven't had a raise in 5, 10 years...sometimes ever.  They will begin to see that stepping on the person beneath them on the economic ladder hasn't done anything to help them climb a rung or two.

    More and more and more people are struggling....they are hiding it though.  They've gone to basic cable, hoping to save a coupla bucks there.  They have put off buying a new/newer car.  They are buying the store brand at the grocery store.  It chips away at the overall economy and takes us another lap closer to the bottom.

    Nice diary, bbb.

    Listening to the NRA on school safety is like listening to the tobacco companies on cigarette safety. (h/t nightsweat)

    by PsychoSavannah on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 08:32:04 AM PST

  •  And this is what they get for their service (10+ / 0-)


    Fifty-one crew members of the USS Ronald Reagan say they are suffering from a variety of cancers as a direct result of their involvement in Operation Tomodachi, a U.S. rescue mission in Fukushima after the nuclear disaster in March 2011. The affected sailors are suing Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), alleging that the utility mishandled the crisis and did not adequately warn the crew of the risk of participating in the earthquake relief efforts.

    Crew members, many of whom are in their 20s, have been diagnosed with conditions including thyroid cancer, testicular cancer and leukemia. The Department of Defense says the Navy took "proactive measures" in order to "mitigate the levels of Fukushima-related contamination on U.S. Navy ships and aircraft” and that crew members were not exposed to dangerous radiation levels

    The most dangerous things at the office park are the doughnuts from the roach coach or maybe that guy down the block going through a divorce with a pistol in his car.
    •  Also remember... (0+ / 0-)

      that the USS Ronald Reagan is a nuclear powered ship.  

      "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

      by cardboardurinal on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 09:29:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But remember that the navy takes (7+ / 0-)

        Nuclear security and exposure VERY seriously.

        My son was a nuclear plant operator. He trained with some civilian guys. They didn't pay nearly the same attention to exposure levels as the navy did. Nor did they pay as much attention to safety in general.

        Not even CLOSE.

        And I'll bet the navy brass is seriously pissed at TEPCO for putting their troops at risk unnecessarily.

        •  They may take... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          it seriously, but the Nukes have the shittiest job (I think they beat out the undesignated sailors and BNs IMO) in the Navy.  They stand the longest watches and deal with tons of bullshit.  And it is true that they are monitored constantly, it doesn't mean that something couldn't have gone wrong on CVN 77.

          "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

          by cardboardurinal on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 01:29:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for the recognition of how much our lives (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cardboardurinal, JerryNA

            suck.  That said, the NNPP has had no reactor accidents in its entire history.  Airedales are more likely to get cancer than the nukes on a carrier.

            And might I add I am so happy I'm sub force so I don't have to worry about serving on the Gipper, the Bush, or the Dirty V.  Not sure I'd want to be on the Johnny Reb either, though Stennis' positions did get better as time went on.

            "There are no atheists in foxholes" isn't an argument against atheism, it's an argument against foxholes. - James Morrow

            by kirrix on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 10:48:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I keep reading that in alternative blogs.... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              but not MSM.  Any reliable citation to these diagnoses?  I am somewhat skeptical of these reports until nytimes or others report it.

              You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

              by murrayewv on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 11:22:41 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's based on a study done by Yale. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JerryNA, RiveroftheWest

                Unfortunately, I don't currently have access without paying ~$25, but we studied this stuff at NPS and at prototype.

                "There are no atheists in foxholes" isn't an argument against atheism, it's an argument against foxholes. - James Morrow

                by kirrix on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 12:34:52 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Former Airdale... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              so I am aware of the risks of cancer from RF radiation.  I didn't know about the study that you referenced below, however.

              Served on the horrible, and infamous, carrier Abraham Lincoln from 2000-2003.

              "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

              by cardboardurinal on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 09:37:40 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Republicans and the Military (8+ / 0-)

    It's simple, IMO.

    Republicans only like members of the military and their families as long as they continue to fight their delusional battles, and continue to misguidedly vote Republican at the ballot box.

    When those things start drying up, the façade will end, and the GOP will hate the military the way they hate non-whites, non-straights, non-males, and non-their-whacked-out-brand-of-Christian-fascism.

  •  i wish the democratic party was as full throated (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Buckeye54, PatriciaVa, JVolvo

    in defense of raising everyone's benefits rather than being focused on cutting them.

    instead both parties have been in the tank for cutbacks, privatization and off-shoring.  finally, voices like elizabeth warrens' are starting to be heard in the msm making the case that everyone needs benefits like a living wage, health insurance and a modest retirement.

    This article about college grad entering the military was interesting.

    It is no secret in 2012 that times are tough for college graduates. Some are moving home after graduation because they face an uncertain future; student loans have been predicted to be the next bubble to burst, similar to that of the housing crisis; and the current job market has students hardly able to find part-time work, let alone begin advancing in their careers. But a new trend has blossomed in light of the difficult economic climate: College graduates are turning to the military to solve their joblessness woes. The surge is a push in the right direction to create a semblance of upward social mobility in America, where citizens have the least likely chance to better their status than those in most European countries and Canada.
    For some, the notion of a steady income is all the reason to sign on, as new recruits who work stateside can make upward of $50,000 per year – slightly higher than the average income in America. In an interview with the Columbus Dispatch, recent college graduate Josh Gibson said his career interests, as well as the current economic state, pushed him to enlist. The prospects of moving up in the military are more accessible because college degrees are required to be promoted to “officer” rank.

    Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

    by No Exit on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 09:03:55 AM PST

  •  i'm okay with the Military having good pensions (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    radmul, PatriciaVa

    but, then limit collection so you can't
    double dip.

    no working in defense industries, or at the pentagon
    while drawing the pension.

    You want to work post uniformed service?
    Work at the post office, or teach, or
    go to medical business.

    But, lets not feed the incestous circle of the
    military industrial complex.

    •  You do... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      realize that those who generally go on to work in the defense industry are those who were high ranking (generally officers) or trained specialists (ie Rangers or SEALs).  Most retired military personnel do not work at the Pentagon after retiring and those that will be hurt the most by this are most of them.  

      "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

      by cardboardurinal on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 09:32:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  you are incomprehensible (0+ / 0-)
        Most retired military personnel do not work at the Pentagon after retiring and those that will be hurt the most by this are most of them.
        I tried three times and couldn't understand it
        •  dbad Most retired military don't work at Pentagon (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          (or as tv talking heads) - the vets that will be hurt the most by this bullshit austerity game are the non-top 1%.

          See, that wasn't hard at all.

          Retired Pie Warrior. Substance over Sh*t Flinging (as best as I am able). Sarcasm for - and derision of - True Believers / Entitlement "Reformers" / NSA cheerleaders (yes, significant overlap) still available 24/7, you betcha!

          by JVolvo on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 09:49:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  the operating phrase (0+ / 0-)

            "Working in defense industries or working at the pentagon".

            I've worked in defense industries or around them most
            of my career.  The MIC is filled with retired O-5 or
            O-6s and retired NCOs  

            I don't resent them their pensions, but they should
            get out of the defense world.  

            They can go teach, or go into the civilian world,
            do something other then collect another DoD budget

            •  I find your comment... (0+ / 0-)

              very narrow in its vision.  There might be a high number of retired NCOs working at the Pentagon and around the MIC, but considering the number of retired NCOs, that number represents only a small portion of the them.    

              I've worked in defense industries or around them most of my career.  The MIC is filled with retired O-5 or O-6s and retired NCOs  
              Doesn't this make you feel hypocritical?  The idea that someone who has worked in and around the defense industry is criticizing others for working in and around the defense industry.  Who cares that they make a small pension (retired NCO pensions ARE small)?

              "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

              by cardboardurinal on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 09:34:18 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  This is going to feed a worse incestuous (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      high uintas

      circle though.  Your tax dollars will go to training individuals who will be constantly trying to get that big contractor job.  That will be their focus now.  Because you can't rely on military retirement.  Right now most of your best stay in 20 or plus, now that kind of selflessness doesn't look so good, so just use the military as the stepping stone into a good income.

      I believe that doing this will feed a more corrupt incestuous circle.

      •  why wouldn't it create a pipeline (0+ / 0-)

        to schools?

        Best teacher i ever had was a former Navy officer.
        He got out, spent some time on broadway then
        decided he wanted to teach

        wasn't a great theoretician but was a great
        builder of character.

  •  they've hurt the military for years .. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewtx, Militarytracy

    I actually liked John McCain while I was in (1975-82), he was very vocal in making sure servicemembers didn't get fucked over (before he turned senile). I remember Congress fucking around with our (minuscule) raises in the late 70s when I was making around $9000/yr as an E-5 ..

    "Electronic media creates reality" - Meatball Fulton

    by zeke7237 on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 09:11:49 AM PST

  •  I am of two mind about this (6+ / 0-)

    First off, my father was career Navy for 28 years, and I served in the Navy for 8 (including two years with the Marines as an 8404), so I think I have a good understanding of the issues involved with military service.

    The average enlisted member of the military deserves every penny they earn in pay, benefits, and retirement.  The job is tough, pay is low, and you are basically a second class citizen until you can make E-7 (which is usually at the 12 to 15 year mark).  An e-7 with 20 years of service will get 40% of their base pay until the age of 62, when it then goes to 50%.  While this isn't chump change, it certainly isn't a living wage (about $18,000 a year).  Considering the low retirement pay these guys are getting already, especially as compared to many firefighters and police with the same time of service, cutting any COLA increases is a slap in the face to service members.

    On the other hand there is the Officer class not only are compensated at a much higher rate during their service, but can expect to receive double the pay at retirement (an 0-5 at 20 years of service will get about $36k a year).  While certainly not a fortune, it is a nice chunk of change.  This doesn't even factor in the discrepancy between an officer and an enlisted in the job market once they retire.

    I have one example from my neighbor.  He retired from the Navy at 28 years as an O-6, he is a nurse.  He is making almost $100k in retirement benefits, plus he is pulling in another $150k from his job at a local hospital (he likes to share how much he makes).  

    In the end, I am not sure that it is fair to taxpayers,  to subsidize this guys quarter million dollar a year income.  

    •  There is no way he is making 100K in retirement (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mmacdDE, SpamNunn, Militarytracy, JerryNA

      from the Navy. Please.

      My husband is an active duty Colonel and only just started to get just under 100K after 24 years of service. Thank goodness because with 4 moves in three years, I can't get a job. And now we're supporting family in two locations as my oldest son lives stateside and goes to college and can only get minimum wage and we live overseas.

      We have a comfortable life, money-wise. But we're by no means rich like your neighbor. Nor are most military families. In fact, if your neighbor is pulling in that much, I would begin to wonder where the money is actually coming from. It's not from a military pension.

      •  as an o-6 with 24 years of service (0+ / 0-)

        your husband should be making just over 10k a month in base pay.

        pay chart

        That would be just over $120k a year in base pay.

        Not sure where you live, but if you don't live in base housing you will also get BAH...Not sure where you live, but where I live in Colorado the BAH you would receive would be $2331a free.

        Now this doesn't even include any additional pay such as hazardous duty pay, bonuses, sea pay, etc,....

        Now you may be correct that my neighbor isn't getting close to $100k a month in retirement.  I went by what he told me.  Looking up the pay charts it looks like he should be making $75k in retirement (28 years as an O-6).  That is still over twice what an E-8 with 28 years in would make.  Do you think that is fair.  Who do you think is more likely to have spent time downrange and in danger?  The enlisted guy with 28 years?  Or the Officer?  Who do you think is going to pull a 6 figure income when they retire?  The O-6, or the E-8?  Tell me, do you think it is fair?

        •  My link to the BAH chart didn't work (0+ / 0-)

          But you can google BAH chart and it will take you to the appropriate page.  Then you can enter any zip code and it will tell you the amount of BAH.

        •  I'm telling you what we got on our 1099 last year. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Militarytracy, JerryNA

          This year, it will be more. We live overseas and get BAH.

          I still don't see how he can be making $75,000 in retirement. You only get 50% of the last three years. No more BAH, you start paying for health insurance. It starts to fritter away fast, I'm sure.

          And you are correct, it is worse for enlisted. They do have a 4-5 year headstart which helps slightly.  And if we paid by who was in the most danger, we would pay our junior enlisted the most and our officers the least. We pay like the civilian world does - for education, for experience, and for command. If we didn't, we couldn't attract quality officers and those junior enlisted would be in more danger. I agree that the numbers could be closer but I don't agree that someone downrange should definitely get paid more than their commander.

      •  Looking at your link (0+ / 0-)

        It looks like you are in Ecuador.  I looked up BAH for Ecuador and this is what I found...

        Monthly Allowances
        Effective: 20131216
        OHA Rental Allowance    $ 3150
        Utility/Recurring Maintenance Allowance    $ 539
        Move-In-Housing Allowance (MIHA)    $ 191
        So a total of $3689 per free.  If you live off base.

        Now if you live on base you will get $0, but you get to live rent free.

        •  There is no base. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          And the housing money is all gone. Rents here are through the roof! Great that it's tax free. And no one lives on base for free anymore, BTW. It's all privatized. You spend your BAH on base.

          •  So you are telling me that you are (0+ / 0-)

            getting an additional $44286 per free, on top of your $120,408 yearly pay?  A total of $164694.00?  Plus the tax benefits?  I don't even know if your husband gets any retention bonuses to add to that.

            I think that is plenty of cash to go around.  Just think of what it is like for that e-6 with 15 years of service.  He, or she, is making less than half and has the same problems that you do.

            •  No, we're not getting that kind of cash. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JerryNA, RiveroftheWest

              It's rent for a house.

              Where most people get a chance to purchase their homes by the time they are earning the kind of money my husband is earning, we don't. That money isn't ours in the same way it would be if you could put it into a home.

              And the enlisted here get just about the same money for their rents.

              Listen, if you want to make this about inequality, fine. But if you're trying to make it a fight between officer and enlisted then you'll just succeed at doing the Pentagon's job for them.

              Instead of trying to make my husband's salary less, let's make enlisted salary more. What do you say?

  •  Excellent post, on so many levels. (10+ / 0-)

    On the issue of military pay and veterans' benefits, it's spot on.  My ex is a vet.  He served five years in the Army, and his service included tours of duty in both Afghanistan and Iraq back when they were still "hot" wars.  He had a four-year contract but was stop-lossed and sent to Iraq to fight in a war he opposed.  He risked his life, and now many folks on Capitol Hill think his benefits are too generous.  Of course, most of those folks wouldn't last a single day in the conditions my ex had to endure.

    BBB is also on the money about the race to the bottom, particularly when it comes to "grandfathering."  Here in California, Jerry Brown pushed through pension "reform" for state employees.  The new law makes the pension system far less generous for those hired since it took effect.  

    But that's not enough for some.  The mayor of San Jose is pushing an initiative that would allow cuts in pension benefits for current employees who were hired prior to the "reforms."  If the initiative passes (and is upheld in court), governments would be free to cut pension benefits at any time, so long as they honored benefits earned up until that date.  Given the hostility we see towards public employees, I think voters are likely to go for it.  The 1% will laugh all the way to the bank, as we in the lower orders fight amongst ourselves like crabs in a barrel.

    "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

    by FogCityJohn on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 09:20:09 AM PST

  •  Except that ship has sailed (7+ / 0-)

    Know what would happen if all the engineers in my office demanded we get our pensions back?

    All of our jobs would be in Malaysia faster than you can say Merry Christmas.

    Get rid of "free trade" and bring back tarriffs, then we can have that discussion with leverage.

    Private sector workers who have to compete with 3rd world slave labor, even true for engineering now, can't afford to provide the public sector workers with pensions.  Sorry about it, it's basic math.

  •  Don't ever engage in that race to the bottom... (7+ / 0-)

    If some group of workers, say BART operators, end up with six weeks of Family Leave in a ratified contract, don't bitch. Say, "Wow, that's really nice. Maybe someday we can get that."

    I am not saying it will always be easy, but watch how often it shuts down a bitch-fest with some anti-union bastard. They want you angry and resentful. Nothing good comes from it.

  •  divide and conquer (7+ / 0-)

    that's how it works.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 10:19:30 AM PST

  •  Amen. Especially your last sentance. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Who are we that we should demand the extinction of all other creatures before sacrificing our own comfort?

    by mechboots on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 10:22:53 AM PST

  •  Yes ... (11+ / 0-)
    That's how you get a fucked up race to the bottom people. You shouldn't be bitching about someone else's decent benefits. You should be demanding them for yourself.

    Absolutely correct!  I never ceased to be amazed as how some guy making $30,000 a year directs his anger at his neighbour for holding down a unionized public sector job that pays $40,000 a year with benefits instead of at the CEO of his company who is earning $6,000,000 a year.  

    These Republican gluttons of priviledge are cold men ... They want a return of the Wall Street economic dictatorship -- Harry Truman

    by Laborguy on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 10:41:40 AM PST

  •  Yes! We shouldn't be cutting public pensions (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbastard, angelajean

    we should be demanding them ourselves.

    While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 10:42:33 AM PST

  •  Who in the world actually says that? (0+ / 0-)

    Take down those strawmen more.

  •  Word. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewtx, angelajean, Militarytracy
    Let me make something absolutely clear to you people: You have no fucking idea of the personal, sometimes physical sacrifices that are required for military service. And if you did, if your civilian job even came close to requiring that level of discipline, selflessness, and willingness to give up so much in the way of a normal life, you'd either quit your cubicle life or demand 10 times what you're currently making. Guess what, military families take less. That's right LESS.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 11:03:35 AM PST

  •  First, they pick a group of people, say... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    All workers especially blue collar. Yes. Wrong group, whether it be military or not it's the wrong group to be comparing anything. Pay, retirement package, benefits etc.

    Divide and conquer, keeping workers fighting and competing amongst themselves and the focus off where the excess and unearned extravagance occurs  

    That focus pits one working group against another, when, if the goal is improving the workers lot, the focus should be more like; 'hey a wallstreeter gets 300 times the pay a golden parachute after fraction of the years on the job with no personal danger and taxpayer bail out for doing a shitty job'

    Look to where the excessive pay is going to set the bar, not where reduced pay is the comparison or "race to the bottom" who's got it worse off.

    Demand what one deserves no matter what that is. The greater the danger and responsibility along with the shorter the career should be factored in and that should be compared to the pay and retirement in the most spoiled rotten "careers" - those in High Finance - where the enormous waste and rip-offs are happening as the norm.

    If a comparison must be made at all that is in order to get a fair paycheck

    I mention High finance not because the way to negotiate for compensation should be comparison but that if a comparison is made it should focus on where the greatest disparity in pay and unearned perks is happening -  finance - not amongst workers, whose pay has been stagnant for years.

  •  As my brother (U.S. Navy Vietnam Vet) says: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angelajean, Militarytracy

    Fuckin-A dittybag.

    I'm not paranoid, I'm just well informed--SherwoodB

    by SherwoodB on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 11:28:01 AM PST

  •  They cut benefits for the wrong people (0+ / 0-)

    1st; I'd suggest the originator find someway to express him or herself other than rank vulgarity.  It doesn't help make the point, it just makes the writer look ignorant.

    2nd;  how about COngress cut THEIR OWN gold plated benefits the next time they want to save a few billion.  I believe I can safely predict that no one would complain.

  •  great points. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    just one little suggestion, if i may.

    that rant should have started with

    <"Republican hypocritical civilians, that pretend to care about the troops" well some of them, take a very 'tut tut' view of military service >

    Everyone here knows that military service should be paid higher, much much higher than they currently is.

    But why end the conversation there, teaching can be high stress, ditto EMT, police and fire depts. First responders need to deal with death and grisly scenes all the time. None of these professions are paid enough.

    The military is the toughest of all, everyone here knows that. The parasites on the right, well, they don't give a crap about any of it.

  •  Yeah, you have no fucking idea (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM, EthrDemon

    of the personal, sometimes physical sacrifices that are required by other people's jobs.

    But judging is fun.

    "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

    by GussieFN on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 12:37:11 PM PST

  •  We need the draft. End the damn wars. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the USA spend 54% of it's federal taxes on wars.

    More than the rest of the world combined.

    Mercenaries now get paid way more than most people.

    Smedly Butler had it right.

    When we go to war we draft everybody we need, including bankers, manager, CEO, and they all get paid the same.

    On the other hand, everyone should get tax paid free education, health care and modest room and board if they need it.

    I appreciate that you joined out of idealism and dedication to your country, But you are being used for empire and oligarchy.  

    •  I was not USED! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      This is what I don't get.  Somewhere someone thinks that those of us that decided to serve this country by joining the armed forces were fools who were used.

      My family has served this country in some capacity going back to the Revolutionary war.  It is something that we take pride in, the fact that we are willing to give back more than just tax $ in the service to our fellow citizens.

      I joined the Navy at 18. I am proud to say I was a squared away 4.0 sailor who took pride in his job. I was a corpsman, so I spent my time taking care of active duty, their dependents, and retirees. I took their vitals, I wiped their asses, I was vomited on, I was literally shit upon, I was even pissed on by an incontinent retired WWII admiral.  I cared for 32 week preemies and 80 year old retired marines with faded tattoos and stories of guadacanal.  I held the hands of 80 year old dependent wives as their husbands were dying from liver disease.  

      I received training in medical imaging where I began performing ultrasounds on pregnant dependent wives while their husbands were on their 3rd month of deployment.  I even had a 70 dependent wife of a retiree puke in my mouth while giving her CPR (this was back when you still gave mouth to mouth) when she coded on my cat scan table.

      I got more training with the Fleet Marine Force and was sent to Saudi for Desert Storm.  I took care of my Marines like they were my kids.  I treated their cuts and bruises, jock itch, athletes foot, blisters, and broken bones.  On the evening of the invasion of Kuwait, I walked across the border with an 80lb ruck and wondered if I would see my family again.  I got shot at and curled up into a ball small enough to fit into my helmet, until I heard someone call "corpsman up" and I ran foward to find one of my Marines with an arm missing.  I pinched his brachial artery off with my fingers until I got a hemostat out and up.  Stayed with my Marine until he was evaced. Caught a ride back up to my boys. Took a shitload of Iraqis captive.  Put in a shitload of IVs because they were dehydrated and malnurished.  Got sent back to Saudi two days later.

      Went to Somalia.  Delivered food to starving women and children.  Saw men with guns steal said food.  Got shot at again. Had a friend killed by a sniper (another Corpsman). Delivered more food. Saw it stolen again.  Got sent to Hawaii.  

      Got out of the Navy.  Worked at a big University Hospital. Got noticed by some luminary docs.  Got promoted.  Helped develop medical equipment.  Trained people to use that medical equipment all over the world.  Did all this before I was 27.

      Have a great career, doing what I love and helping people.

      I got all of that from the US Military.

      What the fuck have you done.

  •  I don't think the problem is so much on our side (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    as it is the other. The side that routinely employs jingoism and professes their love of anything military, yet constantly gives service personnel the shaft.

    I don't know of any Dems myself who resent the pay or benefits of people in the military, or in government for that matter. Rather, they applaud it, and when the right tries to decrease those things--such as Republican Wisconsin Gov. Walker's stripping of union rights for state employees--they fight against it.

    So I think you're kind of preaching to the choir here, but it's still a good point and timely reminder. What is really needed is a reminder to our Democratic elected officials, as they are currently including significant cuts to military retirees. I don't think BBB would mind if I tell you that angelajean has been reporting on this and has a diary today about it.

    I'm for drastic cuts to the military budget myself, but retaining good pay and benefits for armed forces members. We are needlessly spending a ridiculously disproportionate amount on defense, and it needs to stop. That money is better spent elsewhere. Currently, with unemployment figures still high, any cuts to the military should be used for stimulus. But I realize it's all just wishful thinking, anyway, as the present political reality dictates the proportion of federal dollars going to the military is not likely to change anytime in the near future.

  •  Responsibility (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM, Joe Bob, Militarytracy, JerryNA

    I never had so much responsibility at so young an age as during my military service.

    As a still wet-behind-the-ears 23 year old 2nd Lieutenant I was sitting in the back seat of a supersonic T-38 teaching other wet-behind-the-ears 2nd Lieutenants how to fly.

    At age 27 I checked out as an aircraft commander of a nuclear bomber.

    At age 28 I was commanding a formation of bombers in combat.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 12:56:07 PM PST

  •  A meme that's been going around (4+ / 0-)

    is, in my opinion as a veteran of 10 years in the navy, very accurate, and says something about the conditions we lived in.

    How To Simulate Being In The Navy

    1. Buy a dumpster, paint it gray inside and out, and live in it for six months.
    Submarines - Black outside, Pea Green inside

    2. Run all the pipes and wires in your house exposed on the walls.

    3. Repaint your entire house every month.

    4. Renovate your bathroom. Build a wall across the middle of the bathtub and move the shower head to chest level. When you take showers, make sure you turn off the water while you soap down.

    5. Put lube oil in your humidifier and set it on high.

    6. Once a week, blow air up your chimney, with a leaf blower and let the wind carry the soot onto your neighbor's house. Ignore his complaints.

    7. Once a month, take all major appliances apart and reassemble them.

    8. Raise the thresholds and lower the headers of your front and back doors so that you either trip or bang your head every time you pass through them.

    9. Disassemble and inspect your lawnmower every week.

    10. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, turn your water heater temperature up to 200 degrees. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, turn the water heater off. On Saturdays and Sundays tell your family they use too much water, so no bathing will be allowed. Also every Wednesday, take your mattress out to the back yard and drape it over the fence to air out.

    11. Raise your bed to within 6 inches of the ceiling, so you can't turn over without getting out and then getting back in.

    12. Sleep on the shelf in your closet. Replace the closet door with a curtain. Have your spouse whip open the curtain about 3 hours after you go to sleep, shine a flashlight in your eyes, and say "Sorry, wrong rack."

    13. Make your family qualify to operate each appliance in your house - dishwasher operator, blender technician, etc. Re-qualify every 6 months.

    14. Have your neighbor come over each day at 0500 , blow a whistle so loud Helen Keller could hear it, and shout "Reveille, reveille, all hands heave out and trice up."

    15. Have your mother-in-law write down everything she's going to do the following day, then have her make you stand in your back yard at 0600 while she reads it to you.

    16. Submit a request chit to your father-in-law requesting permission to leave your house before 1500....... In triplicate.

    17. Empty all the garbage bins in your house and sweep the driveway three times a day, whether it needs it or not. "Now sweepers, sweepers, man your brooms, give the ship a clean sweep down fore and aft, empty all shit cans and butt kits!"

    18. Have your neighbor collect all your mail for a month, read your magazines, and randomly lose every 5th item before delivering the rest.

    19. Watch no TV except for movies played in the middle of the night. Have your family vote on which movie to watch, then show a different one-- the same one every night.

    20. When your children are in bed, run into their room with a megaphone shouting "Now general quarters, general quarters! All hands man your battle stations!

    21. Make your family's menu a week ahead of time without consulting the pantry or refrigerator.

    22. Post a menu on the kitchen door informing your family that they're having steak for dinner. Then make them wait in line for an hour. When they finally get to the kitchen, tell them you are out of steak, but they can have dried ham or hot dogs. Repeat daily until they ignore the menu and just ask for hot dogs.

    23. Bake a cake. Prop up one side of the pan so the cake bakes unevenly. Spread icing real thick to level it off.

    24. Get up every night around midnight and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on stale bread. (mid rats)

    25. Set your alarm clock to go off at random during the night. At the alarm, jump up and dress as fast as you can, making sure to button your top shirt button and tuck your pants into your socks. Run out into the backyard and uncoil the garden hose and put out a simulated fire.

    26. Every week or so, throw your cat or dog into the pool and shout "Man overboard, port side!" Rate your family members on how fast they can save them.

    27. Put the headphones from your stereo on your head, but don't plug them in. Hang a paper cup around your neck on a string. Stand in front of the stove, and speak into the paper cup, "Stove manned and ready." After an hour or so, speak into the cup again "Stove secured." Roll up the headphones and paper cup and stow them in a shoe box.

    28. Make your family turn out all the lights and go to bed at 10 p.m. "Now taps, taps! Lights out! Maintain silence throughout the ship!" Then immediately have an 18-wheeler crash into your house every 5 minutes for an hour. (For aircraft carrier sailors.)

    29. Build a fire in a trash can in your garage. Loudly announce to your family, "This is a drill, this is a drill! Fire in hangar bay one!"

    30. Place a podium at the end of your driveway. Have your family stand in front of the podium for 4-hour intervals. (Best done when the weather is worst. January is a good time.)

    31. Next time there's a bad thunderstorm in your area, find the biggest horse you can, put a two-inch mattress on his back, strap yourself to it and turn him loose in a barn for six hours. Then get up and go to work.

    32. For former engineers: bring your lawn mower into the living room, and run it all day long.

    33. Make coffee using eighteen scoops of budget priced coffee grounds per pot, and let the pot simmer for 5 hours before drinking.

    34. Have someone under the age of ten give you a haircut with sheep shears.

    35. Sew the back pockets of your jeans onto the front.

    36. Add 1/3 cup of diesel fuel to the laundry.37. Take hourly readings on your electric and water meters.

    38. Every couple of weeks, dress up in your best clothes and go to the scummiest part of town. Find the most run down, trashiest bar, and drink beer until you are hammered. Then walk all the way home.

    39. Lock yourself and your family in the house for six weeks. Tell them that at the end of the 6th week you'll take them to Disney World for liberty. At the end of the 6th week, inform them the trip to Disney World has been canceled because they need to get ready for an inspection, and it will be another week before they can leave the house.

    Yes, this is mostly intended to be satirically funny, but it sets the tone that is considered normal for navy living.  How many of the complainers on the outside could live like that without cracking up?

    And remember - this is the humorous side of the equation.  the really nasty parts were left out.

    I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

    by trumpeter on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 12:58:25 PM PST

    •  Oh yeah (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      been there, done that!

    •  Brings back memories... (0+ / 0-)

      Especially after taps having a semi-run into your house every five minutes.  That was for the airdales sleeping under the cats (the steam catapults would build up pressure and then "Boom" the plane would be released).  The ones who slept under the wire also heard the "Whzzzzzzzzzzzz... clink-clink-clink" of the arresting cable being caught and then reset.  

      Anyone remember the 'Gurt?  It didn't have any "YO" in it, no fruit or anything, it was just "Gurt".

      "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

      by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 03:31:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  But submarines have beds man. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "It is easier to pass through the eye of a needle then it is to be an honest politician."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 01:04:38 PM PST

  •  Really? (0+ / 0-)
    Civilians, well some of them, take a very 'tut tut' view of military service and especially military pay. In their view, a military life is easily compared to, for example, working at Wal-Mart or manning the help desk. These are the sorts of views that cause people to say 'hey...I make crap at my shit job sitting on my fat ass in an office park all day. Why should some guy facing machine gun fire halfway across the world getter better pay and retirement benefits than me?!'
    Maybe this is true but I have literally never met anyone of any political persuasion express anything like this.  On the contrary,  my sense is that it is taken as a given in our society that military work, quite aside from the separation from home and family that it requires, is very hard on its people AND that it is extremely low paying given all of that.  

    There are,  of course,  all types of people in the world with all sorts of objectionable opinions. I take you at your word that there are a bunch of people around who need to be addressed in this way.  But as a civilian who meets and talks with plenty of other civilians every single day of my life about all sorts of things,  I just have no idea of who these people are and I sincerely doubt that they represent some significant political block that is effecting the social discourse around military pay.

  •  This part really nails it on the head: (3+ / 0-)
    You shouldn't be bitching about someone else's decent benefits. You should be demanding them for yourself.
    I know a lot of conservative and right-leaning people who work shitty jobs and hate, hate, hate the fact that people like teachers get pensions.  A friend of mine, who claims he isn't a Republican but is very pro-gun and pro-tax cuts, listend to guys like Limbaugh (he says it's for amusement but I hear him parrot his talking points with a straight face) and believes teachers are getting overpaid and their pensions are ridiculous.  This is a guy worked a shitty retail job and now sells gun cases and accessories for a living and does pretty well.  My best friend, when we lived together, worked a very shitty minimum wage job and was pissed that I was making more money when I was collecting unemployment than take a shit job that made less than $1000 a month.  He didn't understand that unemployment is only 3/4ths of what I was originally making and that I doubt his boss would let me duck out early for all my interviews at the time.  I've been fully employed for over two years now.  Truth is there are a lot of people out there who hate to admit they're getting fucked over by terrible pay and think that because they don't complain about it, everyone else should shut up and take what they can get.  See, it's a matter of pride for these people.  Instead of demanding more, they want everyone else to be in the same boat as them.  Misery loves company.

    Funny Stuff at

    by poopdogcomedy on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 01:33:27 PM PST

  •  I'd still rather we pay to teach kids and build (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Buckeye Nut Schell

    high speed rail than go to war. War is stupid. It's a waste. It's bad.

  •  Wow! Well put... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angelajean, Militarytracy, JerryNA

    I've heard shit over and over from civilians about why people join the military and how they are "supporting the military industrial complex" and the "plutocracy" or whatever. People enlist in the military for a variety of reasons and it's been my experience that often that reason is because they have no other options to improve their situation or that of their family. Some people have parents who can afford to send them to college, others have opportunities to earn enough to put themselves through college but many don't. I joined the navy because at the time it was coming down to a choice between the service or starving. No, I didn't always make the best decisions but what young person does? I'm as fed up as I can be listening to people who are absolutely clueless characterize my service as some kind of "betrayal" or like I prostituted myself out to the MIC. I served honorably and proudly and I was good at my job, (F-14A airframe mechanic) and when I got out, I moved on to other things. I never regretted serving though, despite the scorn from some really self righteous, entitled asshats. Civilians, even well meaning civilians just don't get it because they have no common frame of reference. I don't hold that against them, except for the ones who take their ignorance and put it on display by spouting stupid, nonsensical crap about things they know nothing about.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 03:42:13 PM PST

  •  On behalf of my son in law, who did three tours, (4+ / 0-)

    one in Iraq and two in Afghanistan, I thank you for this diary.  

    “Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.” ― Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

    by SpamNunn on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 04:03:05 PM PST

  •  on behalf of my firstborn... (0+ / 0-)

    who is an O-2 on the USS Alexandria (SSN-757), thanks for this article.

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