I retired from the Army last year July 1, 2004. After spending 23 years in the Army, I would encourage any young man or woman to join. The Army was a great experience, and I would do it all over again if given the opportunity. The benefits I received made it well worth the occasional sacrifice. Some of the benefits are full time employment, money for college, free health care, Learning new skills, and the pride of knowing you are serving your country. While in the Army I earned decent money, 30 days vacation a year, and was eligible for numerous benefits for my service.
While on active duty in the Army I received what is called basic pay.
I got paid twice monthly on the 1st and the 15th of each month. I have heard a lot of people complain about the pay in the military, which is unjustified in most cases. I retired last year as a First Sergeant with 23 years in service and my retirement pay is $2200.00 a month. I still needed to work full time and make at least $16.00 an hour to earn as much as I did in the Army. Some soldiers don’t realize or appreciate the fact that a lot of the income they receive is tax free. The Army provides for housing, meals, and uniforms and all this is provided tax free and isn’t added to W-2 at the end of the year as earned income. I didn’t realize how good the pay was until after I retired and stopped receiving these benefits. The best and most important benefit to me is the military pension for 20 or more years of service. I will receive a pension for my service for the remainder of my life and I hope that’s going to be a long time. How many jobs in the civilian sector provide a pension after working for 20 years regardless of age or retiree? I would venture to say not very many.
Another important benefit the Army provides is educational benefits. The Montgomery GI Bill is available for active duty and veterans to help with education costs. The Bill provides up to 36 months of education benefits for college, business technical or vocational courses. The veteran or soldier must be a full-time student enrolled in a regionally or Nationally Accredited college or university, and can get up to $1004 a month at the current rate to cover education benefits, including high-tech or vocational technical programs. It all adds up to a total benefit of over $36,000 and these benefits are increasing every year. The college loan repayment program can assist in paying off student loans. Soldiers on active duty can receive up to $65,000 for college loans....