Here is a kicker that many people would not even imagine thinking about. There are American service men and women that are drawing Food Stamps. Service members in the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the Coast Guard, and even the Reserve and National Guard elements of those services, find themselves forced apply for food stamps to feed their families. Worse, depending on the circumstances, many also find themselves having to take advantage of local food banks. To many this seems kind of backwards. One would expect that the people chartered with defending the freedoms that we are granted would be some of the highest paid people in the country, but sadly, this is not the case.

A Private (E-1), entering the Army at the base level, in 2016, was only paid $1,566.93 per month. If he was married when he entered the service, he was granted another $400.00 for living expenses, which brings him to $1,966.93 per month. This makes his total annual income $23,603.16. This means that a brand new soldier, married, with one child, would be living below just over $3,000 of the federal poverty line, $26,813. Now, consider a Sergeant (E-5) with ten years of service. His monthly base pay is $3,147.11. Add $800.00 monthly for living expenses, and he would be making $3,947.11 monthly. He would be making $47,365.32 annually. Say he has three children. He would be just under $5,000.00 over the federal poverty line for a household with five people, at $42,660. This is still not a dramatic difference given the cost of living in the United States. Depending on the cost living in the area around the base they live on, they would still be eligible for food stamps. This would be so given other necessary expenses, i.e. automobile expenses, the internet, family travel, and many other needed expenses. It is also important to take note that it took this soldier ten years to rise above the federal poverty level. This, of course, does not account for the many trips to food banks then money gets tight.

This is something that this nation should be very ashamed of. Service members on food stamps and going to food banks is a shame. If these soldiers are truly out to the do the job that the American people are told, defend our freedoms, then these men and women should be some of the highest paid personnel in the federal government, but sadly, they are not. If the government website that notes how much soldiers of varying ranks get paid is not enough to convince you that this travesty exists, perhaps the federal website that discusses the federal poverty line would help. Is that not still enough? Well then, consider the experience of a veteran of the United States Army. While I was married, my wife was on food stamps, Medicaid, as our government insurance was not enough to cover her medical expenses, while being pregnant, and she was registered at every local food bank outside the base that I served on, Fort Drum, New York.

I never got deployed, but if I had, despite hazard pay, I would have been forced into combat service while my wife was stuck back home barely able to cover her and our baby’s living expenses. What kind of life is this? Why is it that this still going on? Something truly needs to be done about this miscarriage of justice. There is another question that this brings to bear, though. Over the past thirty years, the average combat readiness rating of the United States’ military forces has dropped by forty percent. Could this have something to do with the fact that they are not getting the pay worthy of a warrior defending the honor of their nation? Could this have something to with the fact that while a soldier is at war, they have to worry about whether or not their family is going to be able to survive while they are away at war? How can a soldier be expected to perform to peak efficiency when they have such troubles on their mind? Something should surely be done to address this issue.

Here is another question. What will happen to these warrior’s ability to survive once Donald Trump and his cronies get ahold of the money going to these soldiers. President-elect Donald Trump said, he has chosen retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis, who has said that responding to “political Islam” is the major security issue facing the United States, to be Secretary of Defense. “We are going to appoint Mad Dog Mattis as our Secretary of Defense,” Trump told a rally in Cincinnati, the first stop on a post-election “thank-you tour.” Trump joked that the media and audience should keep the news to themselves. “We are going to be announcing him Monday of next week,” Trump said. “Keep it inside the room.” How much worse are things going to get for military families with these men in command of their military loved ones? What happens to military family if their loved one does not come back alive?

What do you think? Do you like what is being said here? To check out more of Kent Allen Halliburton’s work, visit his politics and history blog. You will find yourself entranced at

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  1. Kent, This IS a national shame that our enlisted military members are allowed only subsidence wages. These folks should not have to struggle to maintain a family while defending the nation as well….. And with the latest information about the Senate passing ACA repeal legislation I have heard that veterans benefits are being slashed as well…. I understand as I am ever so grateful for the care I have received from the VA which I can proudly say has always been top flight… I pray that does not get an ax taken to it but Congress as well. Larry Alger Publisher JNN

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