Back in 1966 when I got drafted for Vietnam, I went into the U.S. Air Force in an enlisted status. My paycheck as a single airman was about $100 a month, if I recall correctly. When I got married, I didn’t make a lot more, but my wife wife got an extra housing allowance. The bottom line was that we were living on about $300 a month, which covered housing rental, food and basically all the needs to live. When we had a baby, it got tougher. My wife ended up going back to work, and I worked three part-time jobs as a waiter, at Sears Roebuck and as a freelance photographer.
Low pay for enlisted personnel has been around for a long time, and the excuse has always been to “look at the benefits you get in the military.” Unfortunately, the “benefits” do not eliminate a lot of the hardships that the enlisted face.
In my opinion, if we ask the military to defend this country and deal with the sacrifices required by the military, we should at least pay them a decent wage that enables them to feed their families (”Thousands of military families struggle with food insecurity,” Nov. 14).
Having served as both enlisted and officer, I learned the enlisted personnel are the backbone of the military service and should be taken care of.
Stas Chrzanowski, Baltimore
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