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Americans enlisted in the military deserve better pay | READER COMMENTARY

U.S. troops march during a centennial ceremony for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in Arlington National Cemetery, on Veterans Day, Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, in Arlington, Virginia. (Jim Watson/Pool via AP)
U.S. troops march during a centennial ceremony for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in Arlington National Cemetery, on Veterans Day, Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, in Arlington, Virginia. (Jim Watson/Pool via AP) (Jim WATSON/AP)

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.

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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.

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Stas Chrzanowski, Baltimore

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