And you wonder why no one reads newspapers anymore?

The June 28 article “Older recruits on the rise” states: “The average enlistee in the military … makes about $43,000 a year to start, according to the Department of Defense. Older, more educated recruits can make more.”

To quote Col. Potter from “M*A*S*H”: “Horse hockey!”

An E-1’s base pay is $1,447.20 a month (after four months). Add in his subsistence allowance and you get a monthly gross of $1,771 for an annual salary of $21,252. While he would also receive some other entitlements (clothing allowance and such), his annual gross is under $25,000. This is for an enlistee with no dependents who is living on base. If you do the calculation with dependents and living off-base, the annual total is approximately $30,000.

My analysis suggests that the reporter calculated the pay of an officer, not an enlisted man. This is highly misleading. The sentence states “average enlistee” — why then calculate pay based on officer pay? Officers are commissioned — they do not enlist.

This was a human interest-type story. What is much more compelling is that our junior enlisted personnel are grossly underpaid. When military families can qualify for welfare payments, we have a compensation system that is completely out of whack. And given that the reporter’s thesis is “older” recruits, highlighting the 20-something thousand dollars annually that a 35-year-old with a family makes as a new enlistee would have been much more honest and informative.

Articles like this just confirm what many believe — the writers either know nothing about the subjects they cover, are too lazy to actually do real research, or intentionally mislead. Whatever the reason, their product is not worth the paper it is written on.

Cmdr. Kevin Crawford (retired)

Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

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