13 July 2006

Enlistment=abandonment?

Enlistment Equals Abandonment?
According to Martian Anthropologist, it does. I stumbled across this entry earlier this week, and was, I'll admit, a little angered by it. So I pounded out a response in his comments.
As I was cruising through my blogroll, I hit up the NutHouse, and learned that the Anthropologist had responded to my hasty comment. I'm a tiny bit flattered, as this is the first time that any of my comments have provoked someone into a response.

I said it there, and I'll say it here. Enlistment does not equal abandonment.
I'm not going to go into whether or not this is a "moral" war. Morality is a relative thing, obviously the young man in question trusts his country's leadership(who may not actually deserve that trust...) and, in his eyes, this is a moral war. Hence the willingness to enlist.

So let's look at what he and his family stand to gain by this enlistment.

Housing- the government will either provide a house on whatever base he is stationed at, with free water, electric, sewage and trash. Or they will give him $XXX(depending on location) towards rent and utilities.

Health Insurance- Free health insurance if you use the military hospitals, a miniscule co-pay if you opt for a civilian provider. I have found very few things that TRICARE will not cover(glasses being the one exception that comes to mind) More comprehensive than most state or employer sponsored insurances, and, naturally, at a much lower cost than these.

commissary- the grocery store that sells everything at cost. Everything. There is a small overhead charge. I believe that it's $5 or $6 for every $100 you spend on food.

Pension- depends on the indivual, but if they stay in the military for 20 years, they retire with a nice little salary. Say you enlist at 19, you can be retired by the time you're 39.

Training/Education- Retiring at 39 means that the military member will most likely also work in the civilian world. And not only will he be able to use the GI Bill when his enlistment is done, but he will also receive training in his MOS(military occupation specialty) which can be used when he is discharged.

Travel- not a certainty by any means, but certainly a little perk. Germany, Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, Japan.....many bases in many places.

All of this is much better than say, McD's or Wal-Mart will provide a employee with. And there really aren't many jobs anymore that will hire someone who only has a high school diploma. (Yes, I read that the Anthropologist managed to do just fine, and I'm ecstatic for him, but my generation isn't getting a whole lot of breaks in that department)

There is a chance that he will be deployed. This is not a given, even if he does enlist with that in mind. Case in point, my husband has differing views on the war than I, and enlisted with the intention of going overseas. He has about a year left in his enlistment, and has yet to be sent over. In fact, he's been told that he probably won't be sent at this point.

But say that the young man in question is sent. On top of the all the other benefits he's provided for his family, he will be able to send home additional pay in the form of Hazard Pay and separations Pay. Men and women have come home and been able to buy brand new vehicles with cash, or been able to put a large down payment on a home. Something, again, most 20somethings with no secondary education can't manage.

If he is, sadly, unable to make it home, the life insurance will hand over a tidy $450, 000 sum to his family. And yes, I realize that there is no amount of money that can replace a husband and father. But this war has resulted in far fewer casualties than WWI or WWII.

All in all, he hasn't done too bad providing for his family. Even if he's not standing right there, changing diapers and warming bottles.

- your only -

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