I've read Cindy Williams' article about how military members don't deserve a raise, and she's absolutely right. I'm an E-4 in the U.S. Air Force, proudly serving at Ft. Gordon as a linguist.
I have a wife and a 1-year-old daughter and we live off-base. We are not accepting government handouts such as food stamps or WIC, even though we are entitled to them. My wife stays at home and raises our daughter because we believe that the core of a strong country lies in a strong family.
My net pay per month is roughly $1,830. After expenses, we usually have about $200 which always seems to go towards debt reduction. We have this because we live in a house that we rent for $350 a month, and it's tiny. Ms. Williams is right, even though we don't have enough money for my wife to get a new dress or to save for my daughter's future, we need no pay raise.
I earn this bountiful wage because I studied a language -- which looks like scribble to most everyone else -- for about a year and earn an extra $100. The stress inherent in foreign language work is alleviated by this nice little bonus. We work rotating shifts, changing every week from days to nights, wreaking havoc on family lives.
I'm in a highly specialized field that takes years of training to become skilled. I've sacrificed, not because I wanted to be "cool," but because ever since I was a child I've had great respect for people who give back to their country by enlisting in the services and putting their lives on the line. I felt that if I were to live in these United States and enjoy the freedoms that everyone here has, I must earn them.
I'm not one of the majority that gets to go overseas, but I support them. Their lives rest with folks like me. Does $1,830 a month reflect the importance of our job? How well taken care of would you like someone to be who's responsible for your fate?
Jeffrey C. Williams, North Augusta
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