Active duty army pay scale

Written by kent ninomiya
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The pay scale for active duty US Army personnel is different than the pay scale for the National Guard or Army Reserves. The active duty US Army pay scale changes every year. It is adjusted for inflation, pay raises and various other considerations. The size of a US Army paycheck depends on a wide range of factors including rank, years in the army and specific job. Allowances are also paid for things like housing, food and cost of living expenses. Soldiers are also paid more while serving in combat zones, on hazardous duty and when they fly dangerous missions.


The active duty US Army pay scale first identifies a soldier's or officer's rank. The three main categories are enlisted personnel, warrant officers and commissioned officers. Enlisted ranks are designated with an "E," warrant officers are designated with a "W" and commissioned officers are designated with an "O." Each letter comes with a corresponding number that indicates the specific rank. E-1 is for a newly recruited private while O-10 is for a four star general. Base salaries start with the rank.

Time Frame

The time frame of service in the US Army is a big influence on the active duty US Army pay scale. Two soldiers of the same rank may earn much different salaries if one has been in the army for many more years. These time frame adjustments range from less than four months service as an E-1 to more than 38 years in the Army at any rank. The difference can be thousands of dollars per month.


The US Army pays some of its personnel more based on geography. Unlike most National Guard and Army Reserve personnel who serve where they live, active duty Army people must live where they serve. A tax free housing allowance is paid to soldiers with dependents living off base. The Overseas Cost of Living Allowance is paid to active duty personnel living overseas or in Hawaii or Alaska. A Variable Housing Allowances is compensation for living in parts of the continental United States with expensive housing.


The types of jobs performed by US Army active duty personnel also influences the pay scale. If they have a dangerous job like parachuting, flying or handling explosives they get "hazardous duty pay." Enlisted soldiers with jobs designated as extremely difficult or involving an unusual degree of responsibility are eligible for "special duty assignment pay." If their job requires them to go outside the continental United States to areas with lower standards of living they are also entitled to "hardship duty pay." Soldiers and officers who speak foreign languages can get up to £7,800 a year in "foreign language proficiency pay."


The pay scale for active duty US Army personnel pays benefits for service in combat zones. "Imminent danger pay" is awarded for every month served in a combat zone. This is tax free for all enlisted personnel and partially taxed for officers. The pay scale for active duty US Army personnel is adjusted every year. Some parts change annually while others change sporadically.

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