How Much Does the Military Pay?

From soldiers in the Army to Air Force pilots in the sky, military rank (paygrade) and years of military service play a role in the amount of Military Basic Pay an individual will receive.

Military Paygrades

Paygrades start at 1 for Private (Army – PV1), Seaman Recruits (Navy or Coast Guard –SR), Airman Basic (Air Force – AB), and Private (Marine Corp – PVT), which can reach up to a paygrade of 26 for Sgt. Major of the Army (SMA), Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON), Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (CMAF), and Sgt. Major of the Marine Corps (SgtMajMC).

As of 2010, the range of basic monthly pay for the military is as follows:

  • Officer Basic Pay: From $2,745.60 to $16,132.50
  • Warrant Officer Basic Pay: From $2,683.50 to $7,603.50
  • Enlisted Basic Pay: From $1,447.20 to $6,129.90

Combat Pay

When members of the military are deployed in a designated combat zone, they are entitled to receive a tax-free special pay referred to as “combat pay” (or “imminent danger pay”) at the rate of an extra $225.00 per month. Depending on the soldier’s location, combat pay is only paid for duty on the ground in certain places, and in other regions – for duty on ground, airspace, or duty aboard a ship at sea.


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