Everyone once in a while I come across a blog post or article or comments on an article saying how veterans get too much from the government and how they shouldn't be able to retire in their 40's and how their compensation package should be just like that of people in the corporate world. When I read those things my first thought is that those people have no idea what it is like to be in the military, otherwise they wouldn't compare it to your standard nine to five job. Let's take a look at why our military folks and vets deserve what they get--and more--using the example of someone who retires from the military at the age of 43 with 25 years of service:
- For 25 years the serviceman has been on call 24/7/365. It isn't like you do your shift and you go home at the end of the day. When you are in the military you are ALWAYS on call. For your entire career.
- For 25 years the serviceman has had no choice of where he will live. In a 9-5 job you can always pick up and move, go back to the family farm and help the folks, or decide that you don't like the cold so head south. In the military, aside from requesting an open billet in a specific location which may or, more likely may not, happen, you live where the military tells you that you will live.
- For 25 years the serviceman has not had much of a choice of careers. Of course there is some choice but there are lots of things that come into play with jobs in the military so again, you basically get what the military gives you. In the 9-5 world, you can be a barber today, quit tomorrow, and go start up a tech company. In the military you don't have the option of quiting a job you don't like.
- For 25 years the serviceman has more than likely missed: multiple wedding anniversaries, multiple birthdays, multiple holidays, the birth of one or more children, and their children's first steps, first words, first fishing trips, first experience driving, and high school graduations. So not only has the serviceman given 24/7/365 to his country, his family has as well.
- For 25 years the serviceman gets the home that is issued to them. Of course this isn't always the case. With a long enough duty station, military members can buy houses in the community but depending on a number of factors (the economy, the next duty station, the availability of houses to buy at a particular location, the cost, how long they will be stationed in each location) it isn't like they are going to have a family home to raise their kids in from infancy through graduation.
- And speaking of the kids, many servicemen's kids can attend up to a dozen schools between kindergarten to their senior year of high school. They don't get their military parent around all that much, and family dynamics are continually shifting.
- The military spouse is also on call 24/7/365. When the serviceman is gone, everything falls on the spouse even if it is a "man's job" or a "woman's job". The spouse at home gets the kids 24/7, the problems 24/7, the difficulties with finding work or an education or even a babysitter so that they can work for that matter.
- The military also has higher divorce rates and higher suicide rates.