Notes for those taking notes

This oil pipe burned for 30 days. Gave me cancer.

This oil pipe burned for 30 days. Gave me cancer.

Whew, back from another mission. This one was pretty short, just three days down on FOB Falcon, another one of the myriad posts sprinkled throughout Baghdad.

Lots going on down in the city. In response to the bombing of the Golden Mosque, a major Shiite holy site, over 100 Sunnis were killed in revenge attacks today. Moreover, the Sunnis are backing out of talks concerning the new forming government. Check out more here. Lord help us if the civil war breaks out on our watch.

Here are a few notes:
1) For the record: Outgoing artillery is loud as f*ck.
2) If you hear a rocket or mortar attack detonate, don’t panic — if you’re still alive, then you made it! Congrats.
3) A big “hullo” to the new readers from “forest“! Thanks for stopping by!
4) Work begins on a new “Wrangler” in a few days. Just hold on for a little while longer.
5) The lovely and talented Brie (one of our uber peeps) has a new artist myspace profile. Check it here and give your support. Rock!
6) Some have expressed concern that I’ve gone “Godcore.” Don’t worry, kids, I’m still me 😉 I’m just in search of truth. Truth is. It doesn’t matter if it has a “religious” garnish on it or not.

Oh and check this out, I made it into the Feb. 20 issue of “Stars and Stripes,” the major newspaper we get in the service while deployed.

There was an article that appeared a few days before detailing a new Pentagon report suggesting the military end the pay difference between married and single service members.

See, if you’re married, in addition to getting your own house (and away from the nasty barracks), you get paid more money while in the states and receive an additional bonus when deployed due to the “stress of being away from family.” Single soldiers get nada.

So I wrote an editorial. Here it is since there’s no online version that I know of (Stars and Stripes isn’t free, so you’d have to buy a copy):

End the Pay disparity

Whether anything comes from the study that suggested, among many things, to end the disparity between married and single pay, it’s still great news that someone noticed (“Pentagon urged to end married-single pay disparity,” Military Update, Feb. 17).

I’m a single soldier and have often wondered why my married co-workers get more money. If someone was ordered to get married, I’d understand; I see no need for the government to subsidize a personal choice. If I went out and got a body piercing that required so much money per month to keep infection-free, the government would laugh if I asked for a bonus.

The article listed the “cost” of paying single soldiers equally as a major hurdle. Doesn’t the government realize I, as a single soldier, cost them a lot less? I don’t require on-post houses, playgrounds, parks, Department of Defense schools — none of the normal married infrastructure. Can’t some of those wear-and-tear savings be credited against the cost of this supposed obstacle to equality?

Just because the majority of soldiers choose to eventually marry, I don’t see why I should be financially penalized for the risks I take in Iraq just because God made me single.


***Someone asked about the photo. I took it a few days ago here on Taji. It’s just one of the billowing clouds from fires that rage around Iraq. This one was an oil pipeline that went boom, but there are trash fires, wood fires, building fires — all manner of reasons to fill the air with choking blackness.


About salemonz

Born in San Diego, Calif. Raised as a Navy Brat, I jumped ship and crossed over to the Army. Served as an enlisted journalist for a bunch of years, then helped the DoD figure out what the hell to do with social media. After the Army, now I drift down the river of life, trying not to be a jerk.

7 responses to “Notes for those taking notes”

  1. Joshua Hearne says :

    Hey Josh,
    Can I suggest some Merton or Hanh for your reading list? Both are good stuff if you’re “searching for truth.”

  2. salmons says :

    Sure, what you got playa?

  3. Sarah says :

    I think this is the first year they ended the marriage penalty with the IRS. How ironic that we were penalized for being married and you penalized for being single? Still even though they did aways with the marriage penalty we still owe uncle Sam. I hope you get some of the money we owe 😉

    You make valid points. Congrats on being in the paper. I hope someone takes notice and does something.

  4. maggie says :

    I was a married soldier and absolutely see your point. Civilian jobs don’t pay you more for being married.
    Also, there is a problem with the spouses thinking that the Army is supposed to take care of them, well actually that is the way it is. When one of my soldiers was deployed I practically had to babysit his wife to the point of very nearly being ordered to take her grocery shopping! Ain’t that some shit!

  5. brogonzo says :

    I’ve wondered about not only the pay disparity, but also the “social standing” disparity between married and single soldiers. For instance, an 18-year-old private might have knocked up his high school sweetheart and gone through a shotgun wedding — in the Army, he gets treated like an adult; i.e., provided a house and additional pay. I’m 26, I have a degree, and I’m stuck in the barracks and treated like a large child whose every move must be watched and accounted for. Instead of mom or dad yelling at me to clean my room, it’s a sergeant of some kind.

    What gives? Just being married doesn’t make you mature OR more deserving of money. Bastards!

  6. salmons says :

    Seriously, the barracks suck.

    And you get to pull CQ duty in the barracks. And you get to pick up all the trash around the building left by other people. And you get to deal with bone-rattling bass at all hours. And you get to dodge beer bottles being thrown from the third floor. And you get to hear the wall thumping of sexed-up soldiers constantly…

    I totally agree, why does the 18 year old get to chill at his own crib while the rest of us get an internment camp?

  7. Joshua Hearne says :

    I suggest Merton’s “No Man Is an Island” and “Seven Storey Mountain.” I also suggest Hanh’s “Heart of the Buddha’s Teahing” and “No Death, No Fear.”

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