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- This is a list of typical military pay, from entry-level Army privates ($24,648 a year) to Air Force generals ($203,688).
- Base pay for a new enlistee comes out to $20,340 per year, but they'll earn more as they gain experience and rank.
- Most service members also receive allowances for housing, food, uniforms, and job-specific bonuses, many of which are not taxed.
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How much are US troops paid?
The answer to that question depends on their rank, time in service, location of duty station, family members, and job specialty — just to name a few.
Other benefits, like government healthcare and tax-free portions of their pay, help service members stretch their earnings a bit farther than civilian counterparts.
To give you an idea, we broke down their monthly salary, or base pay, for each rank. We estimated their pay rate based on how many years they've typically served by the time they reach that rank — many service members spend more time in each rank than we've calculated, while some troops spend less time and promote more quickly.
We also didn't include factors like housing allowance because they vary widely, but these are often a large portion of their compensation. We also didn't include warrant officers, whose years of service can vary widely.
Each military branch sets rules for promotions and implements an "up or out" policy, which dictates how long a service member can stay in the military without promoting.
The full military pay chart can be found here.
Here is the typical annual base pay for each rank.
E-1 is the lowest enlisted rank in the US military: Airman Basic (Air Force), Private (Army/Marine Corps), Seaman Recruit (Navy). Service members usually hold this rank through basic training, and automatically promote to the next rank after six months of service.
Rounded to the nearest dollar, base pay (salary) starts at $1,695 per month at this rank. After four months of service, pay will increase to $1,833 per month.
The military can demote troops to this rank as punishment.
Service members automatically promote to the E-2 paygrade — Airman (Air Force), Private (Army), Private 1st Class (Marine Corps), Seaman Apprentice (Navy) — after 6 months of service.
Their pay increases to $2,054 per month.
Promotion to the E-3 occurs automatically after 12 months of service. Airman 1st Class (Air Force), Private 1st Class (Army), Lance Corporal (Marine Corps), Seaman (Navy).
Basic pay is $2,160 at this rank.
Although time in service requirements vary between each branch, service members who promote to E-4 typically have at least two years of service. Senior Airman (Air Force), Specialist/Corporal (Army), Corporal (Marine Corps), Petty Officer 3rd Class (Navy)
If an E-3 doesn't advance in paygrade after two years, their pay will still increase to $2,296.
For those who do make E-4 with two years, pay will increase to $2,515 per month. Some service members will promote to the next rank after just one year at this paygrade — those who remain at the E-4 level will see a pay raise to $2,652 per month after spending three years in service.
Promotions are no longer automatic, but troops can advance to E-5 with as little as three years in service. Those ranks are Staff Sergeant (Air Force), Sergeant (Army/Marine Corps), Petty Officer 2nd Class (Navy).
For these troops, their new paychecks will come out to $2,920 per month.
Service members will commonly spend at least three years at this paygrade. While they do not advance in rank during that time, their pay will still increase along with their time in service.
Four years after enlistment, an E-5 will make $3,058 per month. After six years of service, their pay will increase again — even if they do not promote — to $3,273 per month.
It is unusual for a service member to achieve the rank of E-6 — Technical Sgt. (Air Force), Staff Sgt. (Army/Marine Corps), Petty Officer 1st Class (Navy) — with fewer than six years of service.
An "E-6 with six" takes home $3,548 per month.
After another two years in the service, that will increase to $3,864 in monthly salary, equating to approximately $46,368 per year.
Achieving the next higher paygrade, E-7, before serving for 10 years is not unheard of but not guaranteed. If an E-6 doesn't advance by then, they will still receive a pay raise, taking home $3,987 a month.
Their next pay raise occurs 12 years after their enlistment date, at which point their monthly pay will amount to $4,225.
Achieving the coveted rank of E-7 — Master Sergeant (Air Force), Sgt. 1st Class (Army), Gunnery Sgt. (Marine Corps), Chief Petty Officer (Navy) — with fewer than 10 years of service is not common, but it can be done.
Those who achieve this milestone will be paid $4,302 a month, increased to $4,440 per month after reaching their 10-year enlistment anniversary.
Some service members retire at this paygrade — if they do, their pay will increase every two years until they become eligible to retire. When they reach 20 years, their pay will amount to $5,232 per month — or $62,784 yearly.
The military places a cap on how long each service member can spend in each rank. Commonly referred to as "up or out," this means that if a service member doesn't advance to the next rank, they will not be able to reenlist. While these vary between branches, in the Navy that cap occurs at 24 years for chief petty officers.
A chief with 24 years of service makes $5,528 per month.
Service members may promote to E-8 — Senior Master Sgt. or 1st Sgt. (Air Force), 1st Sgt. or Master Sgt. (Army), Master Sgt. or 1st Sgt. (Marine Corps), Senior Chief Petty Officer (Navy) —with as little as 12 years of service.
At that point, they will receive $5,078 per month.
Troops who retire as an E-8 after 20 years of service will take home a monthly salary of $5,860 — or $70,320 per year.
If they stay in past that point, they will receive raises every two years.
An E-8 with 28 years in the service makes $6,626 monthly.
The Army's up-or-out policy prevents more than 29 years of service for each 1st Sgt. or Sgt. Maj.
E-9s have anywhere from 15 to 30 years of experience, although few selected for specific positions may exceed 30 years of service. Their titles are Chief Master Sgt. (Air Force), Sgt. Maj. (Army), Master Gunnery Sgt. or Sgt. Maj. (Marine Corps), Master Chief Petty Officer (Navy).
Service members who achieve this rank with 15 years of experience will be paid $6,279 per month.
They'll receive their next pay raise when they reach 16 years, and take home $6,477 monthly.
After 20 years, they will take home $6,790 — that's $81,480 yearly when they reach retirement eligibility.
Some branches allow E-9s to stay in the military up to 32 years, at which point they will make $8,151 — or $97,812 per year.
Compared to enlisted service members with the same amount of experience, military officers make considerably more money.
A freshly commissioned O-1 — 2nd Lt. (Army/Marine Corps/Air Force), Ensign (Navy) — earns $3,477 per month in base pay alone.
Officers are automatically promoted to O-2 after two years of service. This is a highly anticipated promotion, as it marks one of the largest individual pay raises officers will see during their careers. Those ranks are 1st Lt. (Air Force/Army/Marine Corps), Lt. j.g. (Navy).
An O-2 earns $4,562 per month.
Officers will receive a pay raise after reaching three years in service.
Using the Army's average promotion schedule, officers will achieve the next rank automatically after four years in the service.
New captains and lieutenants, with four years of service, make $6,185 per month. At this rank, officers will receive pay raises every two years.
By the time they reach the rank of O-4, military officers will have spent an average of 10 years in the service. Maj. (Air Force/Army/Marine Corps), Lt. Cmdr. (Navy)
A major or lieutenant commander with a decade of experience takes home $7,891 per month, or $94,692 a year. Officer pay continues to increase with every two years of additional service.
O-4 pay is capped at $8,805 a month, so if an officer wants to take home more than $105,660 — additional pay, bonuses and allowances aside — they'll have to promote to O-5.
Officers typically spend at least 17 years in the military before promoting to O-5.
They'll take home $9,543 per month until their 18-year commissioning anniversary, at which point they'll earn $9,813 per month. Those ranks are Lt. Col. (Air Force/Army/Marine Corps), Cmdr. (Navy).
After 18 years in the military, officers receive annual compensation of nearly $117,756 a year.
"Full bird" colonels and Navy captains, with an average 22 years of service, are compensated $11,823 per month.
Officers who do not promote to become a general or admiral must retire after 30 years of service. At this point, they will be making $12,979 a month, or roughly $155,748 per year.
Promotion to brigadier general and rear admiral depends on a wide range of variables, including job availability. An officer who is promoted to O-7 with 25 years experience will receive a monthly pay of $14,162.
Each of these ranks carries its own mandatory requirement; similar to the enlisted "up or out" policies, officers must promote to the next higher rank or retire.
Officers who have spent less than five years at the lowest flag rank must retire after 30 years of service.
Generals and admirals with two stars — Maj. Gen. (Air Force/Army/Marine Corps), Rear Adm. (Navy) — must retire after their 35th year in the military.
At this point, they will be earning $16,774 per month, or $201,288 a year.
Military officer pay is regulated and limited by US Code.
Both three- and four-star admirals and generals who stay in the service long enough will receive the maximum compensation allowed by the code. These ranks are vice admiral for the Navy and lieutenant general for the other branches.
Excluding additional pays, cost of living adjustments, and allowances, these officers make up to $16,974 every month.
That's about $203,688 a year.
Regardless of continued time in service, once a military officer achieves the four-star rank of general or admiral, they will no longer receive pay raises and are capped at $16,974 per month.
Extra pays and allowances help take their salaries a bit further.
Base pay can seem stingy, especially at the lower ranks where enlisted receive around $20,000 per year.
But troops receive a number of benefits and may qualify for extra allowances.
TRICARE Prime, the military's primary healthcare package, is free for active duty troops — in 2018, it was estimated to save $6,896 average annual premium for single-payers.
When eligible to live off base, service members receive a basic allowance for housing (BAH), which increases at each paygrade; the exact amount is set based on location and whether the individual has any children. Service members also receive allowances to help cover the cost of food and in expensive duty locations receive a cost of living allowance (COLA). Enlisted personnel also receive a stipend to help them pay for theiruniforms.
Any portion of a service member's salary that is labeled as an "allowance" is not taxed by the government, so service members may only have to pay taxes for roughly two-thirds of their salary.
Is military pay based on rank? ›
Basic Pay is the fundamental component of military pay. All members receive it and typically it is the largest component of a member's pay. A member's grade (usually the same as rank) and years of service determines the amount of basic pay received.How much does the Army pay by rank? ›
|E-1||Private Pay||Starting pay $1,833/mo|
|O-10||General Pay||Starting pay $16,975/mo - max $16,975/mo with over 22 years' experience|
|O-10||General of the Army Pay||Starting pay $16,975/mo - max $16,975/mo with over 22 years' experience|
The United States' military spending in 2021 reached $801bn a year according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.How does the military pay its soldiers? ›
There are three main types of pay: basic pay, special and incentive pays, and allowances. Basic pay is exactly what it sounds like: the base of your military paycheck. All service members receive basic pay, and the amount is determined by your grade and years of service.What is the lowest rank military salary? ›
E-1: $20,340. E-1 is the lowest enlisted rank in the US military: Airman Basic (Air Force), Private (Army/Marine Corps), Seaman Recruit (Navy). Service members usually hold this rank through basic training, and automatically promote to the next rank after six months of service.How much does a 2nd lieutenant in the Army get paid? ›
Army Second Lieutenant Pay
Including the most common pay allowances, the average total compensation for a Second Lieutenant may range from $63,284.04 to $74,062.44 per year as of 2023.
The highest-paid military job is a general or admiral.
Generals and admirals average approximately $197,000 regardless of the branch of the military. These high-paying salaries are quite plush compared to the roughly $20,000 a year that a private earns.
The highest military rank is a “five-star general” or a 0-10. Five stars indicate it for all military services. The scheduled base pay for this rank is $16,608.30 per month. This amount is not eligible for an increase regardless of continued service.Do military members get paid enough? ›
Even though most military members will never get rich off their paycheck, most earn enough to live comfortably.How much does a U.S. Army get paid per month? ›
How much does an Army Soldier make? As of Feb 25, 2023, the average monthly pay for the Army Soldier jobs category in the United States is $2,559 a month.
How often do US soldiers get paid? ›
Military members are paid twice each month -- on the 1st and 15th of each month. You get one-half of your monthly pay on the 1st and the second half on the 15th. Remember, this is the government, so getting paid isn't instantaneous.Do US troops get paid? ›
As an active-duty Soldier in the Army, you'll receive a regular salary just like you would if you had a job in the private sector.How much does a Navy SEAL make? ›
Salary Ranges for Navy Seals
The salaries of Navy Seals in the US range from $15,929 to $424,998 , with a median salary of $76,394 . The middle 57% of Navy Seals makes between $76,394 and $192,310, with the top 86% making $424,998.
Basic pay. Also known as "base pay", this is given to members of the active duty military on a monthly basis and is determined by their rank (or more appropriately their pay grade) and their length of time in military service. Basic pay is the same for all the services.How much does a married e4 make in the Army? ›
Including the most common pay allowances, the average total compensation for a Specialist may range from $48,922.19 to $55,067.39 per year as of 2023.How much does a 4 star general get paid? ›
Regardless of continued time in service, once a military officer achieves the four-star rank of general or admiral, they will no longer receive pay raises and are capped at $16,974 per month.How much does an E 9 make in the Army? ›
|Cumulative Years of Service (Note 1)|
|Pay Grade||2 or less||Over 10|
|E-9 (Notes 2 & 3)||6,055.50|
These officers who held the rank of General of the Army remained officers of the United States Army for life, with an annual $20,000 in pay and allowances, equivalent to $308,000 in 2021.What is the base pay for a Lieutenant Colonel? ›
A Lieutenant Colonel is a field officer in the United States Army at DoD paygrade O-5. A Lieutenant Colonel receives a monthly basic pay salary starting at $6,112 per month, with raises up to $10,384 per month once they have served for over 22 years.How much does a 1lt get paid in the Army? ›
A First Lieutenant is a commissioned officer in the United States Army at DoD paygrade O-2. A First Lieutenant receives a monthly basic pay salary starting at $4,007 per month, with raises up to $5,544 per month once they have served for over 6 years.
How long does it take to go from 2nd Lieutenant to 1st lieutenant? ›
Most officers enter the Army at second lieutenant. They lead platoon-size units consisting of a platoon sergeant and two or more squads (16 to 44 Soldiers). Officers generally reach the rank of first lieutenant after 18 to 24 months of service.What is the highest paid Navy SEAL? ›
- What is the highest pay for U.S. Navy SEALS? Our data indicates that the highest pay for an U.S. Navy SEAL is $192k / year.
- What is the lowest pay for U.S. Navy SEALS? Our data indicates that the lowest pay for an U.S. Navy SEAL is $40k / year.
- How can U.S. Navy SEALS increase their salary?
Air Force Major General Pay
Including the most common pay allowances, the average total compensation for a Major General may range from $142,989.48 to $204,653.88 per year as of 2023.
In addition to basic pay, Admirals may receive additional pay allowances for housing and food, as well as special incentive pay for hostile fire and dangerous duties. Including the most common pay allowances, the average total compensation for a Admiral may range from $3,363.48 to $207,062.28 per year as of 2023.How much does a 5 star general get paid? ›
These officers who held the rank of General of the Army remained officers of the United States Army for life, with an annual $20,000 in pay and allowances, equivalent to $308,000 in 2021.Is e7 a high rank in the Army? ›
Sergeant First Class (SFC) is the seventh enlisted rank (E-7) in the U.S. Army, ranking above staff sergeant (E-6) and below master sergeant and first sergeant (E-8), and is the first non-commissioned officer rank designated as a senior non-commissioned officer (SNCO).How much do Marines get paid? ›
How much does U.S. Marine Corps pay? U.S. Marine Corps pays its employees an average of $55,749 a year. Salaries at U.S. Marine Corps range from an average of $27,897 to $112,140 a year.How much does a Russian soldier get paid? ›
The minimum monthly wage on offer for contract soldiers is 160,000 roubles ($2,700), which is almost three times the national average.How many 4 star generals are there? ›
The U.S. Code explicitly limits the total number of four-star officers that may be on active duty at any given time. The total number of active-duty general or flag officers is capped at 218 for the Army, 149 for the Navy, 170 for the Air Force, 62 for the Marine Corps, and 21 for the Space Force.Does the military pay you after you leave? ›
In most cases, Soldiers who have completed 20 years of active service are eligible to receive Retired Pay at the end of their career. The Date of Initial Entry into Military Service (DIEMS) determines which of the three retirement systems a Soldier falls under.
How much do Air Force get paid a month? ›
How much does an Air Force make? As of Feb 28, 2023, the average monthly pay for the Air Force jobs category in the United States is $5,606 a month.How much does an Air Force E7 make? ›
$86,611. The estimated total pay for a E7 - Air Force - Master Sergeant at US Air Force is $86,611 per year. This number represents the median, which is the midpoint of the ranges from our proprietary Total Pay Estimate model and based on salaries collected from our users. The estimated base pay is $86,611 per year.How much do you get paid in the Army basic training? ›
Every enlisted recruit starts out as an E1, and can expect an annual salary of around $20,170.80. BMT is 10 weeks, so the average E1 payment for basic training is around $3,800 plus meals and housing.Do you get a pension after 4 years in the military? ›
You must serve for at least 20 years to qualify for Army pension benefits. After 20 years, active-duty Soldiers can start pension pay at any age they chose.How often do US soldiers go home? ›
These requirements may also impact the scheduling of annual leave. Annual Leave: Active duty Soldiers earn 2.5 days of annual (chargeable) leave for each month of service, for a total of 30 days per year. Currently, Soldiers can bank up to 60 days of leave at the end of the fiscal year.How much does a E-4 make on deployment? ›
Hostile fire or imminent danger pay is $225 per month. Enlisted soldiers qualify for $340 per month in diving pay, and an E-4 earns up to $308 per month for sea duty.What is base pay 2023 military? ›
A new officer's basic pay begins at an estimated $3,637.26 in 2023, while a more senior officer with a paygrade of O-4, having served more than 10 years, will receive an estimated $8,254.82 monthly. Basic pay is a service member's primary compensation.What is the oldest age to join the military? ›
- Coast Guard: 31.
- Marines: 28.
- Navy: 39.
- Army: 35.
- Air Force: 39.
- Space Force: 39.
Enlisted Soldiers Salary Scale
The top-ranking enlisted soldier in the U.S. Army is the Command Sergeant Major, who holds a pay grade of E-9. Monthly base pay for a soldier with the pay grade of E-9 with 20 years in service was $5,523.60.
What are the age limitations for being commissioned as a Navy officer assigned to SEAL training? Applicants must be at least 19 years of age and commissioned before their 42nd birthday at time of commissioning.
How much does a Navy SEAL 6 make? ›
The salaries of Navy Seals in the US range from $15,929 to $424,998 , with a median salary of $76,394 . The middle 57% of Navy Seals makes between $76,394 and $192,310, with the top 86% making $424,998.What benefits does an Army wife get? ›
- Access to commissaries and exchanges.
- Free gyms, libraries and other recreation opportunities.
- Free tax services.
- Free, confidential non-medical counseling services.
- Help with education and career goals.
- Military discounts.
Food and housing: Free dining services and housing on base, or allowances that are tax-free. Moving benefits: The military pays for much of your travel and expenses for required moves. Health care: Health care and dental care are covered, including prescriptions.Do Soldiers have to pay to come home from deployment? ›
Soldiers and their loved ones are not charged money so that the Soldier can go on leave. Soldiers are not charged money for secure communications or leave.What is retirement pay for E7 with 20 years? ›
What is the retirement pay for an E7 with 20 years? As of 2022 the pay calculation projection an E7 retiring with exactly 20 years of service would receive $27,827 per year. It's important to note the present value of almost $800,000 for a 40 year old receiving this pension indefinitely.How much does a married E6 make in the Army? ›
The salaries of E6 - Staff Sergeant (Army)s in the US range from $15,709 to $72,000 , with a median salary of $33,461 . The middle 50% of E6 - Staff Sergeant (Army)s makes between $27,554 and $33,400, with the top 83% making $72,000.Do you get more money if married Army? ›
Although not known as "military marriage pay," service members do receive a pay increase as part of their housing and cost-of-living allowances after they get married.What determines military pay grade? ›
Two main factors affect where you fall on the basic pay scale: your years of service and your rank, which generally correspond with your military paygrade.What is the difference between rank and pay grade? ›
Grade and rank are often used inter-changeably and are also often confused. Grade is a major step in the promotion structure or program while rank is grade adjusted for time. “Captain” or “major” are examples of grade; several individuals can have the same grade.
How much does a married E4 make in the Army? ›
Including the most common pay allowances, the average total compensation for a Specialist may range from $48,922.19 to $55,067.39 per year as of 2023.What is the retirement pay of a 3 star general? ›
What does a 3 star general make in retirement? A three-star officer with 35 years' experience would get about $169,200 a year, up about $39,000, or 30%.What is a 7 star general? ›
No person have ever been awarded or promoted to a seven-star rank, although some commentators might argue that General George Washington posthumously became a seven-star general in 1976 (see Part Seven).How much do o 10 generals make? ›
O-10 is the 10th officer paygrade in the United States military. The O-10 grade begins at 20 years of experience with a basic pay rate of $17,675.10 per month. The civilian equivalent of this military grade is roughly under the federal government's General Schedule payscale.
The highest rank in the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps is General (four star), followed by Lieutenant General (three star), Major General (two star) and Brigadier General (one star).What do generals get paid? ›
In addition to basic pay, Generals may receive additional pay allowances for housing and food, as well as special incentive pay for hostile fire and dangerous duties. Including the most common pay allowances, the average total compensation for a General may range from $3,363.48 to $207,062.28 per year as of 2023.How much do 1 star Air Force generals make? ›
Air Force Major General Pay
A Major General is a general officer in the United States Air Force at DoD paygrade O-8. A Major General receives a monthly basic pay salary starting at $11,636 per month, with raises up to $16,774 per month once they have served for over 34 years.
|Cumulative Years of Service (Note 1)|
|Pay Grade||2 or less||Over 10|
|E-9 (Notes 2 & 3)||6,055.50|
|Promotion to:||Time-in-Grade||Structured Self-Development|
|Sergeant (E5)||12 months||SSD 1|
Sergeant First Class (SFC) is the seventh enlisted rank (E-7) in the U.S. Army, ranking above staff sergeant (E-6) and below master sergeant and first sergeant (E-8), and is the first non-commissioned officer rank designated as a senior non-commissioned officer (SNCO).