March 10, 2007:
The U.S. Department
of Defense is now paying troops an extra thousand dollars a month for every
month, over a year, that they are in a combat zone. This has made a lot of U.S.
Army personnel happy, or at least less unhappy, when their tours in Iraq or
Afghanistan get extended beyond a year. But the U.S. Marine Corps has a problem
because its normal tours are seven months long, and sometimes marines get held
over for several months beyond that. The marines are trying to scrape up the
money to pay their troops an extra $250 a month for each month over seven, that
they serve in a combat zone.
These additional payments for troops in a combat zone are also a way to
reduce the envy the troops have for former soldiers who are making big bucks as
civilians security contractors in Iraq. As a practical matter, most troops know
they could not get one of these jobs, since the contractors seek out those with
more time in uniform, and especially elite types (Special Forces and SEALs).
But the envy is still there, and the extra money makes a difference.