Military pay starts out quite low. The lowest-ranked servicemembers make less than $30,000 per year. Despite this, many Americans enlist because of the substantial benefits offered, including tax relief, health care, substantial scholarships, and more. Another perquisite that might keep some in the U.S. military happy is the potential for hazard pay: volunteering for certain duties can be compensated by cash bonuses. (Here’s how much U.S. military are paid at every pay grade.)
These duties, which the military designates as hazardous, based on “the inherent dangers of the duty and risks of physical injury,” come with monetary incentives.
To find which situations and duties the military considers hazardous and pays extra for, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the U.S. Department of Defense’s Hazard Duty Incentive Pay sheet. The different duties are ordered by the maximum HDIP monthly rate, which, when paid, is prorated to reflect the duration of the member’s actual qualifying service during the month.
Pilots, divers, parachutists, and more are eligible for HDIP. Most of the duties, including demolition duty, duty involving handling chemical munitions, thermal stress duty, and maritime visit, board, search, and seizure, to name a few, pay $150 a month. The pay increases to $225 a month for being in imminent danger or in a hostile fire event. But normally both are not paid simultaneously.
Parachute duty can also pay $225 a month, but only for freefall jumps. For regular jumps, static-line, the pay is $150 a month. Interestingly, static-line jumps were involved in more mishaps in the Army, according to one study. Diving duty, meanwhile, pays up to $240 a month. Just in 2021, there were two deaths during an Army Combat Diver Qualification Course. (Here’s what it takes to be in 16 of America’s elite military forces.)
Flying duty HDIP can range from $110 to $250 a month for crewmembers. From 2013 to 2018 there were more than 6,000 non-combat aviation “mishaps” during training or routine operations that killed 198 service members and civilians.
Click here to see dangerous situations the US military pays extra for.
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