Need some help

Yankee Girl

New Member
Hello all - I am currently in grad school and I am writing a paper analyzing retention tools in the military. Bascially, we are comparing corporate retention plans (compensation, bonus, family friendly work envivronment, on-site day care, etc) to those of the military (retention through culture, pride, pay, other incentives). So, if you have a minute, could you answer a couple of questions for me? I realize I am poaching your forum but I figured it would be the best way to get "real" data.

1. Why do you stay in the military?
2. If you left the military, is there anything your area (Army, Navy, etc) could have done to incent you to stay?

Again, I apologize for trolling your forum but thought I could get some honest answers here. Thanks for taking the time to reply!
For me it's real easy.

1. I'm in the Army because it has been my lifelong dream to be in the Army.
2. If I were to have left, say my 20 years was up; if they asked me to stay, I would stay.
1. It's a really great deal: 3 "hots" and a cot! The satisfaction of serving your country, 30 days paid vacation, get to go to exotic places and kill their inhabitants (just kidding), great retirement plan, cool discounts at some places, getting paid to get dirty, great exercise, awesome health and dental plan, etc...

2. If I WAS going to get out, it would only be at 20 years, and for a few reasons:
a. at 20 years and 1 day, you get an instant 50% pay cut. (Think about it, half of your pay would be automatically yours ANYWAY for just retiring!)
b. The pay really does suck if you factor in everything that we do. There are civilians here in Baghdad that do next to nothing, but get paid about 2-3 times what I do. And they are on a tax free status, as well.
c. The damage to your body (especially if you're a Tanker, Scout, or Infantryman) increases exponentially with age. At 38 years old, your joints are beyond fixing. Arthritis is a given. Can you put a price tag on that?
Interesting - thanks for the input. I'm going to have to research the 20 year pay cut issue. I've heard that before. Is it the Army's way of getting you to retire to make room for younger leaders?

I might have to look into that Baghdad job. I've got a couple of friends who would love a job that pays to do nothing.

thanks again for the input - I hope you get to return home soon (or wherever you'd like to go next)
What's this talk about a pay cut after 20? I never experienced anything like that. There's an enlisted pay chart (as of 2003) at

As far as how the Army retained me, the answer varied for me according to what stage of my career we're talking about. After my initial enlistment was done I did leave the Army for a while. I tried my hand at civilian life. I found that it made my wife and family happy that I was out of harm's way but there was a definite lack of personal satisfaction for me. In the Army I had learned a set of skills that I became very good at and I was recognized for my proficiency at them. I thought about what the military had to offer me compared to what faced me in civilian life. In the Army I had a definite and recognizable career path. If I wanted to increase my pay by getting promoted, it was easy to determine what schools and/or training I needed to qualify me for promotion. I knew what physical requirements I needed to meet. I knew what time in grade requirements were needed. It was all out in the open, no secrets.
Now my civilian employer had a policy too. They banned any discussion about pay among coworkers. There was no clear path to the next level. It seemed to me that qualifications and performance were secondary to who you knew or how much butt you were willing to kiss. It just didn't seem quite fair to me. So back I went into the Army.
Subsequent re-enlistments were for many of the same reasons except that by that time I was about 30 yrs. old and over the halfway mark to retirement. Try doing that in civilian life!
After 20 years or more (in my case) of being in the Infantry, you don't need the Army to cut your pay for you to figure out that it's a younger man's game. I was very proud and equally happy to retire at that time. I still take a sense of pride at what I accomplished and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to do it. I don't believe that I could have done anything else that would have afforded me the opportunity to work with the caliber of people with such a high sense of dedication and selflessness. It was truly an experience that I would not have traded for anything.
1. Why do you stay in the military?
2. If you left the military, is there anything your area (Army, Navy, etc) could have done to incent you to stay?

1) I stay for a lot of reasons. I stay because of lads, the camaraderie. I stay because I have found a home and entered a profession where respect is earned. I stay because when I look at my children, I want them to never have to experience in their future what we are experiencing now. I have made the military a career because I have excelled at what is required and it gave me purpose much bigger than my own selfish desires. Oh, and I also stay because my wife lets me.

2) This job isn't about benefits, it's about sacrifice. I came in with the attitude of "what can I do?" Not, "What can you give me?" So, I can't honestly say there would be any tangible incentive offered that would cause me to stay, just serving my country alongside some of the best men in the world is enough.
Actually, I wasn't succesfully retained. I opted out after my first enlistment, mainly due to two reasons:
1. My wife hated the life, and made sure I knew it. (ex wife now, so might as well have stayed.
2. I spent 3 years at fort Polk.

These days, I wish I'd re-upped. I'd have eight years til retirement. I'd have deployed to Bosnia and Gulf War2 (my old unit did both), And I'd probably have made Warrant Officer by now. Oh well.