Starting Pay for USAFA Grads / Commissioned Officer

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Bundy, Sep 5, 2009.

  1. Bundy

    Bundy Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    0
    In Forbes magazine's recent article on the best U.S. colleges it says that West Point graduates start out at $69,000 / year as second lieutenants. That's quite a salary right out of the Academy and would even be a pretty solid number in the civilian world.

    Is this correct? I assume pay would be the same for every branch in the military for service academy graduates. Can anyone confirm starting pay for a newly commissioned USAFA graduate?
     
  2. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,852
    Likes Received:
    343
    Okay...in the 2009 Military Pay Scales, which you can get online from DFAS (an AF website: http://www.dfas.mil/militarypay/militarypaytables.html), here's the "basics" for a newly minted "butter bar" from USAFA, unmarried, not flying/jumping/hazarding themselves.

    Base Pay: $2655.33
    Housing: $ 615.30 (this assumes they live off base, if they don't they don't get this)
    Subsistence: $ 223.04

    This totals: $3493.67 x 12 months = $41,924.04

    Just a WEEE bit less than $69,000.

    Now...if you're flying in SUPT, add $125 more a month.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,809
    Likes Received:
    956
    Flieger and TPG are correct, don't walk in thinking you will make 70K.

    Now lets play a different game, you make 3K a month with all of the small perks and live on base. (36K)

    You pay nothing, but your cable and phone. In essence, you are clearing 3K a month. Now take your friend who is starting their career at 50K, they are going to pay at least 1K for rent, then you need to pay electric, gas, water for monthly expenditures. It will actually put them below you.

    Remember BAH, BAS, COLA are allowances, which means you pay no taxes, your peer does.

    I am sure Forbes go that number from the military...every yr, you will receive a doc saying your equivalent in the "real world" would be this...we all laugh at that. As a military member they also add in the benefit of the commissary, BX, Class Six, gas station and healthcare.

    You need to not look at the $$$ you receive, but what you actually keep in your pocket.

    3K a month no college debt, no housing costs (not living with the folks) is pretty sweet.
     
  4. homewith4

    homewith4 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    0
    With privitization of base housing happening all over the CONUS, expect in the future to pay utilities. Right now, in privitized housing, you pay the contractor the same amount you get for BAH. It's a wash financially, but you still pay "rent" every month. A 2nd LT and a Capt could live in an identical house, but pay 2 different rent amounts. The Capt does not get to pocket the additional money received in the BAH allowance. Long term, I don't know if they have planned any changes to that issue.
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,809
    Likes Received:
    956
    That may be true now (but not true a yr ago, at least at SJAFB). It really doesn't matter. BAH is an allowance and not taxed. This would be an accounting and finance issue. In other words it is the same as getting BAH or living on base for tax purposes. I maybe wrong, but I have yet to meet anyone who lives on base pay a rental check to anyone. What base are you talking about that charges military members rent for ON BASE housing?

    AS far as utilities that will be an incredible feat since the base runs the electric grid, and things like the golf course, baseball fields, playgrounds, schools, are interspersed within the housing community. Finally, many TLFs are in the housing area which causes even more issues. At Elmendorf the DV quarters are located next door to the wing king. How do you get that grid going?

    The 2nd Lt, 1st Lt and Capt are all company grade, thus the only difference in the size of their home would be how many dependents. Just like Field grade housing.

    The 0-3 living off base with another military members gets to pocket lots of money. The only real perk of being married to a military member is BAH. This is true for any military member because how BAH is determined for married couples.

    When we retired last October, are mtg pmt was less than the cap, and for 3 yrs at that base we did pocket it...it pd for our utilities and that is part of what the military expects you to do when they pay you BAH. Bullet was an 0-5.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2009
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,809
    Likes Received:
    956
    That may be true now (but not true a yr ago, at least at SJAFB). It really doesn't matter. BAH is an allowance and not taxed. This would be an accounting and finance issue. In other words it is the same as getting BAH or living on base for tax purposes. I am assuming that you live on base with this system...where do you write the check to? Not being rude, but if you do not write a check, than isn't that the same as the old system, just a different way the military charges the cost? They charge you XXX dollars and A&F immediately deduct it. You never see the cost, just like on base housing.

    The 2nd Lt, 1st Lt and Capt are all company grade, thus the only difference in the size of their home would be how many dependents. Just like Field grade housing. The AF has separated housing into flag/field/company... if you are a LT with 4 kids, you will get a bigger home than the Capt with none it has nothing to do with rank until you move into the next group, and when you do it is the same deal, rank does not determine the size of your home, the size of your family does.

    The 0-3 living off base with another military members gets to pocket lots of money. The only real perk of being married to a military member is BAH. This is true for any military member because how BAH is determined for married couples.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2009
  7. homewith4

    homewith4 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    0
    Laughlin AFB Texas, privitized in fall 2007. At that time, you were required to sign a 1-yr lease and have your rent electronically transfered to the contractor. Military clause would apply to break the lease.


    Part of the program in the newly built privitized housing is having each house metered seperately. Only in the "old" houses are they not able to determine actual utilities costs. I did not live there, but McGuire AFB had a "ultilities averaging program" to come up with a number of what the average family would use. How it was going to be implemented long term, I have no idea.


    At Laughlin, a 2Lt w/ no kids and a Capt w/ 2 kids could have the same floor plan, it happened on a regular basis. The same applied in the field grade ranks, there was one floor plan for field grade. You got the same house if you had no kids or 2 kids (8 VERY OLD 4 BR houses being the exception) You electronically paid your BAH in rent.

    I think Little Rock AFB was early in the privitization train. It would be interesting to hear how the system works there.
     
  8. Bullet

    Bullet Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Messages:
    994
    Likes Received:
    99
    Each year, the AF Accounting service sent out a letter to every member telling them what their "equivalent" pay was. It took into consideration the fact that you don't pay health insurance (something like $200/month or an extra $2400 / year), have a fantastic opportunity for cheap life insurance (SGLI, the best bargain out there, $400K of insurance for a REALLY cheap price. You'd be a fool not to get it.), and have the opportunity to shop on base, which is usually cheaper than off base (they figure about a 25% savings in grocery bills and sundries). Add in your allowances, and they come up with an "equivalent" salary much higher than what you are making. This is the amount of money you would have to make on "the outside" to be living in the same type of life-style. Usually a joke amongst the troops (who only saw "bottom line"), but there was some truth to the selling point.

    What I will say is this. You won't be Donald Trump in the service. But if you live within your means, you actually live a VERY comfortable life. By the time you're in for a number of years, you ARE making a very good salary, depending on occupation, location, and allowances. Pima never HAD to work a day during my career; she CHOSE to work for her own benefit (the extra few bucks WERE nice, however). But the story was: if she didn't want to work (such as when we were parents of young children and she wanted to be a "stay home" mom), we could easily afford it. Not something a lot of other young couples in America could say....
     
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,809
    Likes Received:
    956

    Sorry, but I had to laugh on that one. If you think AF base housing is bad, go visit the Army. When we were at CGSC (equiv of ACSC), Leavenworth announced mid-yr that one 0-4 housing was deemed condemned and would be doing so after they grad. We lived in the non-condemned homes that had 1970 cabinets, commissary flooring and less tha 1400 sqft for a family of 5. AF is known for their housing to be better than other branches. Yr after yr, Langley wins the best base housing in the service.

    The point is the AF takes care of their families because they know an unhappy family means the run risk of losing a high cost member. Not saying other branches aren't mindful, but after several tours where I met sister branches, they would tease me that "I was spoiled". Honestly, when it came to the military we were!

    Bullet is correct, we opted for me to stay home. Was money tight? Yes, but did we take the kids to Mickey D's, afford to drive at least 1 newer car? Yes. We just weren't living outside our means, in other words, if the BAH was 1300, than we made sure our mtg was 1100 to pay for cable and the electricity. Not only were we able to buy new cars every 3-4 yrs without me working, but we did with investing 30% of our paycheck, and when Bullet got for his promotion to major a brand new corvette. It should be stated he was a WSO and at that time no bonus like pilots. You can have an incredibly comfortable life, the pay is nothing compared to the fact that you will live in places you never dreamed of ...some good(elmendorf, UK), some bad (Mt Home, Almogordo).
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009

Share This Page