Military Bonuses, the Draft & Patriotism

By: Jerry Nix, Freewavemaker, LLC – January 14, 2022

In this article I will be discussing my views and opinions on Military Bonuses, the Draft and Patriotism.  Remember as you read this that is my opinion and views on the subject.  You have a right to yours as well.  With that being said, let’s get into it.


Patriotism refers to the passionate love one has for their country. This virtue pushes citizens of a country to work for their country selflessly and make it better. A truly developed country is made up of true patriots. In other words, patriotism means keeping the country’s interest first and then thinking about oneself. Patriotism can be specifically seen during times of war. Moreover, it helps in building the nation stronger.


America, as we age, seems to be coming less and less patriotic.  Here’s an example of a study found in Newsweek Magazine recently:

Are you proud to be American? It’s a seemingly simple question, but also a loaded one. And myriad factors could impact the answer—including how old the person being asked is.

Polling shows there’s a patriotism gap between older and younger Americans; generation Z and Millennials are less likely to say yes to the question of national pride than those born in the decades preceding them.

Sixty-seven percent of 1,424 U.S. adults in I&I/TIPP polling said they were extremely or very proud to be American when asked between June 30 and July 2, during the build-up to Independence Day.  But among those aged 18 to 24, just 36 percent said the same, with 35 percent in that age bracket stating they were only slightly or not at all proud to be American.

Ophelie Jacobson is a reporter for Campus Reform, an activist group that calls itself a “conservative watchdog to the nation’s higher education system.”

Jacobson, who is studying at the University of Florida, asked young people in Washington, D.C. if they were proud to be an American for a recent Campus Reform video, which Fox News later reported on.

The first person in the clip told her they “feel embarrassed to be an American every day,” and referenced “racist history, colonization” and “currently just what’s going on with politics and the cops.”

Jacobson, who described herself as “a proud American,” told Newsweek it was “discouraging to see how unpatriotic so many young people are these days.”

You can read this full story here, until it is taken down, from Newsweek and I would encourage you to do so:

I can remember when I was between the ages of 18-24 it seemed to me that patriotism numbers ran much higher than 35% – even among those that were protesting the War in Vietnam.

Because of this lack in patriotism in our country today it is becoming harder and harder for our military branches to recruit the amount of military personnel that may be needed to keep our country strong. 

Military Pay:

Remember, true patriotism means keeping the country’s interest first and then thinking about oneself.

I joined the U. S. Army right out of high school (actually before graduation in April 1969) and had a deferred entry till June 1969 (just one week after graduation).  During this time the Vietnam War was raging and had I not joined I’d likely been drafted since the draft was in full swing.  I will discuss the draft more in detail later in this article.

The only bonus I got for joining was the chance to select my own specialized training (other than infantry) and I chose to be a mechanic on helicopters – which was a primary battle tool used during the Vietnam war.

As a private (pay scale E-1) with less than four months in the service my pay was $115.20 per month and I did not get than in advance … it was paid after the first month of service. There was no such thing as a bonus.  I continued to earn this each month until I had 4 months under my belt and then the pay went to $123.30 per month.  Had I lived off base (not possible the first 2 months while in basic training) I would have picked up an additional $60 per month for housing allowance since I had no dependents to support.

By the time I got out of active duty (2 years, 7 months and 5 days later) I was at the pay grade of E-5 (sergeant) and was paid $392.40 per month.

Now I must admit that while I served my time in Vietnam, I was paid Combat/Hazardous Duty pay of $65 each month.

For those of you wondering, I realize that time has gone by (about 50 years from since exiting the military to 53 years since joining the military) so allow me to put these in terms of today’s dollars for you:

  • My first pay-check $115.20 per month would equate to about $329.05 per month today.
  • My pay after four months $123.30 per month would equate to about $352.19 today.
  • My combat pay of $65 per month would amount to about $180.23 today.
  • My pay at the time I got out of the military of $392.40 per month would equate to about $1,056.18 per month today.

Now let’s compare yesterday’s equivalent income to what is actually paid Enlisted Persons today in the military (keeping in mind that all branches of the military are paid the same):

  • Military E-1 with less than four months of duty is paid $1,650 per month today.
  • Military E-1 with more than four months of duty is paid $1,785 per month today.
  • Military E-5 with less than 2 years is paid $2,542 per month.
  • Military E-5 with more than 2 years is paid $2,713 per month.
  • Combat/Hazardous Duty Pay is now $225 per month.

Naturally there are other allowances (such as dependents, housing, etc.) that can be added in.  Here’s the pay from a calculator found online at

A potential bonus when duty was done …

At the end of my time in the military I was sent to discuss my future potential with another recruiter.  The offer was to sign up for another 6 years and they would add one more stripe, raising my monthly pay from $392.40 to $466.50 per month PLUS an additional signing bonus of $10,000 deposited into my checking account that very day.

I chose not to re-enlist at the time and to be frank, it was probably one of the dumbest mistakes I made in my entire life.  After all, by then, I’d gone from Helicopter Mechanic in a war zone to Trumpet Player in the United States 2nd Armored Division Band at Ft. Hood Texas; Easy Duty!  But I wanted to get back into the “real world.”

Military Bonuses Today:

Remember, true patriotism means keeping the country’s interest first and then thinking about oneself.

Being out of the military for the past 50 years I have to admit that I have not paid a lot of attention to it.  When I think of it, I still kick myself for not staying in. 

However, I caught a news story the other day on Fox Business News that shocked me.  It was on the subject of how high Military Enlistment Bonuses have climbed.

So, being the inquisitive person, I am, I decided to do some research and then was really shocked and saddened at the same time.

By reading the following article …

I found that there are now two bonuses provided by the military:

  • Enlistment Bonuses – I just learned of this one …
  • Reenlistment Bonuses – I’ve known about this one since I was offered one.

There are many benefits to joining the military, but few directly affect your pay as much as enlistment bonuses. In fact, if you enlist in military, you may be eligible for up to $50,000 in cash bonuses.  Your actual bonus will depend on the service branch, specific job specialty and length of enlistment contract.

In a story from NPR.ORG we see this:

For the first time in its history, the U.S. Army is offering its largest bonus ever for new recruits who commit to six years of service — $50,000.

Up until now, the Army has offered a maximum bonus for new recruits of $40,000.

Maj Gen. Kevin Vereen, head of Recruiting Command, told The Associated Press that the Army hopes the increase in bonuses will help attract new talent amid a challenging landscape for military recruiters. Vereen said the pandemic has made it difficult to recruit both in schools and at public events, making the competition for getting qualified recruits in the door much more difficult.

“We are still living the implications of 2020 and the onset of COVID when the school systems basically shut down,” Vereen told the AP. “We lost a full class of young men and women that we didn’t have contact with, face-to-face.”

The maximum $50,000 bonus won’t go to every recruit. In a news release Wednesday, military recruiting officials said the incentive, for those qualified recruits who sign up for certain career paths, is aimed at competing for the “same talent” that the private sector is competing for.

The Army is trying to fill both part-time and full-time vacancies in about 150 career fields in both active-duty and reserve components.

“This is an opportunity to entice folks to consider the Army,” said Brig. Gen. John Cushing in a statement. “We’ve taken a look at the critical (military occupational specialties) we need to fill in order to maintain the training bases, and that is where we place a lot of our emphasis.”

The total incentive package for new Army recruits will be based on a range of factors — such as career field, individual qualifications, length of an enlistment contract and ship date for training, officials said.

Career-based incentives will range from $1,000 up to $40,000 for jobs that need to be filled or are difficult to fill due to specific qualifications, such as radar repairers and infantry and special forces.

Officials said the Army will also offer an incentive between $2,000 to $9,000 for those who are ready to ship out to basic training within 90 days — with more money being offered for those who ship out sooner.

In addition, there are also incentives for those who sign up for Airborne or Ranger schools.

Again, I encourage you to read both of these articles I have mentioned here:

I can understand the military’s need to recruit more individuals … but must we Buy Patriotism to do it?

Remember … patriotism means keeping the country’s interest first and then thinking about oneself.

I have a granddaughter who is in ROTC in High School.  When I congratulated her on her choice to consider the Military her response was, “Oh Pappy, I have no intention to join the military.  I am doing ROTC to help with college scholarships.” 

What has happened to the country?  When I was in high school, if you had no “intention” of trying to get into the military, you were not accepted into ROTC.  I don’t ‘know … but I wonder if it is the same now in College ROTC.  Can you be in the program with no thought of ever going into the military?  Perhaps one of my readers will know and let me know.

What about bringing back the draft?

If issues like the reduction of patriotism and the implications from Covid-19 are causing the military an inability to recruit new people as older ones retire or exit out of service … why not bring back the draft.

It is my understanding that the draft (not the Selective Service) was ended or stopped being used under the Nixon Administration in 1972-73.  In the 1968 presidential campaign, Nixon had promised to end the draft. During his time out of office, the GOP nominee had become interested in the prospect of an all-volunteer force. Nixon was influenced by Martin Anderson, an associate professor at Columbia University.

Nixon thought ending the draft could be an effective political weapon against the burgeoning anti-war movement. He believed middle-class youths would lose interest in protesting the war once it became clear that they would not have to fight, and possibly die, in Vietnam.


I guess President Nixon did not know or want to understand that this country was born out of protests and revolutions of its people.  Just because he ended the draft did not mean the protests (by some very patriotic people) would end.

There are several more reasons the draft was ended, according to some, which you can find by going to this link:

And for those not familiar with the draft and the Selective Service, you can get a complete history by going here:

There are those in congress that would like to see the draft brought back and the all-volunteer military come to an end.  While I am not a member of congress, I am for bringing the draft back and have been for some time – and that does not mean I would like to see an all-volunteer military … but if it doesn’t work … it doesn’t work. 

Some of the reasons I think we need to consider re-starting the draft:

  1. It will help those young people who graduate high school and still not understanding “what they want to be when they grow up” get some direction in life.  If nothing else it will certainly cement in their minds what they don’t want to be … but it most likely will teach them a skill they can use later in life.  There is more about the military than simply firing a weapon at another human being.
  2. A military draft is an equitable way to require public service.  It’s better than letting young adults run the streets and get into trouble. Specific classes of individuals are less likely to evade their fundamental civic responsibilities with this approach. Although there would be exceptions for higher education or medical conditions, it isn’t as easy to purchase your way out of service when a draft is in place. That means it is easier for everyone to see each other as fellow countrymen instead of separating one another because of their unique demographics.
  3. The draft could communicate to the rest of the world the seriousness of the country’s commitments.  Other countries require its citizens to serve in the military for a certain number of years – why shouldn’t America, the strongest country in the world, do the same if we want to remain the strongest.
  4. The draft could create a body of reservist that could augment the current military as individuals retire during peacetime and die or become disabled during war time.  When a country institutes a military draft, then it is creating a series of personnel replacements that can immediately serve when needed. It provides a large number of highly-trained reservists who can augment the fighting forces with their expertise. This advantage also allows for a quicker reinforcement during mobilization.
  5. A military draft actually creates more interest in performing actions for public welfare.  Even though the idea of a military draft is scary, there are numerous activities that everyone performs that are in the public interest. Most of those activities require individual sacrifices to provide for the common good. Some examples of these civic duties include paying taxes, jury duty, and volunteering time at local public schools. A military draft is another one of those sacrifices, even though the government mandates it. By putting personal needs aside for a specific time, usually 2-4 years with the current structure, it is possible to gain life experiences and vocational knowledge. These advantages can help everyone start creating the personal successes they want in life.
  6. A military draft would allow the government meet specific domestic needs.  A government must meet several domestic responsibilities to serve the general public. Many of these activities occur through its military, such as a building project from the Army Corps of Engineers. You will find people on active duty who help during natural disasters, volunteer to maintain community lands, and offer assistance at local hospitals. The military draft ensures that there are enough people available to meet these local needs so that international governments can’t wage war as a way to take resources.
  7. It will enhance the defensive capability of the country – especially during periods when an “all voluntary military” seems to not be working very well.  When the armed forces of a government have highly-trained soldiers and sailors ready for conflict, then it becomes more challenging for a foreign state to invade. Even if a declaration of war occurs and battles are fought on the homeland or in another country, a military draft allows for additional resources to get into the fight.
  8. A military draft can actually require the government to be more accountable for its actions.  When there is a military draft in place, then more families are directly connected to the daily operations of their government. The relatives of a draftee stay vigilant when reviewing current events so that they understand how safe their loved one is during any given circumstance. There is a notable desire to learn more about the threats that their government is attempting to fight, providing an opinion that offers more support.  This level of interaction keeps elected officials accountable for their choices at the same time. That means more soldiers and sailors can eventually come home because of this advantage.
  9. A draft into the military could give each person a unique support network.  When you serve in the military honorably in any way (draftee or volunteer), then you are an automatic member of one of the most respected organizations on the planet. This select group of people share stories, provide help, and offer encouragement wherever your orders take you. That means you have a family at almost every destination.  Your status in this brotherhood and sisterhood is something that no one can ever take away. This membership can even come with certain benefits, like a job offer, and financial incentives like the GI Bill that can make your life a lot easier.
  10. It will reduce the financial pressure of armed services support.  When a military draft is active, it is cheaper than encouraging volunteers to sign up for service. Tens of thousands of dollars get paid to new recruits under the current structure of the U.S. military. That money could go somewhere else if service was mandatory.
  11. It is an opportunity to see the world that most people will never have a chance to do.  A military draft might not be the best way to start a career for some people, but it can be a fantastic way to see the world. The U.S. armed forces have places at Disney World, Hawaii, and other coastal locations where you can get some rest and relaxation on approved downtime. When you receive your orders, there are several international bases where you might be stationed after completing your basic training. It is even possible at times to get on a military transport plane for free if you’re going in the same direction.
  12. There are opportunities for a drafted person to rise in the ranks.  Being drafted doesn’t mean you get stuck at the lowest levels of rank for the rest of your life. You can earn promotions during your service that bring better pay and additional responsibilities. These traits can also translate into opportunities in the civilian world after you finish your contract.  Some people can even have their undergraduate degree completed after their time in the service because of the expertise they show to their superiors. If given a choice between hiring someone straight from college or an individual with 2-3 years of practical experience, most hiring managers choose the latter option.

These are 12 reasons to reinstitute the draft in the United States.  I am certain that those who oppose the draft can come up with 12 or more not to reinstitute the draft. Below is an article by Keith Miller who will list many of these for you and was part of the ones I’ve listed above.  If interested in the subject, I would encourage you to read this article:

Lt. General David W. Barno (Ret.) and Dr. Nora Bensahel have also written a wonderful article “Why we Still Need the Draft” that you can read here:

In this article they attempt to debunk three myths about the draft and I also encourage you to read this:

Myth 1:  We will never again need a draft. Why are we even having this conversation?

Myth 2:  Draftees dilute the quality of the force and diminish military effectiveness.

Myth 3:  Wars are way too complicated today for anyone but long-serving professionals.

Finally, there is the argument of whether or not we should even continue with the Selective Service System (which oversees the draft) and whether or not women should be included in signing up for Selective Service when they attain age 18 as men are required to do today.  The US Supreme court was supposed to hear arguments on this in the past year but decided to delay those arguments.

Here’s a piece by that looks into this.

My Opinion … the draft has not been in effect since the early 1970s and the end of the Selective Service System may be at hand.  I say it is a mistake and has been a mistake to do away with the draft.  I also believe that if there is going to be a draft it needs to include both Male and Female in the age range of 18-35.  If there is not going to be a draft then the Selective Service System needs to be brought to an end and money needs to quit being wasted on it.  There should always be certain exemptions to the draft (college or careers already in the making, etc.), but there is nothing wrong with the Military offering jobs to people that could do well and has no direction in life at this point.

We need to stop buying patriotism and throwing bonuses at people to try to get them to be patriotic.  It is one thing for the military to use bonuses to entice quality personnel to reenlist and extend their military career’s (they are already patriotic or they would not even consider it).  It is another to give a $50,000 bonus, or even less, to a person that is unknown and that has yet to prove themselves.  Bring back the draft and the military will not have to compete with corporate America for good people.   

When I was a young soldier in Vietnam who not only volunteered to join the Army but also volunteered to go to Vietnam it did not matter to me if the person next to me was a volunteer or a draftee … nor did it matter to them if I was a volunteer or a draftee.  We were brothers who were willing to lay down our lives for each other.  If nothing else, the military teaches comradery and patriotism … they do not have to buy it.  The military needs to stop competing with corporate America at the expense of taxpayers and do what they have the power to do.  Draft people if enough are not volunteering.  Quit being so appeasing to the masses!

My belief now is that if they reinitiate the draft … they will get more volunteers than they need, especially since at this time we are not at war.  If we go to war, we will need the draft as small as our military is becoming.

I will close with this … One of the greatest Presidential Quotes of all time:

I’d love to hear or read your comments on Military Bonuses, the Draft & Patriotism.

Have a good week,

Jerry Nix, Freewavemaker, LLC.

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