Okay kiddies, time for a full on rage against the machine rant from yours truly. Now I have had more than my fair share of injustices during my 23 years on active duty, but this isn’t about me. This is about some of our warriors sitting in HARMS WAY (mortar and rocket attacks) and not getting hostile fire pay. Not. Getting. HOSTILE. FIRE. Pay. These folks are assigned to units in country, receiving hostile fire, and not getting paid for it. Why?
Here’s what I know, and I’ll admit I haven’t researched much so far, but I do know it’s affecting my family personally. Evidently, you have to been in the combat zone for 30 consecutive days to receive hostile fire pay. Sounds like someone somewhere put this rule in place to prevent REMFs* from popping into the zone for a day and receiving HFP. Good idea. But, and this is a big but, what about those that live and work in the zone, but duties require them to leave for a day or two then return? Or what about some brave trooper who gets wounded and evac’d out of the AOR? Don’t they deserve the HFP for putting their asses on the line?
We have Air Evac teams in country whose job is to take the wounded, injured or KIA out of the AOR to treatment centers in Germany, we all know that. What we don’t know is that as soon as one of these missions of mercy takes off, those crew members and possibly their charges have just lost their chance for HFP. Am I the only one who is outraged by this? I mean, c’mon, all that is required to get the tax free exemption for a month of pay is to enter the combat zone! This includes aircraft that fly through the airspace, but never land in, the combat zone. WTF?
Some people VERY close to me just returned from a tour where the longest consecutive time spent in the zone was 27 days. The good news is that there are fewer mission (due to fewer casualties) than the last deployment they were on, but the bad news is they sacrifice just as much as any other member deployed there and encounter the same risks without the small compensation of HFP. Never mind that one such mission was flown ONLY because some visiting members of Congress refused to wear their seat belts and were in a car accident! They weren’t attacked; their driver lost control and these guys wound up injured through their own arrogance. I wonder what sort of allowance or entitlement they got for their few days in the zone? It just seems wrong that those that work, live, and sometimes die in a combat zone, don’t get this small compensation because of some arbitrary number thought up by some bean counter who probably couldn’t find the combat zone on a map.
*Rear Echelon Mother F^@!$r