Iraq Combat Over, Iraq Combat Pay Continues

The president has declared an end to combat operations in Iraq. But soldiers assigned there still draw combat pay.

Tom Maguire notes (“Combat Operations Are Over In Iraq; Combat Pay Is Not“) that the SECDEF has assured our soldiers in Iraq that the change in mission will not mean that they lose combat pay, saying that they’d get it so long as they were still in danger of getting killed by IEDs and snipers.

In fact, what most soldiers call “combat pay” is technically “Hostile Fire/Imminent Danger Pay.”

A member of a uniformed service may be entitled to Hostile Fire and Imminent Danger pay at the rate of $225 for any month in which he/she was entitled to basic pay and in which he/she was:

  • Subject to hostile fire or explosion of hostile mines;
  • On duty in an area in which he was in imminent danger of being exposed to hostile fire or explosion of hostile mines and in which, during the period he was on duty in that area, other members of the uniformed services were subject to hostile fire or explosion of hostile mines;
  • Killed, injured, or wounded by hostile fire, explosion of a hostile mine, or any other hostile action; or
  • On duty in a foreign area in which he was subject to the threat of physical harm or imminent danger on the basis of civil insurrection, civil war, terrorism, or wartime conditions.

Soldiers assigned to duty in places like Kosovo, Kenya, Liberia, and Sudan are eligible.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Boyd says:

    At least as important, I’d guess that servicemembers’ pay will continue to be tax-free while in Iraq.

  2. sam says:

    “they were still in danger of getting killed by IUDs and snipers.”
     
    Dangerous things, those IUDs, never know what they’ll do.

  3. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:
    Back during my all-expense-paid tour of sunny Southeast Asia, this was also an issue.  In fact, the infantry folk-wisdom went “War is Hell, but combat is a m*ther-f*cker.
    The given explanation seems cogent to me as far as it goes.  I don’t begrudge the “clerks and jerks” and “REMFs” their earning but how about a little something extra for the combat arms folks.  Maybe they call call that “combat pay”.
     

  4. Andy says:

    Combat pay has been continuous in the region since the 1991 Gulf War.  The tax-free benefit goes back to at least 1994 (when I first got it) if not 1991.

  5. Davebo says:

    Andy,
     
    I can confirm it went back to 1986 when I got 30 days tax free combat pay (and free postage) for one nights work near Libya when the only difference between every other nights op was that the planes came back without their missiles.
     
     

  6. James Joyner says:

    Combat pay has been continuous in the region since the 1991 Gulf War. The tax-free benefit goes back to at least 1994 (when I first got it) if not 1991.

    I got it in 1991. The irony was that there was a ridiculously low cap ($250 or some such) for officers that dated to the Vietnam era.  But they didn’t withhold at all.  Ultimately, I wound up owing the IRS money, which I dubbed the “Desert Storm Penalty” on my check memo.

     

     

  7. Brummagem Joe says:

    Sounds reasonable to me Jim. Even though the majority will be holed up in vast camps behind miles of barriers there’s still probably more chance of getting shot than in Baltimore. On second thoughts, maybe not.