How Much Do You Get Paid in the Marines?

U.S. Marines are sworn to defend what the American flag represents.
U.S. Marines are sworn to defend what the American flag represents. (Image: part of us flag image by Jorge Moro from

The U.S. Marine Corps is a branch of the U.S. Navy who trains its members to attack as a mobile amphibious force. They typically launch from the sea to establish control on foreign soil, until other U.S. Armed Forces members, such as the army, can maintain that control. The marines then proceed to establish a new point of control. Because their jobs are hazardous, they are entitled to special salaries and benefits.


As with all members of the U.S. Armed Forces, the basic pay for marines varies by grade levels, years of service and whether they are enlisted (E), warrant officers (W) or officers (O). The lowest grade level is one. For example, those with fewer than two years of service get monthly pay of $1,467.60 for E-1, $2,721 for W-1 and $2,784 for O-1. At the highest levels, those with 20 years of service receive $5,436.60 at E-9, $6,820.80 at W-5 and $15,400.80 at O-10. Salaries continue to go up after 20 years of service. All amounts are as of 2011 from the U.S. Marine Corps' official pay tables.


As part of their compensation, marines can live on base for free and receive free food. Facilities normally provide for families and include schools, day care centers, chapels, medical centers, recreational spaces and shopping areas. Those who choose to live off base receive a monthly allowance. The Veterans Administration also provides loans so marines can buy homes both during and after service.


Marines also receive benefits that are often equal to or greater than those they would receive in civilian life. For example, comprehensive medical insurance including vision and dental is free and available to immediate family at low cost. At least 30 days of paid leave, or vacation, is available per year, in addition to free travel around the world for assigned posts and training. Though the marines provide extensive training for military and career duties, they also provide tuition assistance for college and encourage selected officers to take 18 months' leave of absence to gain advanced degrees.


Those who serve at least 20 years in the U.S. Marines, or any U.S. military branch, receive retirement benefits that include a pension with cost-of-living increases. Disability and combat compensation can add to this pay. Many of the benefits enjoyed during active service are also available after retirement. These include uniforms, insignia and medals; health care; life insurance; free relocation to any point in the continental United States; and education benefits. The Veterans Administration also provides funds toward burial expenses. All honorably-discharged veterans are also entitled to burial in a national cemetery, a government-provided marker and a flag.

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