"Non-combat" Iraq troops still get combat pay
Since the 4/2 Stryker brigade left Iraq earlier this month, there has been quite a debate about whether combat missions are officially over in Iraq. The U.S. military says that there are now only training brigades left, outfitted with things like more engineers to train their Iraqi counterparts. And on Tuesday, President Obama is scheduled to give an Oval Office speech declaring the end of the combat phase of the war. So does that mean combat is over?
According to the military’s payroll records at least, it’s not. According to this report, soldiers will still get combat pay in Iraq even after Sept. 1, when combat operations officially end and the mission becomes a training one. That soldiers still get combat pay suggests that the declared end of combat is more a symbolic gesture rather than a substantive one. After all, there are still roughly 50,000 soldiers still in Iraq. And even if they are not tasked with a combat role, the minute they are under attack and have to fire a weapon, they became a combat soldier again. There is no such thing as a non-combat soldier in a war zone, and their continued combat pay reflects that.