Field Report #246, January 16, 2006

A Raise is a Terrible Thing to Waste
Congratulations! Military service members are set to receive another well-deserved pay raise in January. But don’t run to the Post Exchange yet – not until you’ve considered the tremendous impact that even a 3.1 percent raise could have on your future. Bypassing a few luxuries in favor of smart financial choices could put you on the fast track to eliminate debt, create a financial cushion and secure your retirement.

Top 10 Things to Expect When Preparing for Basic Training
Since I have published The Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook, hundreds of people have asked me for advice. Most of the questions are the same, and served as the inspiration behind this article, in which I rank the top 10 things you should expect when departing for basic training. I have attempted to put this top ten list in order, with number 1 being the most important. So, without further hesitation, below are the Top 10 Things to Expect When Preparing for Boot Camp

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New year, new MREs
If you are tired of trying to make Meal-Ready-to-Eat menus more palatable, then your search may be over. The field rations have progressed a long way from the C-rats of the past, and they continue to change even to this day.

Improved Armored Vests Reflect Changing Enemy Tactics
U.S. military members serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and other dangerous locales will soon receive revamped armored vests that provide more side protection, senior officials said here today.

Changing Face of War Means Morphing Guard, Reserve
The days of the weekend warrior are over, a top defense official said here yesterday. Thomas F. Hall, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, said the country has entered the era of an operational reserve force vs. a strategic one.

Combat Pay Exempt from Federal Income Taxes
If you're serving in a designated combat zone or hazardous duty area, much of your military pay and reimbursements will be exempt from federal income tax. For commissioned officers, the monthly exclusion is capped at the highest enlisted pay, plus any hostile fire or imminent danger pay received. For 2005, this limit is $5,882.70. The military paymaster should take care of this delineation for you, but you can find a listing of exactly what type of compensation or benefit is deemed taxable or exempt in IRS Publication 3, Armed Forces Tax Guide.

QUICK TIP: Get Ready For Basic - Physical
When you arrive at a Service Academy or Bootcamp, not only will most of you be away from home for the first time, you will be placed in a stressful environment and expected to excel in military education, close quarter living, team work, and physical fitness tests (PFT).

  • Refinements in medical care help more war wounded survive
  • U.S. ‘Threatened N.Korea with Military Action’
  • Army is discharging reservists who refused to mobilize
  • Iraq War Could Cost US Two Trillion
  • Cell phones are out for drivers on stateside bases

  • Let's Create the Perfect Army
  • Off to Basic Next Week
  • Switching Sevices
  • The Meaning of Freedom
  • EU and IRAN