The United States military consists of six branches of around 2.4 million people, both active duty and in the reserves. For these people, serving their country is a full-time job, one that pays a firm salary and benefits.
Of course, the sum is dependent on rank. From an entry-level cadet to an O-4 major in the Army, here are the salaries of those serving in the United States military.
Enlisted Members Get $386.50/Month For Groceries And Food
No matter the branch or rank, a vast majority of military personnel receive allowances for supplies such as food and other various groceries they might need. As of 2020, enlisted members of the military are given $386.50 per month.
On the other hand, officers receive a $266.18 allowance per month.
Cadets And Midshipmen: $1,186/Month
As a cadet or midshipman, a student at one of the five service academies, they are on the lowest end of the pay scale. Even so, they are still paid a monthly sum, something that other college students can’t say!
Each month, students receive $1,186 per month for an annual sum of $14,232.
E-1s With Less Than Four Months Experience: $1,650/Month
Privates in the Marines and Army, Airman Basics in the Air Force and Space Force, and Seaman Recruits in the Navy and Coast Guard are the lowest ranks an enlisted service member can be, an E-1 (enlisted-1).
But even with less than four months of active duty under their belts, E-1 service members receive $1,650 per month.
E-2 Service Members: $2,000.70/Month
An E-2 is the next tier in military ranking. This rank goes to private first class in the Marines, seaman apprentice in the Navy and Coast guard, an airman in the Air Force and Space Force, and a private second class in the Army.
Their monthly allowance shoots up to $2,000.70 per month for an annual salary of $24,008.40.
E-3s With Less Than Two Years Experience: $2,103.90/Month
When a service member makes it to the rank of E-3, their salary is based on how many years they have been enlisted. The ranking of E-3 includes Marine lance corporals, Army privates first class, Air Force and Space Force airmen first class, and Navy and Coast Guard seamen.
These servicemen and women with less than two years of experience will make $2,103.90 per month, while those with at least three years under their belts will earn $2,371.80 per month.
E-4: $2,330.40/Month – $2,829/Month
E-4 servicemen and women hold the rankings of Army specialists and corporals, Navy and Coast Guard petty officers third class, Marine corporals, and Air Force and Space Force senior airmen.
With at least six years of experience, this rank will make around $2,829/month, a solid $500 more than those of equal rank but less than two years in service.
E-5: $2,541.60/Month – $3,606.90/Month
Those servicemen and women who reach E-5 status had a long journey, climbing their way up the ranks from an E-1. But it’s well worth it.
From petty officers second class in the Navy and Coast Guard to sergeants in the Army and Marines and staff sergeants in the Air Force and Space Force, service members who reach an E-5 pay grade have spent at least 12 years in service, giving them a chance to make up to $43,282.80/year.
E-6: $2,774.40/Month – $4,297.20/Month
Petty officers first class in the Navy and Coast Guard, technical sergeants in the Air Force and Space Force, and staff sergeants in the Army and Marines have the privilege of an E-6 rank in the military.
This not only means they’ve served for at least 18 years but that they receive a monthly salary of between $2,774.40 and $4,297.20 for an annual salary of around $51,566.40.
E-7: $3,207.60/Month – $5,765.40/Month
The pay gap between E-7 servicemen and women is quite something. This ranking includes Marine gunnery sergeants, Navy and Coast Guard chief petty officers, Army sergeants first class, Air Force and Space Force master sergeants.
If an E-7 has served for less than two years, their annual salary is only $38,491.20. At the same time, E-7 servicemen and women with at least 26 years of experience can earn an annual salary of $69,184.80.
E-8: $4,614.60/Month – $6,581.40/Month
Only service members with at least eight years of experience can hop into the E-8 pay scale. This rank includes senior master sergeants in the Air Force and Space Force, first sergeants in the Army, master sergeants in the Army and Marines, and senior chief petty officers in the Navy and Coast Guard.
These servicemen and women can make anywhere between $55,375.20 and $78,976.80 per year.
E-9: $5,637/Month – $8,752.50/Month
When servicemembers hit the rank of an E-9, their monthly paycheck goes up substantially. Navy and Coast Guard master chief petty officers, Army sergeant majors, Air Force and Space Force chief master sergeants, and Marine master gunnery sergeants and sergeant majors earn between $5,637 and $8,752.50 per month.
E-9s with at least 38 years of experience can make up to a six-figure salary, earning around $105,030 annually.
W-1: $3,309.30/Month – $5,718.60/Month
W-1s or warrant officer 1s have their ranks approved by congress and are experts in a specific skill. While they technically have a higher ranking than enlisted members of the military, they don’t necessarily have as much experience, bringing their monthly income lower.
Besides the Air Force and Space Force, all branches have warrant office 1s, paying the rank between $3,309.30 – $5,718.60 per month.
W-2: $3,770.40/Month – $6,293.10/Month
The next tier is a Chief Warrant Officer, a W-2, a rank only available in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and the Marines. Depending on how many years served in these branches, servicemen and women will have varying pay grades.
Those who have served less than two years will receive an annual salary of $45,244.80. At the same time, W-2s who have served for at least 24 years can make up to $75,517.20 per year.
W-3: $4,261.20/Month – $7,474.50/Month
A serviceman or woman who has worked their way up the W-3 ladder has immense skills and brings invaluable expertise and resources to their team. A W-3 Chief Warrant Officer is found in several branches of the United States military, including the Army, Marines, Coast Guard, and Navy.
W-3 officers can expect to make at least $51,134.40 per year or, with at least 26 years under their belt, $89,694 per year.
W-4: $4,665.90/Month – $8,691/Month
While people in the Army, Marines, and Navy shoot up to a W-5 pay grade, those in the Coast Guard become a Chief Warrant Officer 4, or a W-4. And these servicemen and women are paid a nice chunk of change for their time.
In 2021, W-4s with less than two years of experience are making $55,990.80 per year, while those with at least 30 years of experience make $104,292 per year.
W-5: $8,296.20/Month – $10,856.40/Month
The rank of W-5 is given to those in the Army, Marines, and Navy, and it is the highest paygrade they’ll be able to receive. Even though chief warrant officers are capped out, they are very well compensated for their service.
Servicemen and women who have at least 20 years of experience will earn $99,554.40 per year, while those with at least 38 years of experience will make $130,276.80 per year.
If a serviceman or woman is lucky enough to reach the ranking of general in the Army, Marines, Air Force, or Space Force, or admiral in the Coast Guard or Navy, they’ve reached the tier of O-10, and their salary has been capped.
Not that it matters, since this prestigious ranking comes with a solid base pay of $199,299.60 per year.
O-9: $16,012.50/Month – $16,608.30/Month
The pay scale for an O-9 doesn’t even start until the service member has been in the military for at least 20 years. A lieutenant general in the Army, Marines, Air Force, and Space Force, and a vice admiral in the Coast Guard and Navy, those who make it to these ranks are very well compensated.
The base pay starts at $192,150 per year while those with at least 26 years of experience earn up to $199,299.60 per year.
O-8: $11,329.50/Month – $16,333.20/Month
Due to the number of responsibilities on the shoulders of O-8s, they’ve earned their enormous salary. This tier includes the ranking of major generals of the Army, Marines, Air Force, and Space Force, and rear admirals of the Coast Guard and Navy.
While the base pay for this tier starts at $135,954 per year, it can be as much as $195,998.40 for those with at least 34 years of experience.
O-7: $9,414.30/Month – $14,065.80/Month
O-7 is an elite ranking that not many people see. It includes a brigadier general of the Army, Marines, Air Force, and Space Force, and a rear admiral lower half in the Coast Guard and Navy.
Even the servicemen and women with the least experience can expect to make a six-figure salary, with the base pay starting at $112,971.60 per year. Those with at least 30 years of experience make $168,789.60 per year!
O-6: $7,139.10/Month – $12,638.40/Month
The tier of O-6 includes colonels in the Army, Marines, Air Force, and Space Force, and captains in the Coast Guard and Navy. Getting to this level is no easy feat, and those who do are well compensated for their service.
The base pay for an O-6 is $85,669.20 per year, while those with 30 years of service can make up to $151,660.80.
O-5: $5,951.40/Month – $10,111.20/Month
O-5s are the next in line of commissioned officers. This tier is reserved for the ranking of lieutenant colonels in the Army, Marines, Air Force, and Space Force, while they’re called commanders in the Coast Guard and Navy. No matter their actual title, O-5s are paid a generous sum depending on their experience.
Those with little to no experience can expect to make $71,416.80 per year, while those with at least 22 years under their belt can make $121,334.40.
O-4: $5,135.10/Month – $8,573.70/Month
Next on the tier are O-4s, a major in the Army, Marines, Air Force, and Space Force, and a lieutenant commander in the Coast guard and Navy. While it is rare, some people move up to an O-4 rank quickly, with no experience.
These servicemen and women can expect to make around $61,621.20 per year. Those who have at least 18 years of experience are pushing past six figures, though, earning $102,884.40 per year.
O-3E: $6,022.80/Month – $7,839/Month
An O-3E captain or lieutenant will expect to make a nice annual sum, even without years of experience under their belts. Right out the gate, service members at this rank can earn up to $72,273.60 per year.
And that’s nothing compared to those people with experience. For those with at least 18 years of experience, their annual salary can reach up to $94,068 per year!
O-3: $4,514.70/Month – $7,345.20/Month
The next tier is an O-3, a rank of captain in the Army, Marines, Air Force, and Space Force, and a rank of lieutenant in the Coast Guard and Navy. It is possible to achieve this rank without experience, but the pay is a bit lower.
Those with no experience can expect to earn around $54,176.40 per year, while those O-3s with at least 14 years of experience can earn up to $88,142.40 per year.
O-2E: $5,289.90/Month – $6,251.70/Month
While an O-2E is technically in the same rank as an O-2, their pay grade is a bit higher. Before becoming eligible for O-2E status, a person first must have at least four years of service as a warrant officer or enlisted member under their belts.
If a person reaches O-2E status, they’ll start with a yearly salary of $64,782. But those with at least 14 years of experience can expect to earn up to $75,020.40.
O-2: $3,901.20/Month – $5,398.50/Month
A first lieutenant in the Army, Marines, Air Force, and Space Force and lieutenant junior grade in the Navy and Coast Guard are all under the ranking of an O-2. And, like other military rankings, an O-2s pay is dependent on their experience.
Those with less than two years of experience will earn $46,814.40 per year, while those with at least six years will earn $64,782 per year.
O-1E: $4,260.60/Month – $5,289.90/Month
An O-1E makes just a little bit more than an O-1 officer. Again, it all has to do with years of experience. While O-1s are typically just out of the academy or an ROTC program, O-1Es have some time in service under their belts.
They need to serve for at least four years before earning their commission and O-1E status. These service members can earn up to $51,127.20 per year, while those with at least 14 years of experience can make up to $63,478.80 per year.
O-1: $3,385.80/Month -$4,260.60/Month
Even though Officer 1s (O-1) outrank W-5s, they’re paid significantly less. This is because O-1s are typically very young without the experience of a W-5, having most likely graduated from one of the academies of an ROTC program.
O-1 second lieutenants and ensigns are still paid a nice sum, though. They earn anywhere between $40,629.60 and $51,127.20 per year.