Posted on May 18, 2014
SGT Headquarters Platoon Sergeant
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First let me say I am biased in my opinion since I am a single soldier. The Army stacks the deck against single soldiers, in a variety of ways. There are standards that single soldiers are forced to obey that married soldiers are not. Purely just because of their marriage.

Housing is my personal biggest area of concern being a single soldier. I am a 27 yr old college graduate. I get the same "rights" in my living quarters that a single 17/18 yr old straight out of high-school would get. If that same soldier is married, they get considerably more freedom, pay, and budget control than I do.

I as a single soldier get no say in where I live. At my current duty station the BAH for my rank and dependent status (Single, E-4) would be $1,068. So I essentially pay $1,068 dollars a month to live in the barracks. The barracks I live in have two separate bedrooms, with a common kitchen and bathroom area. Since there are two soldiers in each little barracks apartment, we collectively pay $2,136 a month for this set up. That is FAR more then what a similar apartment style would cost in the surrounding communities. If single soldiers were allowed to have BAH and live where they choose we could potentially save several hundred dollars a month by controlling our living expenses. That's not including the approximately $300 a month we are forced to pay for the DFACs.

There is also the issue of furniture in the barracks. Again we have no say, we get whatever the Army already has in the room. Personally I would love to have an actual nice mattress, instead of these cheap plastic blue ones.

Barracks inspections. I can't stand barracks inspections. The inspections are completely up to the person doing them and what they "think" the standard should be. One inspection your could be fine, the next one your getting lectured about how to make a bed. Last summer I had to write a 2 page paper for an LT about personal standards in the barracks. All because my bed didn't have hospital corners. (That morning when I get up I tossed my blanket off to the right of me, where it was just sorta crunched up against the wall running the length of my bed.) If I want to know what I am allowed to have and not have in my room, I have to read three different policy letters to find out. Division could allow something, Brigade could say no, and then Battalion have nothing about it at all. I get that lower commands are allowed to restrict privileges as they see fit. I'm just saying it's cumbersome to have to read three different levels policy to find out what is what.

It annoys me that I have to have periodic inspections(currently every morning before PT for my company) while married soldiers receive no inspections just because they are married. I get that they have a family, I just don't see why that should stop a squad leader from making a planned, announced, and visual walk-through of the house of the married soldier. Keeping the same standard of living as a single soldier should be part of the military life.

Meal Deductions. I don't think the DFACs are worth the $300 a month I have to pay. I hate having to "play" the "I am a Meal Card Holder" card to get lunch sometimes during work. It's usually followed by a married soldier saying "I'm working thru lunch, you don't see me bitching about wanting to leave for food". True. However when we miss our lunch it's gone. The money we paid is gone rather we ate that meal or not. Married people if they bring their lunch it'll still be there later. If they eat out, then well that's just money they didn't spend that day. They can use it tomorrow to get twice as much for lunch or eat somewhere more expensive depending on their budget.

We get no say in what sounds good for dinner. It's whatever the DFAC has. Sometimes that means either fried or grilled chicken. If they run out of one thing, it'll be whatever they have left. It's not right. It leaves married people with control over their diet and single soldiers with whatever the Army needed to clean out of the fridge.

The above is just Big Army things, the discrimination continues all the way down to the company level. At my company single soldiers who live in the barracks are not allowed to park in the lot in front of the company. Now our barracks is approximately 3/4 mile down the road. Our motor pool is another 3/4 mile the other direction. I find it silly that an entire parking lot is reserved for married people. Sure single soldiers can drive to work, but we have to park in the barracks across the street. Which is not the barracks we live in. Married people can't park in that same lot if the one in front of company is full? To a point I can understand the reasoning behind this, but single soldiers have to leave and run here and there just like our married counter-parts. Why should they get special parking treatment? I don't see anyone stopping married people from using the barracks washers and dryers to avoid buying their own/going to coin laundry mats. Why are married people allowed to dip their hands in our honey and slap ours away from theirs?

Like I said from the start I'm biased. I look over the fence and see greener grass. Perhaps this is all just one single soldier bitching and complaining.

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Update FEB 2019: Since I originally posted this message, I have gotten married. My view on the subject has not changed. I want to respond to some of the overarching themes in everyone responses.

“Quit bitching/whining/complaining.” I feel there is a difference between logically laying out issues and grievances and just bitching about them. The number of leaders who contributions on this post/topic amounted to “quit saying words” is disheartening.

“Get married/Army will issue you a wife.” Saying to get married just to move out of the barracks is a failure of leadership. Those of you (in my opinion) with that mentally should reconsider what you do/did and what your job is/was. As a former Infantry NCO I have dealt with the countless issues that arise when a soldier quickly marries someone for the wrong reason (example: get out of the barracks). The domestic issues, spouse calling in to the Staff Duty, soldier isn’t training because of counseling/FAP/court/Divorce related nonsense, greatly diminishes readiness which the last I checked the Army still considers to be pretty important.

“I had more money/I wish I was back in the barracks/ but but bills! etc.” Bull. I wish I could challenge anyone who says that to actually prove it. As stated, I am married now. I have more money, flexibility, and financial freedom then I did as a single E-4. Now some of that is because I’m a higher rank. Part of it is because I use BAH as intended to cover housing/bills, my BAS for food, and having the control over how much I spend on those two items is very important. Also, my spouse works. I have come to realize that is less than common for married soldiers in the Army. However, I would argue that getting married and not having both spouses working is a decision that you made going in to it. I’m not arguing/stating if it’s the right or wrong choice. It’s what you decided worked for ya’ll. To me it’s the equivalent of a private going out and buying that 23% interest Mustang then complaining about how much money it costs and how he used to have it so much better without that car payment. If you choose (by getting married/having kids) to feed/house/care for additional people (spouse/kids) and yet do nothing to increase your income than yeah…you’ll have less money. That is a very poor argument for what the original post was about.

a. Hopefully ^above^ I’ve made my point clear and concise seems a little muddy to me, I guess we shall see in future comments.

“Move off post.” That’s not an option. Well I guess it is, however single soldiers still have to maintain the barracks room they get assigned, they still wouldn’t get the BAH entitlement, and they would have to still pay the DFAC out of their BAS. Do I need to continue on the ignorance of that statement? Sure, there’s a packet you can submit and ask to receive those allowances, I’ve only ever seen get accepted once and that was when my BDE changed from Light to Armored, only for E-5s, and it was suggested only if they were on orders and would be PCS’ing soon anyhow. They wanted non-PCS’ing E-5s still in the barracks. I don’t recall if I stated it in my original post but that unofficial additional duty of being an NCO at the barracks is crap. “You’re an NCO at the barracks keep everyone in line down there after work and on weekends”, thought that’s what CQ was for. I’ll also comment on the “single people off post would party to much/be late to formation/traffic at the gates/ get in trouble in town more” line of nonsense. It’s ignorant. Along with the “paying dues” comments.

Veterans- I appreciate you are still active in the boarder military community, and recognize that your time in the service paved the way for what we did/do/have accomplished today. However, pointing out how things were worse yesterday compared today and to “suck it up” is lazy. There is no reason we can’t keep pointing out things today to make tomorrow even better. I’m sure there is crap I can’t even fathom that ya’ll dealt with back in the 60s, 80s, and what have you that were fixed because of people continuing to bring the issue up.

Lastly, I’ve enjoyed reading the varied amount of responses everyone has on the topic. If mine come off as aggressive or across the line it was not my intention. When I posted the original stuff above 4+ almost 5 years ago I never expected it to get attention and still receive emails notifications years later. I’m fairly sure I’ve read 90% of the comments because Rally Point sends me an email every time someone comments. No I did not add that picture at the top, it’s the website. Sorry if you clicked on a Rally Point ad somewhere that linked to this post only to see it’s from 2014. I don’t control those. It’s the website. Yes I’m sure there are a few grammar and spelling errors. If you point it out at the beginning of a comment, I’m more likely to see it and correct the issue. Cheers to several more years of being told why I’m wrong.
Edited 2 mo ago
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LTC Program Manager
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Soldier- If I could vote you up multiple times I would. As a single CPT I think I had a dissertation I would give to anyone who would listen about this topic. As far as the Army is concerned because you are unmarried you are worthless... I mean worth less than a married soldier. (But you are expected to work more).
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SGT Mark Moen
SGT Mark Moen
1 mo
Marriage is not all the reward the single make it seem to be. I was single while in the Army, I do not see any discrimination for a man or a woman making a dedication and devotion for the posterity for which we serve. I felt honored, not discriminated against as I served for the posterity, the future of this country.
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CSM Patrick Durr
CSM Patrick Durr
15 d
All bullshit
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SGT Dan Powers
SGT Dan Powers
6 d
CSM Patrick Durr - You could have added something cogent to the conversation if you felt that way about it. Instead your comment looks like what some of the CSM's I knew might say. They often forgot all about their purpose at command level vis a vis the enlisted soldiers in their command while falling all over themselves to suck up to the commander, instead. Only leaving their tent to tell some poor slob with grease all over him while under the hood of a vehicle he's out of uniform, or complain about the condition of it after just having done some necessary dirty work. Nothing positive to say, nothing relevant to add to the lower enlisted experience, despite their own, typically long experience. Almost useless when the mission actually began. I hope you were not one of those.
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CWO2 Shelby DuBois
CWO2 Shelby DuBois
6 h
It's comments like this that make me wonder. This is a profession of arms...it's not at job. You don't like it...go find a civilian job. These petty 'discrimination' arguments go in the shitter with 'why do I have to salute...it's demeaning' and 'why shouldn't I get promoted when my peer does?" gripes.
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SSG Battalion Intelligence (S2)
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I remember coming back from the field, 10:30 at night, having formation after 2-3 weeks of downrange... filthy vehicles, filthy tracks, filthy weapons, tired, cleaning up after MILES blanks... and we'd have formation:

"Married soldiers, dismissed! Single soldiers! Clean weapons until further notice!"

And then they honestly can't figure out why some guy goes out and marries "some chick" he met at a bar two weeks ago.
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GySgt John Hudson
GySgt John Hudson
1 mo
In my units, only the officers headed home after being in the field and even some of them stayed until all was cleaned up and made ready to redeploy. We usually were a tight knit bunch. But then, that was Recon, Special ops, and SEALs. Regular line troops did much the same. Married or not, you stayed until all was cleaned and done. I am pretty sure that Rangers and Green Beret did the same too.
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PO2 Nick Burke
PO2 Nick Burke
10 d
MAJ Byron O.
See the difference between 01 and E1-3 barracks... How many last minute, unannounced inspections did you have to stand? Did you live in 2 man barracks housing 3 or 4 men? Open bay? I'm betting on no.
Were you denied time off and assigned extra duties because the married people needed to see their families?
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MAJ Byron O.
MAJ Byron O.
10 d
PO2 Nick Burke I was enlisted first and some of the questions you asked falls under RHIP.
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PO2 Nick Burke
PO2 Nick Burke
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MAJ Byron O.
Yes RHIP.
Most officers don't have your experience.
It's when SM of equal rank are treated differently because of marital status that is the issue.
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SFC Douglas Eshenbaugh
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I think you’re looking at some of this in the wrong light. The Army didn't say that they would pay you for housing and food. They said they would provide housing and food for you, same with the married personnel. I've seen families denied to be allowed to live off post because they had room for them in on post housing. And $357.55 just barely covers your food costs as that's just less than $4 a meal for one person.

I'm not saying you don't have valid points but the monetary side is not the direction you want to go into. As CW3 Dean pointed out things have improved but that means you shouldn't stop trying to make things better. The three SOPs, yea bring that up to your BOSS rep that's something they should be able to get fixed. Same with the parking and with the married people using the Single Soldiers laundry room. Miss a lunch, file a miss meal voucher. I make every precaution to make sure my meal card holders get food so I don't have to deal with that paperwork or explain the 1SG why you didn't eat. As for the control of food, I think some of our married brothers would disagree with you on the choices they get when they get home.

Room inspections, I hate to tell you but you're an outlier on the bell curve of the normal denizens of the barracks. Some considerations should be made (I think sometimes my peers are too black and white when dealing with the shades of gray) given your background but they do need to happen. I remember what happen when the BOSS program got the NCOs restricted from doing barracks inspections back in the late 90s. It wasn't pretty.
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Cpl Ronald Hart
Cpl Ronald Hart
2 mo
I joined out of family heriatage-would do it again--you sign the line--you belong to them--I survived 4+2 and never looked back--sounds like you all should have joined the AIR FARCE
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LT Jason Godusky
LT Jason Godusky
1 mo
SGT Tim. Wilson - in the Navy it's called mid-rats. And it was always the best food served that day!
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CPL Kristi Mason
CPL Kristi Mason
1 mo
I was an Army E-4 in Hawaii and lived in the barracks this was in 1991. My barracks room was small. I had a roommate we had a hotel size refrigerator, our lockers and 3 drawer cabinet. Thats all i had. Meals I had to go to the chow hall or eat at a restaurant on base coming out of pocket because i missed chow hall time. Didn't have to pay utilities bills, no cable bill, water, garbage etc. I would laugh coming back from the field when i would hear the married people bitch and moan about their spouses or see them cheating on said spouses when were in the field for 2 WEEKS. I would gladly stay in the barracks than have to deal with an unhealthy marriage.
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SGT Dan Theman
SGT Dan Theman
3 d
Good rebuttal
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