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 the 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 9 mo ago
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MAJ(P) 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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LTC Ray B. (Ret)
LTC Ray B. (Ret)
18 d
Unsubstantiated whining
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LTC Ray B. (Ret)
LTC Ray B. (Ret)
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Amazon is hiring
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LTC Ray B. (Ret)
LTC Ray B. (Ret)
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waaaaaa. You have no idea. Just like my single brothers and sisters I was deployed away from my family but understood that was always a possibility. No gripe here. Worked many a late and extended duty day again part of the deal. Lived in barracks when single enlisted. Never cared as much about the money as making sure I finished the tasks and missions assigned. Never liked whiners. They are always focused on the individual, themselves. If you think it is better in civilian world then check your gear and move on.
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SGT Team Chief
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Worthless until the hey you details come down
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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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SGT Brian Poe
SGT Brian Poe
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Exactly!
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SGT Brian Poe
SGT Brian Poe
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MAJ (Join to see) I never saw married guys offering to take cq or staff duty for single soldiers on holidays. I never saw married guys offering to stick around and help the single guys clean weapons and gear when returning from the field. It was always said to help each other out. However, the help was always one sided.
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CPO William Plaster
CPO William Plaster
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I recall an old navy saying, 'If the navy wanted you to have a wife (partner), they would have been issued with your sea bag'. When I was single, I didn't encounter this problem. Maybe I was just partying too much to notice.
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Sgt Dan Catlin
Sgt Dan Catlin
3 d
Failure of leadership. No one goes anywhere until every piece of equipment is cleaned and stored appropriately! If they are turning married personnel loose early and having you do all the work, unless you want to take it up the chain you'll just have to suck it up!
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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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PO2 Devrie Paradowski
PO2 Devrie Paradowski
3 mo
SFC Ernest Thurston - There are "personal choices," and general life events. In the course of a twenty year enlistment, most folks will get married or have children. Women soldiers cant wait for retirement to have children. Its a rarity to "choose" not to start a family, and when that happens you may find yourself making very difficult decisions about your career. When I was in the service, I was stationed at a duty station when then spouse left the service. I had to leave the barracks as my spouse had no place to live and couldn't stay on base with me. We spent a month or two technically homeless as there was a housing shortage where we were--that is, until we could find an open apartment, and we spent most of our income on hotels until we found such.

It's not a major advantage. It's a necessity, unless we want 95 percent of all military members to leave after their very first or second enlistment due to financial and housing challenge of having a family while serving.
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MSgt Wes Tracy
MSgt Wes Tracy
3 mo
SFC Douglas Eshenbaugh, it sounds like you're married. You would have some good points... IF:
- Married families had to share a bathroom with other families, sometimes many.
- Married families had no choice on what to eat, but had to eat what was available and at the time it was available; if they didn't eat, tough! They wait until the next prescribed time.
- Married families had their living quarters inspected every day.
- Married families were forced to leave their car outside instead of in the garage (you could often tell a single soldier in Florida by the rust on their car).
SFC Ernest Thurston, yes, the Army has standards. In fact, they have two sets of standards.
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SFC William Linnell
SFC William Linnell
3 mo
SFC Ernest Thurston - And don't forget that while being separated or even divorced and had to pay child support, YOUR BAH went to your ex. And you still had to live off post because certain individuals still saw you as receiving BAH even though it all went to the ex. And god forbid your stationed in a state that still does alimony. I went thru that as a SGT being separated while waiting for the divorce. But my 1SG was good about it.
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SSG Jeffery Payne
SSG Jeffery Payne
2 mo
I'm old school, why did the army stop barracks inspection. My God, if you treat your troops like babies in garrison. How are they going to act when the balloon goes up. Your life and other soliders life will depend on these guys obeying your orders. There are no complaints or do overs in combat. Have these boys grow a pair.
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