I was reading about the Pulitzer Prize winning photographer, Craig F. Walker, of the Denver Post, and a selection of 20 images from his "high school to basic training to Iraq" feature, when I noticed an interesting detail.
The second image, dated 16 June 2007, shows the subject, Ian, kissing a blonde girl named Ashley at a party before departing for Denver MEPS.
The twelfth image, dated 15 December 2007, shows Ian and Kayla in one of those not-so-swanky military jewelry shops--the ones that finance anyone with a pulse for 30% interest, picking out and getting financed for a diamond-cut engagement ring.
The eighteenth image, dated 18 December 2008, shows Ian laying on his cot, talking to Kayla on a cell phone, from Iraq.
Finally, the last image, dated 24 August 2009, shows Ian and Devin with their right arms raised at the County Clerk's Office, "swearing to the accuracy of their marriage-license application."
Yeah, that sounds about right...
I don't remember how many times I've seen this scenario played out in my five-year career, but enough so that it seems common.
A shame, for sure, but I know for certain that some people marry for the benefits.
Know how much separation pay is? What about BAH and BAS? Almost enough to double the pay of a lower-enlisted soldier...
I remember a friend of mine, in 2003, married an emancipated girl from Washington that he met on the internet. She had no access to his bank account during the deployment, but he gave her a $400 monthly allowance and bought her a $3000 car so she could return to Washington. When their marriage failed upon our return, after two months, they divorced, and that was that. My friend married his recently-divorced high school sweetheart later that summer.