History of Combat Pay
Final rept. Jun-Jul 2011
INSTITUTE FOR DEFENSE ANALYSES ALEXANDRIA VA
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This paper traces the evolution of combat pay in the U.S. military since its origin as Badge Pay for combat infantry in World War II. Initially it was only partially linked to combat for infantry personnel and was not available to non-infantry personnel in combat. During the Korean War, combat pay was available to members serving in combat units or injured or killed by hostile fire. In Vietnam, eligibility for Hostile Fire Pay was extended to everyone serving in the combat zone. After the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, eligibility was expanded by the introduction of Imminent Danger Pay, which recognized the risk of physical harm in conditions short of open warfare. There has been a strong tendency to retain designations of imminent danger areas for extended periods even when the risk of injury is extremely low. The purpose of combat pay has changed from recognition of those enduring the worst hazards and hardships of frontline duty to recognition of any degree of risk.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Military Forces and Organizations