A fan on Reddit calculated that the government would owe Captain America more than $3 million in back pay if the events in the Marvel Universe were real.
A US Army spokesman told INSIDER that the fan has a point, but calculating the exact dollar amount isn’t so simple.
Here’s the backstory.
After defeating Hydra in World War II, Captain America was lost in the Arctic north between 1945 and 2011. Despite those six decades on ice, he was never technically discharged. As a result (the theory goes) the government owes him payment for those 66 years of service.
Redditor Anon33249038 crunched the numbers earlier this week, and concluded that the First Avenger is entitled to $3,154,619.52, adjusting for inflation.
The analysis factors in the Army’s 1945 pay grade, biannual raises, and how long Cap spent on ice before he returned to active duty in 2011 at the start of “The Avengers.”
Wayne Hall, an Army spokesperson, says there’s more to it than that.
“If Capt. Steve Rogers (aka Captain America) were not a fictional character and the circumstances surrounding his disappearance and recovery actually real, he may actually be entitled to receive back pay,” he explained to INSIDER in an email. “However, a wide variety of variables would have to be taken into consideration to actually calculate the true amount of back pay to which he would be entitled to receive; given that he is a fictional character we cannot truly capture all of those variables accurately.”
Hall went on to explain that the Redditor had some of his facts wrong.
“Yes, it is correct that the O-3 (Army captain) pay grade in 1945 was $313.50; however it was a monthly pay rate vs. quarterly as the original poster indicated.”
The fan theory also “misinterpreted military pay scales” when arriving at the biannual increase of pay figure, and fails to take in “any potential promotions that may have been bestowed upon Rogers while he was listed in a ‘Missing’ status.”
Whatever the final amount of back pay the government would owe Captain America for his decades of service, it’s almost certain that he would still have way less money than Tony Stark.
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