The Marine Corps’ top enlisted leader, Sgt. Maj. Micheal Barrett, testified before the Senate Armed Services commitee on Wednesday, telling members he truly believed that lower pay for Marines would “raise discipline.”
Not surprisingly, all hell broke loose, as many grew upset with the sergeant major, who also offered anecdotes from talks with “thousands” of Marines who he said didn’t care about compensation and benefits.
The comments came as Congress mulls a 2% pay raise for all service members, while some defence officials have requested a 1% raise instead.
“So much for the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps being the enlisted man’s representative to the Commandant, I’m really glad I’m not in any more,” wrote one commenter on Reddit’s military section.
The backlash grew so wide Barrett had to pen a letter of explanation, writing that “recent reporting of my testimony may have left you with a mistaken impression that I don’t care about your quality of life and that I support lower pay for service members. This is not true.”
“‘Recent reporting,'” Military Times’ Leo Shane tweeted, “Also known as ‘statements I made to Congress.”
“Nobody wants less … But if we don’t slow the growth of our hard-earned, generous compensation/benefit entitlements that we have enjoyed over the past decade, we won’t have sufficient dollars for what we need — investment in our warfighting capabilities and our wonderful Marine and family care programs. We’re not done fighting or serving as America’s Expeditionary Force in Readiness and we need to be more prepared for what’s around the corner.”
The sergeant major also sat down with Marine Corps Times for an interview to offer further explanation on Friday, which will be published next week.
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