Posted June 28, 1997
FORT BRAGG — They are ready to sacrifice their lives to serve and protect us. However, when payday rolls around, some Fort Bragg troops find themselves fighting just to make ends meet.
Uncle Sam's 2.8% increase in military pay will not be enough to keep up with inflation or with pay raises in the private sector. That's not the news that many military families want to hear.
Many Fort Bragg soldiers say that their paychecks are barely enough on which to get by. Friday night, Sergeant Jim Wilson is out of uniform, but on the clock. He works part-time at Sears to earn some extra cash, and he says that lots of soldiers take extra jobs.
For nine years, Staff Sergeant Jason Werner has collected a paycheck from the Army, and he says that it never seems to go very far.
Amber Farris and her daughter spend time Jennifer Ulam's home while their husbands are training at Fort Bragg. Ulam says that the amount of her husband's paycheck doesn't seem to reflect his service to the country.
Farris feels that her family is stuck in a financial rut -- living paycheck to paycheck, always trying to save a little for next year.
Young soldiers with families have the most difficulty getting by on their wages. An estimated 500 of them are on food stamps in Cumberland County.
While many military families are not satisfied with the pay, they say that they are pleased with the extensive government benefits package, especially the health care coverage for dependents.