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Life To Get Better For Military Families; Bush Approves Pay Raises

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POPE AIR FORCE BASE — Life is about to get better for military families. Thursday, President George W. Bush signed a $318 billion military spending bill. The money will pay for increased airline security, the war in Afghanistan and provide pay raises to the military. The extra money will come in handy for one Pope Air Force Base family.

Staff Sgt. Crumel Mooring has been in the military for nearly nine years, eight as a Marine, the rest in the Air Force. Even with his military experience, the refueler makes just $23,000 a year. That does not allow a lot of extras for his wife and two young boys.

"We just rent movies from local video stores. We just started jigsaw puzzles," he said.

The Moorings will get some help this month. The president approved the largest military pay raise in 20 years, with the average raise nearly 7 percent. Mooring will receive a 7.5 percent raise.

"It's a really good help for the family," he said.

Many of the pay raises will help correct salary discrepancies. Others are targeted to fields with low-retention rates and service members with higher educational levels.

The Moorings hope to now start putting money aside for their sons' futures.

"Our children are at a young age now that we have to get started. We could put a little bit away here and there, this will make a major difference," he said.

Housing allowances have also increased for 2002. Last year on average, military members paid 15 percent out of their own pockets if they lived off an installation.


Melissa Buscher, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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