Surving on Separate Rats.

The “rats” is short for “rations” and it means somebody in the military who doesn’t live in a dorm or barracks.
It’s an extra in your Monthly Eagle Shit… (paycheck) that’s supposed to make nice for the rent, groceries and travel expenses of living off base.
When I was in the Air Force (many years ago of course) I was in dorms, thus, I paid 6 bucks a month for dorm room rent. If I had been married at the time it would have been impractical, especially with dependents. Separate Rats is the closest the Military pays to giving you extra just because you’ve got extra dependents. They’re not fond of Airmen and Soldiers having dependents, more paperwork for one thing, plus when they kill you with their stupid wars they have to take care of your widow and orphans until the last kid turns 18.
They’d rather pay for a cheap coffin, a cheaply dug grave on stolen (bought really cheaply at gunpoint) land and wash their hands of the matter. The “buy the farm” 10,000 dollar insurance policy is from a private contractor. Not the Pentagon.
Surviving on the not-adequate Separate Rats pay is a little tricky, so here’s some solutions.

Food… That’s a big deal. With Dorm living you get the meals at the Dining Hall (AF) and Mess Hall (everybody else) With Separate Rats, your meals at the Dining Hall cost you. Not as much as an all you can eat buffet restaurant, though. So, here’s the deal, Go to the Dining Hall on Sunday. Sunday is the day the Dining Hall stays open all morning, closes at noon for a two hour cleaning, then opens again.

In the Air Force it’s also steak day. Have the ol’ lady bring a mostly empty diaper bag and a big purse, have the kids bring a backpack apiece and a lot of baggies. And some empty quart milk bottles.

Load up. Milk, juice, meat, fresh vegetables, rolls, butter, take the bastards for everything they’ve got. If you do it right you can eat mostly free for the rest of the week. When I was in a Separate Rats person could eat at the Dining Hall for $2.50. and the kids at a buck apiece. I just plumb reckon the prices have gone up in the past 30 years. But, not “break the bank” worth of up.

On weekdays, the Dining Hall would be open only about an hour for each meal. That’s why Sunday is “shopping day”. Put the kids to work and it will also be an object lesson for them in “why we do NOT ever trust Recruiters”.

Diapers. Use Cloth. The savings are immediate, it’s just that you have to do laundry every day.
see also: Laundry

You can do your laundry at the dorm/barracks. Make friends with the people who habitually pull CQ duty.

Or, have a friend who lives in Dorm take your laundry in and give you an “all clear” to head to the laundry room. I don’t know if the use of the laundry room is free anymore. Basically, it’s a barracks/dorm laundromat.

The reason it’s free is the guys would only get paid twice a month. Occasionally the Pentagon takes a wild hair up their collective butt and switches it to ONCE a month. But, you live in a dorm with 40-160 other guys, clean clothes daily is a must. Otherwise it’s a musty situation. If you do heavy physical stuff your socks and drawers especially, but the rest of the clothes too, get really funky, really funkin’ fast.

That could cause health problems and morale problems. Plus they only issue you so many uniforms a year. You would run out of clean clothes in less than a week. Most guys are broke by halfway between payday.

School Supplies.

When the Rug Rats are in school, there’s a lot of basic stuff they don’t issue to them. Paper. Pencils. Notebooks.

People would think I’m grinning them about that. If you only have one or two rugrats, buying each child a pack of pencils every month and a new folder each class each semester isn’t much. Buying each child three sets of gym clothes in the Required School Colors wouldn’t be that hard either. I had 7 brothers and sisters (still do) That changes the dynamics of what one can afford on a fixed income. I failed PE one year because of that School Colors rule, and I had 7 classes per day, 6 of them requiring noteboks.
The teachers have a way of grading notebooks which involves color coding. The teachers also teach 7 classes a day but ALL of Their classes require notebooks.

Payday was on the first of the month, school started on the 5th. Mom wasn’t informed beforehand that the classes would Require special colors even for the gym shorts. She had already bought school supplies which would have been sufficient, without that Color rule.

With the other demands that don’t go down just because you have other expenses, for instance the Landlord doesn’t give you a break on the rent because it’s the start of school year and you just spent a hundred dollars or more on school supplies, the grocery bill doesn’t go down. etc etc..

It can be really harsh on a kid when no matter what his academic skills are, he gets an “F” in classes because his notebook is the wrong color.

BUT, one thing Uncle Sam loads you down with is PAPER. Lots and lots and lots of paper and the stick-like objects used to make marks on paper.

The Army Recruiters tell you how they’ll give you a secure future. Shit, they can’t even give you a secure PRESENT. Teach your children well

And you might not have much time. What if you take an IED made from a modified anti-tank round across your chest? There ain’t enough Kevlar in the world for something like that and you god-damn know it. You’ll be there gasping out your last in the dirt of some occupied country you never even heard of before you got deployed. You’ll see with your fading eyes the kid who shot you and realize the kid isn’t much bigger than yours.

Who’s gonna be there in 7 or 8 years, when your kid is being seduced by the Lying Ass Recruiters, they’ll tell him a story about how you “died for your country and you would want your kid to follow in your footsteps” and get fucked to death by Uncle Sam.
You won’t be able, then, to teach him different. You have to tell him NOW. You have to show the rugrats exactly what the poverty is like.

Every month about this time, on yahoo Freecycle groups, the military families are asking for donations, food, diapers, gas money, to get them through to payday.

And depending on the time of day, every other commercial seems to be a Recruitment ad.

So which ones are true, the families reduced to online begging , or the Recruiters, who actually get paid extra for each soldier they pull into the snare?

I’d say follow the money. Who’s getting paid, and who ain’t?

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Brother Jonah

About Brother Jonah

Recovering Texan. Christian while and at the same time Anarchist. (like Tolstoy only without the beard, for now) Constantly on the lookout for things which have relevance to things I already know. Autistic. Proud to be Ex- air force. Out of the killing machine for 27 years 4 months and 5 days woohoo!
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