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The Highest Ranked Navy SEALs & How Much They Make

by Tom Streissguth, studioD

The U.S. Navy's Sea, Air and Land squads form an elite commando force that undergoes the toughest training in the military. If they survive the rigorous physical demands of training, SEAL team members must be ready to take on hazardous missions anywhere in the world. Navy ranks and pay apply to SEALs, who can also earn special allowances, bonuses and other benefits for their service.

Basic Pay and Allowances

The members of the Navy SEALs volunteer for this special forces branch of the military, but draw standard Navy pay and allowances. The higher your rank, the higher your monthly pay, while a full military pension is available to all team members who put in 20 years of service. SEALs are also eligible for a full range of standard Navy bonuses, including dive pay at the rate of $375 per month, jump pay of $225 per month, and special duty pay of $110 per month. The military also offers special monthly bonuses for team members who operate the customized aquatic transports known as SEAL Delivery Vehicles or SDVs.

Officer Ranks

The highest pay grade a Navy officer can reach is 0-10, a rank attained by Admiral Eric T. Olson. A graduate of the rigorous BUD/S training in 1976, Olson served as commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command from 2008 until 2011, and was the first Navy SEAL to reach three-star and, subsequently, four-star admiral rank. By 2013, there were about 2,500 active-duty Navy SEALS, with most serving in enlisted ranks from E4 to E9, a smaller number as warrant officers and approximately 500 with officer rank. The SEALs also honor their longest-serving active-duty veteran with the informal title of Bull Frog.

Base Pay

In the Navy, monthly pay and allowances increase with rank and experience, with the latter scale ranging for less than two to 40 years of service. As of January 2013, an O-9 or O-10 admiral with between 20 and 40 years of service earned $14,975.10 per month in base pay. In addition, all Navy personnel earn a Basic Allowance for Housing, which varies with the assignment location, as well as a Basic Allowance for Subsistence.

Benefits and Bonuses

Benefits available to SEAL officers and all other Navy personnel include vacation pay of up to 30 days per year, medical and dental insurance, and retirement benefits after 20 years of service. The Navy also pays bonuses for specialized training, such as advanced marksmanship, intelligence analysis, communications, combat medicine, and languages. Within the Navy Special Warfare Command, a selective re-enlistment bonus and a critical skills retention bonus is available for re-enlistment.

About the Author

Founder/president of the innovative reference publisher The Archive LLC, Tom Streissguth has been a self-employed business owner, independent bookseller and freelance author in the school/library market. Holding a bachelor's degree from Yale, Streissguth has published more than 100 works of history, biography, current affairs and geography for young readers.

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