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A major in the National Guard has the military rank of O-4. A National Guard soldier's salary is proportional to the amount of time he spends serving. When a major isn't activated, he receives drill pay, but when his unit gets activated, he receives the same basic pay as an O-4 in the army.
O-4 Basic Pay
As of 2013, the basic pay for a major starts at $4,362.30 per month, or $52,347.60 per year. The longer a major serves in the National Guard, the higher his pay can go. Majors receive raises every two years, with an extra raise at the end of their third year, until they complete their 18th year. At that point, they get a final raise to the maximum pay for an O-4 -- $7,238.70 per month. This income is based on a major that serves in active duty.
O-4 Drill Pay
When National Guard majors drill, they receive drill pay. Drill pay is equal to one-thirtieth of the basic pay. A new major who qualifies for $4,362.30 basic pay would receive $145.41 per drill. As of 2013, the highest drill pay available to an O-4 major is $242.79 per drill. It's possible for a Guardsman to earn pay for two drills in a 24-hour period, so a weekend of duty is frequently paid as four drills.
Housing and Subsistence Allowances
When on active duty, National Guard majors can also quality for the military's housing and subsistence pay. As of 2013, officers have a basic allowance for subsistence of $242.60 per month and majors can receive either $1,212 or $1,394.10 of housing allowance per month, depending on whether or not they have a dependent. However, these allowances usually aren't available when a major is drilling and may be modified during short periods of activation.
National Guard majors also can be eligible for a military pension as a part of their pay. To earn a pension, they must serve at least 20 years and, to get the full payment, be at least 60 years old. While the pension works similarly to other military pensions, it is prorated based on how much time the major actually spends serving. Since a year of drilling in the Guard represents less actual time than a year of active duty service, National Guard majors typically earn much less in retirement than active duty soldiers.
Steve Lander has been a writer since 1996, with experience in the fields of financial services, real estate and technology. His work has appeared in trade publications such as the "Minnesota Real Estate Journal" and "Minnesota Multi-Housing Association Advocate." Lander holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Columbia University.
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