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The Salary of a Special Forces Captain in the Army

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The U.S. Army Special Forces, also known as the Green Berets, are an elite fighting force known for its classified missions and highly trained soldiers. A captain in the Green Berets has a salary that depends on several factors. Note that the pay for a captain in the Army is the same, regardless of unit. A Green Beret may be entitled to more special pay. Pay is standardized throughout the entire U.S. Army. It includes base pay, a food allowance, housing allowance, special duties compensations, separation compensation and other extenuating circumstances that may allow for more pay. Besides salary and other compensation, there are other factors to consider when choosing a career that becomes a lifestyle.

Basic Pay

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Basic pay for a captain in the Green Berets depends on what the Army calls "time in service," or how long the soldier has been serving, regardless of rank during this time span. According to the official Army website, a captain with two years' experience makes $44,543. One with four years' experience makes $59,422 and one who has served six years or more makes $62,266.

Other Regular Pay

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Besides basic pay, a soldier receives a housing allowance, food allowance, special pay, a tax advantage and free health care. The average housing allowance for a captain in the Army is $17,000 a year. Food allowance is close to $3,000 a year, and the value of free health care is at least $13,000 per year and could be more, depending on the health needs of your family. In total, the Army estimates that a captain making a base salary of $52,000 per year actually makes $78,000 when all the benefits are included.

Deployment Pay

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Besides base pay and the other allowances made to military members, there is increased pay when the soldier is deployed. This should be taken into consideration when looking for a career with the Green Berets since the chance of deployment is high. When a soldier deploys, he receives combat pay for being in a dangerous environment and separation pay for being separated from his family. This pay depends on where the soldier is deployed and for how long he is gone. The money is substantial and often is tax-free when the soldier is deployed to a combat zone.

Other Considerations

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Joining the military, and especially the Green Berets, can offer an exciting career with extensive travel and training opportunities. The benefits of being an Army officer are numerous, including a reliable retirement plan along with the free health care and good pay. Before committing to the Army, be sure that your family is comfortable with long separations and frequent moves. The pay is stable, but military life is not for the faint of heart. It requires strength, courage and perseverance.


Alissa Sauer is a writer whose work appears on a variety of blogs. Specializing in small-business issues, she has worked for two marketing firms. She loved working for a small woman-owned business in Washington, D.C. where she gained extensive experience in operations and finance matters. Sauer graduated from the University of Illinois in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in advertising.