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Last Updated: Monday, 21 July, 2003, 17:51 GMT 18:51 UK
US soldiers' conditions in Iraq
Soldiers pay their respects at a memorial service for a fallen comrade
American soldiers in Iraq are coming under attack
With American soldiers serving in Iraq suffering casualties and fatalities on almost a daily basis, BBC News Online's Lucy Jones looks at their conditions and pay.

Basic pay:

A private - the rank of Jessica Lynch who was captured by the Iraqis but then famously rescued by American special forces - gets paid between $1,528 and $1,824 a month, if they have served between three and four years in the military.

A captain serving up to six years could get paid up to $4,069 a month. Generals serving 20 years get paid $11,847 a month.

But on top of basic pay there are a number of allowances.

American soldiers receive a housing allowance, which depends on where they live. They also get paid a basic allowance for subsistence of $242 a month. However, soldiers in Iraq do not get this, as food is provided.

Hazard pay:

With the threat of injury and death ever present, US soldiers are entitled to hostile pay. That amount when the war began was $150 a month. Now, it has been increased to $225 a month.


All soldiers accumulate two-and-a-half days holiday for every month worked - amounting to 30 days a year. The average American gets two weeks of holiday a year.

Free time while on duty in Iraq:

Free time depends on a soldier's unit.

Personnel working in the United States Central Command (USCC) in Baghdad can usually take one day off a week.

A GI will usually work eight hours a day but a mechanic - when there is nothing do - may find he has a lot of free time on his hands.

There is not much for an American soldier to do in Iraq. They are confined to the "green zone" - an area defined by barbed wire the size of which depends on where they are serving.

The public relations section of USCC is located in a wired-off area which covers about two miles (3.2 kilometres) but sometimes this area can comprise just a couple of streets.

"There's nothing much to do except perhaps write a letter. Some play with a football. Others play pocket video games," a spokesman for USCC in Baghdad told BBC News Online.

Alcohol is banned.

Communication with home:

Most soldiers do not have access to telephones or the internet. Communication with home is solely by letter.

Soldiers can post as many letters as they want a week for free but packages have to be paid for and are censored.

Packages containing food can be received from friends and family.

Daily chores:

Soldiers have to perform latrine duties and clean their living quarters daily.

They will also from time to time be responsible for collecting water and food supplies.

Showers are rationed. Many soldiers are allowed one shower a week.


Soldiers generally are given two Meal Ready Eat (MREs) a day, plus one hot meal which is usually breakfast or dinner.

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