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The Oklahoman: Cole bill would equalize hazard duty pay

February 15, 2020
News Stories

The Oklahoman - Chris Casteel

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, whose Oklahoma district includes two large military bases and several National Guard and Reserve facilities, introduced legislation this week that would grant the same amount of hazard duty incentive pay to Guard and Reserve members that active duty troops receive.

“I am proud to join in introducing bipartisan legislation that would ensure all of our dedicated service members are compensated for the risks they undertake, whether that’s in training exercises at home or during deployments abroad,” said Cole, R-Moore.

“Pay parity is simply common sense. Moreover, it is the right thing to do for our service members, who are always training to remain ready and prepared to defend the United States when called upon, and for their families, who make tremendous sacrifices every day in supporting their loved ones.”

Guard and Reserve Service Members receive one-thirtieth — or 3.33% — of the hazard-duty incentive pay of their active duty counterparts, according to the office of U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, a New Jersey Democrat who co-authored the bill. Qualified soldiers are entitled to hazard-duty incentive pay for activities including but not limited to parachute jumping and the demolition of explosives.

Cole’s district includes Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma County and Fort Sill, the Army post near Lawton. It also includes Armed Forces Reserve Centers in Norman and Mustang; the Guard Readiness Center in Ardmore; the 2-245th Aviation Battalion in Lexington; and the 345th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Ada.

The Oklahoman: Online