Low military pay has not been mentioned in any of the debates or stump speeches that we can recall. However, increasing the minimum wage took center stage. Let's do some math. Those fast food employees striking for $15 an hour, soon to be a reality in Seattle, New York and California, would make $31,200 annually. An E1 (Private) in the military makes a little over $18 grand. An E5 (Sergeant) with 8 years of service only makes about $35,000 annually. And they’re getting shot at.