August 4, 2006:
The U.S. Marine Corps has announced its plan for allocating extra pay to marines who speak foreign languages. Before, the most a marine could get for knowing a much needed foreign language, was $700 a month. That now goes up to $1,000. Typically, marines who are very good with Arabic, qualify for this bonus. The languages most in demand are Arabic, Farsi (Iranian) and Pushtu (spoken by many Afghans and Pakistanis). One unique aspect of the marine program is that you can qualify for a $25 a month bonus if you are very good at the several dozen Arabic words and phrases most used in combat. All marines headed for Iraq are supposed to know these phrases. Now, those who know them best, will get the $25 a month bonus. Very clever use of bonus money. So far, about a thousand marines have qualified for one language bonus or another, but many more are expected to qualify under the new plan.