If Captain America were real, the Army would owe him millions of dollars
If the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Captain America were real, the military budget would need a little extra budget to pay off Cap’s back salary.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America makes the odd comments about how expensive it is to live in his hometown/borough of Brooklyn, New York. Putting aside that he is – or prior to Civil War was – friends with Tony Stark, one of the richest guys on the planet, it turns out Cap could probably afford a pretty nice place on his own because the U.S. Army owes him millions of dollars.
A user on Reddit had an interesting idea regarding Cap’s military salary. He isn’t the first to wonder about this, but given the recent release of Captain America: Civil War and the attention that comes with it, this particular fan theory took off. So much so that the Army actually stepped in to comment.
The idea is that when Cap deliberately crashed the Hydra bomber at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, with no body to be found, he would have been declared MIA. Soldiers declared MIA are still technically eligible for their salary until they are declared dead, and so given Cap’s return in 2011, the Army would owe him 66 years of back pay.
To figure out what that is worth, the Redditer worked off the assumption that Captain Rogers’ pay would be in line with an O3, $313.50, plus specialized training and hazard pay, an additional $100. He would also be eligible for a living allowance, which for a single person would be $82.50. In total, Cap’s take home would have been $496 per month.
Factoring this in, the Redditor concluded that after 66 years, adjusting for inflation, factoring in annual raises, the Army would owe Cap $3,154,619.52.
The figure got enough attention that Wayne Hall, an Army spokesperson, replied to the theory.
“If Capt. Steve Rogers (aka Captain America) were not a fictional character and the circumstances surrounding his disappearance and recovery actually real, he may actually be entitled to receive back pay,” Hall told Business Insider in an email. “However, a wide variety of variables would have to be taken into consideration to actually calculate the true amount of back pay to which he would be entitled to receive; given that he is a fictional character we cannot truly capture all of those variables accurately.”
Hall even did a little number crunching of his own and found that the Redditor made a few mistakes, specifically how often Rogers was paid.
“Yes, it is correct that the O-3 (Army captain) pay grade in 1945 was $313.50; however it was a monthly pay rate vs. quarterly as the original poster indicated,” Hall wrote.
Hall went on to note that MIA soldiers are actually eligible for promotions as well. Given Rogers’ record, Captain America would probably be Colonel America at this point (making General is more complicated, even for a super soldier).
Nerdist went ahead and did the new math, leaving out the potential pay increase from promotions, but factoring in that after three years he would earn an additional $14.25 per month, every two years for the first 18 years. After that, he would get another increase at 22 years.
That all equals out to $375,474.00. When you adjust that for inflation, the Army would owe Rogers $4,692,152.56.
That would make for a pretty nice apartment in Brooklyn, or anywhere else for that matter. He could even go buy all those movies and albums everyone told him about.
This is specifically looking at the MCU Cap. In the comics, Cap came back in the 60s, so he would have been owed significantly less, but still a decent chunk of cash.
Sure, in real life the government would have declared him officially dead after a few years, ending the pay. And sure, if the MCU’s veteran affairs are anything like our own, Rogers would be waiting years for an answer about his back pay.
But in real life, there are no super soldiers that were frozen in the ice for six and a half decades. Don’t over think it.