These were some good responses and I appreciate them. Some clarification: (1) True, military and civil service pay, at least within bands reflecting time of service, is no secret. I was thinking more in terms of retirees who bring the same willingness to talk about their pay into civilian life, where it shocks some of those who have always kept their exact pay confidential. (2) I wholeheartedly agree that military pay is shamefully low. (3) I don’t dispute celebrating one’s success, and in the military, if you have a rank, then its pay scale is common knowledge. (4) In civilian life, two jobs side-by-side are not necessarily “equal work.” If a person has more education, experience, skill, intelligence, etc., their work will usually be of better quality and efficiency, and it deserves higher pay. And some people just work harder than others.