Risk and the History of Military Allotments

The bread was baked carefully to conceal the small bottle of alcohol. In military camps and much like today, during the Civil War alcohol was prohibited in combat zones. Soldiers spent a month’s pay on the special bread, leaving nothing to send home.

Theodore Roosevelt Sr., the famous U.S. president’s father, looked for a way to serve during the war. When he saw the sutlers selling the bread, and the families of soldiers starving at home, he took the most unlikely of actions.

He created the military paycheck allotment. He lobbied Congress and then visited camp after camp for years, urging soldiers to reserve a portion of pay for their families and towards savings.

It worked. And the allotment column still exists on military paystubs today.

Why should the EHS professional care?

Because risk mitigation is not only about hazards at work.

Mitigation is about creating a buffer for future storms; financial, emotional, physical, and otherwise.


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