Conscript pay in WW1 and WW2 U.S. Army

Were conscripts (draftees) paid salaries in the U.S. Army during World War I and World War II? If so, were the salaries equal to those of volunteers of equal rank and term of service?

According to my uncle you were all equally screwed; whether you joined up or were drafted. Differances in pay among people of the same rank would come from special duties; flight pay, sea duty, combat pay, length of service and such. He recalls making about $85/month as a corpral in 1944.

I have a quote in a biography about baseball player Casey Stengel from a book titled “Casey Stengel: a Splendid baseball life” by Richard Bak. In 1918 he joined the Navy because of the government’s “Work or Fight” order and because he figured baseball would not try to collect a $200 fine he got for being ejected from a serviceman. His older brother Grant Stengel chided him on being stupid to give up a $4,000 a year baseball contract by saying “Now you can live on navy pay of fifteen dollars a month.”

Stengel ended up in the Brooklyn Navy Yard painting ships and when people fond out he was a former Brooklyn Dodger, put him in charge of the yard’s baseball team.

At the beginning of WWII, a private got the munificent sum of $20 a month. Hence a popular song back then: Twenty Dollars a Day, Once a Month. I can’t recall now if that was the title, or just a line of the lyrics.