Regarding the article “Air Force bans alcohol in Kaiserslautern dormitories” in Stars and Stripes’ March 15 Europe edition: I entered the Air Force at the “know it all” age of 18 in 1987. My first assignment was RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom.

Coming from an overprotective, single-parent home in which drinking and parties were no-goes, then finding that the drinking age was 18 in England (with drinking allowed at 16 under certain conditions) and being surrounded by weekly parties, I soon found myself giving in to the pressures of drinking with my peers. Every weekend, there was a party that included tons of alcohol, stupid actions (such as climbing to the roof of a dorm and jumping down or driving around and stealing all the base commander parking signs and placing them in the car of a guy who dumped your best friend), various beer drinking games on the patios and parking lots of the dorms and a lot of (by U.S. laws) underage drinking.

The only difference between then and now is that everyone has a cellphone with a camera and is more than eager and willing to show off, highlight and share their foolish acts on Facebook, YouTube or some other form of social media. We didn’t have to worry about people finding out what we were doing until we got the film developed (believe me, there are pictures I have from my younger days that my children will never see). I am so glad that we did not have social media back then — we would have all been in trouble.

The underage drinking, crazy antics, sexual misconduct and other actions have always been there and will continue to be there, even if alcohol is banned from the dorms. Think about it: If commanders cannot stop people from drinking in a “dry” place such as downrange, what makes them think they are going to stop people from drinking in their own rooms in the dorms? Are commanders going to put cameras up in every room? Are they going to have “dry” bases?

What happened here was a knee-jerk reaction to something else that happened. Put in a “zero tolerance of alcohol-related incidents” rule and enforce it, no matter what the rank. If a person gets into trouble due to alcohol consumption, make that person pay for it — along with his or her noncommissioned officer supervisor. (It’s guaranteed that an NCO getting into trouble due to the actions of his or her airman means that NCO won’t have many airmen getting into trouble.)

Angel Arnold

RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom

Tuition aid needed most now

I’ve seen stories about the Navy, Army and now Air Force cutting tuition assistance for their services and I’m appalled at our military leaders. The services have had 18 months to prepare for sequestration and this is what they’ve determined is the best way to save money? Meanwhile the F-35 has cost the Pentagon $164 billion more than planned and the program is slated to cost $12.6 billion per year through 2037!

How many hours of college could be financed for the cost of a single plane? Yet our leaders can fund that plane while hurting the rank and file. It’s shameful.

The military is getting ready to RIF troops in massive numbers. The chief of staff of the Army said we might have to release as many as 100,000 soldiers. So now, when the soldiers should be utilizing this benefit they were promised to prepare themselves to be more competitive in the job market, the services take away the benefit. It adds insult to the injury that will surely come to many of our military brothers and sisters.

If this is this is the best our leadership is capable of then sequestration is indeed going to be devastating to the military.

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Douglas Workman (retired)

Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

AFN TV listings still needed

Yes, something is missing from my newspaper — the American Forces Network television schedule. Everyone doesn’t own a PC. Why should the readers pay the same for the newspaper with less information and service? Why should a reader be inconvenienced and have to check online for which programs or movies are on tonight?

Before Stars and Stripes stopped publishing the TV listings earlier this year, the Friday edition provided the programs for the weekend so a person or family could make plans. Bring the TV schedule back and readers please voice your desire to have the schedules again. What is next to go — the comics?!

Ken Corrier

Ayase City, Japan

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