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Regarding the March 17 letter “Army programs too punitive”: I am appalled that these are the views and opinions of a senior noncommissioned officer in my Army.

In my experience, all of these supposed “senior specialists, sergeants, staff sergeants, etc.” with maximum time in grade do nothing but bring down morale and clog up available billets and the promotion system. They are in the way of others who actually care about the little things, such as standards and discipline.

Standards are set to ensure that we have a minimum basis of physical ability, appearance and professionalism. If you look at any one of the programs to which the letter writer refers — Army Weight Control Program, Army Physical Fitness (old and the newly improved) and the Army Leadership Development Strategy (ALDS) — the minimum standard is pretty pathetic. Yet he complains that they are too punitive? If you can not meet minimum standards, there is no place for you in a military uniform.

Mediocrity equals complacency and complacency kills. This NCO refers to there not being standards during combat. The combat I know of, if you can not move with a minimum of 60 pounds on your back because you can not meet minimum physical standards, you are a liability to yourself and those around you.

As NCOs it is our charge and duty to enforce standards by living them and upholding them. We don’t have to agree with them because we don’t set them, we enforce them.

Sgt. 1st Class Tomas Eggers


Durable uniforms not a luxury

This letter is in regard to the new Flame Resistant Army Combat Uniform (FRACU) that soldiers are issued before being deployed into theater. I know that every competitive-bid contract goes to the lowest bidder but, when it comes to the soldiers’ uniforms, there has to be a line drawn on how cheap we can get them made and how fast they can be mass produced for issue.

I have soldiers who have blown out the crotch and down the seam of their pant legs just by doing ordinary work and training. We had this issue when the Army Combat Uniforms (ACUs) came out and they seemed to have eliminated that issue very quickly. I would think that when you design a new uniform we would go back to lessons learned from the previous manufacturing problems and be more aware of the same issues in a new type of uniform.

Soldiers only get four sets of these uniforms. Something like blowing out your crotch just by picking up an ammo can is just ridiculous — and then they have to go to supply to reorder new ones, which sometimes takes a while. I think we as a whole in the military (and for those who brainstorm on what type of uniform the soldiers will be wearing next) should take a good look at the material and the wear life of said material and how the uniforms are being made. This way if soldiers shoot, move and communicate they won’t have to worry about whether they will have a uniform left at the end of the training or theater activity.

Sgt. 1st Class David Penn


NFL lockout shouldn’t linger

To NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: I am an average NFL fan. I am a U.S. citizen living and working in Germany; I have been here about 25 years. I do not spend a lot of money following the games, but I do have satellite TV and the Internet and I buy the occasional fan item online. I am of the opinion that if you contribute to the situation (in this case, buying products) then you are also responsible for the problem; therefore I am guilty of adding to the NFL’s troubles, albeit in a very small way.

I am not a lawyer, nor a business professional. I do not understand the nuts and bolts of business or labor issues. I work for the Department of Defense; we cannot unionize, so I don’t understand that either.

Here is also what I do not understand: $9 billion in profits, yet owners and players cannot come to an agreement? Hmm, I suppose you are going to get a lot of sympathy from the average fan, who is wondering how he is going to be able to put gas in his car to get to the game.

I guess I understand that the lawsuit Tom Brady and Peyton Manning and others brought to stop the lockout is supposed to be about helping every one of the employees, but I am not sure they are paying attention to Mike Ditka’s cause: the [medical care of] retired players. Are they? I do not understand. Why can’t this be fixed?

I will no longer contribute to the problem. I will withhold all of my support. Let them play in empty stadiums, would that help motivate a solution?

Or why don’t the NFL owners take the profit and work toward paying off the national debt — or send some of it to Japan, they really have a crisis.

On the surface this is a rich man’s problem being paid for by the poor man. Tell the owners and players to get a life and fix this, or I will lock all of them out!

Aaron M. Eastman

Ramstein Air Base, Germany


Stripes in 7

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