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Nancy Montgomery’s March 6 article “Army’s top NCO: We’ve gotten ‘out of control’ ” was right on target. Just why wasn’t it written a decade ago?

I completely agree with Sgt. Maj. Of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III’s comments. Too bad the expletives were deleted. I enlisted in 1978 and saw firsthand the racist, sexually harassing narco post-Vietnam War Army.

But then in the early 1980s came a true renaissance in our Army. I saw the required (for officers) video of former Army Chief of Staff John A. Wickham Jr.’s “Training, Maintaining, Leading and Caring” lecture. I was a buck sergeant, and everyone wanted to know why I wanted to watch it. They told me it was “officers’ business.” I saw it as everyone’s business.

I was hooked on these four tenets and used them effectively throughout my career. The Army moved forward in a hugely positive way. While Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm weren’t lengthy, they showed that the inculcation of those four principles essentially came to fruition.

After retiring 12 years ago, I’ve been in a constant state of shock from the nearly weekly scandals concerning Army leaders (both officer and enlisted of all levels). I still carry my dog tag card of Army Values (Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless-Service, Honor, Integrity, Personal Courage). Sgt. Maj. of the Army Chandler is correct with his comments, but they should have come years ago. Forget about the global financial crisis. Too many U.S. Army leaders have already defaulted on their obligation to more than one of the above Army values.

1st Sgt. Douglas C. Sleeth (retired)

Rostov-on-Don, Russia

Bible preaches tolerance

The author of the March 8 letter “Photo of gay kiss over the top” states that he is a Christian, yet he seems quick to judge someone else because of their lifestyle. Then he goes on to berate other Christians who disagree with him by telling them to “blow the dust off your Bibles and take a read.” Maybe he should do the same.

Take John 8:7 — “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” — or Luke 6:37 — “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” I am a Christian and, though I do not believe in homosexuals’ lifestyle choice, it is not up to me to judge them for one.

Two, the policy of the U.S. military, in which the letter writer serves, has been changed so that homosexuals can openly serve their country and not have to hide who they are. As a military member and a senior noncommissioned officer, the letter writer has taken the oath of enlistment a time or two. It clearly states “that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over.”

Now I am not aware of which branch of the military the letter writer is in but, according to AFI 36-2618, Chapter 5 SNCO Responsibilities, paragraph 5.1.9, a SNCO should “Clearly meet, and strive to exceed, the standards and expectations levied upon all junior enlisted Airmen and NCOs. Epitomize excellence, professionalism, pride, and competence, serving as a role model for all Airmen to emulate.” If that policy change bothers the letter writer so much that he feels he can’t serve alongside them, then maybe he does not belong in the military.

I work with a fellow airman who happens to be gay, and you know what, she is probably the most squared away airman I have ever worked with. I would take her to war with me any day. Her being gay does not in any way affect my life whether we are at home station or deployed. She is in the Air Force, serving her country with honor, what does her sexual orientation have to do with any of that?

When she meets her Creator, she (and only she) will have to answer for her life — not me, not the letter writer, not anyone!

Staff Sgt. David Collins

Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany

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