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Regarding “Court: Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional” (article, March 23): This is near the very top of my stupidity meter for a judge to even think this. I smell the hand of the American Civil Liberties Union and a judge who I can guarantee has never served a day of military service for his country.

I have spent 28 years in the military (combined active duty and National Guard). I spent 15 months in Vietnam, where I received the Bronze Star Medal with “V” device. I know exactly what I did then.

I am halfway through my seventh year in Iraq helping the warfighter with communications. I am a civilian now. It’s the soldiers’ turn to shine, not some poser’s.

Richard Martin

Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq

On-post exchange rates worse

I want to help servicemembers living overseas save some of their money. If you live off-post/base or shop off-post frequently, you need to pay with local currency. I use the Community Bank or Service Credit Union (the exchange rate is quoted in Stars and Stripes or broadcast on American Forces Radio). This rate is normally the international rate plus around 3 percent.

If, however, you go to an off-post ATM, you will get charged at a rate the bank that issues your cards determines. With USAA, for example, this rate is 1 percent. If you pay 1,200 euro a month in rent, it can cost $25 to $30 more when one withdraws money on-post/base. That equals $300 to $360 dollars a year.

The downfall to this strategy is that it is less convenient to go to the off-post ATM a few times each month to withdraw money to pay your rent. You will also need to pay your landlord in cash or use a local bank account to deposit the money you withdraw to pay your bills.

It would be nice if Service Credit Union and Community Bank offered a more competitive rate; 3 percent is about the maximum rate charged by banks. It is a shame that the banks on-post/base, which have a captive audience, charge the maximum they can get away with to servicemembers.

Christopher Puglisi

Ramstein Air Base, Germany


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