I read with disappointment the March 14 article “For Guard units, month’s pay gone” about the Minnesota National Guard 1st Brigade Combat Team and other units losing post-deployment leave. I won’t belabor the point of how demoralizing, disruptive and frankly dishonest the actions of the Defense Department are; many other readers and writers will accomplish that.

I’m here to offer a solution in lieu of any change in policy that may or may not occur. Members of the federal civilian workforce have the capability to cross-level vacation time among themselves, usually to help take care of extended medical issues. Why not make that program available to soldiers as well?

Some of us use our leave, some don’t. I am currently waiting on a 60-day leave sale simply because I had nothing better to do with it. Experience in the active-duty and reserve components helps me to sympathize with all the soldiers affected by this, and surely others do too. If I am willing to donate a day of leave to a Minnesota National Guard member, so is someone else.

By the numbers, the article does not specify exactly how many soldiers are affected; it says at least one BCT plus other units. Let’s ballpark it at a brigade for simplicity’s sake, or about 3,600 troops. The last year for which I can find data, 2010, there were about 1,129,283 personnel in the DOD active-duty and reserve components combined; 3,600 troops times 30 days each is 108,000 total leave days.

If just 1 out of every 10 people in the DOD gave a single day each, we would have 112,928 days to spread around. Or if even that is too much, if every single person in the DOD gave up 2.5 hours of vacation time, we would have more than enough time to give every single one of those 3,600 soldiers their 27 days off and more.

Do they deserve any less?

Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Eymann

Fort Carson, Colo.

Ceremonial laws not for today

The writer of the March 14 letter “Uniforms, haircuts not spared” must be facetious. The laws he is quoting from the book of Leviticus apply to those under the Mosaic law. Many of those laws were for purposes of keeping the Israelites separate from the nations around them.

At any rate, most Americans are considered gentiles and are not under Mosaic law. Many of the morals — such as not stealing or murdering — carry forward, but not the ceremonial laws and laws specific for the Israelites of that day. If you doubt me, read the Book of Acts.

For most of those who have written about homosexuality, I suggest you read the entire Bible and make a differentiation between man’s law and God’s law. Man’s law is whatever those in power say it is, whether by a dictator, a legislature or even a panel of judges, as seems to be the case in the U.S. today. At any rate, God’s law is eternal. It stands regardless of what you and I say.

The Bible makes it clear that none will be justified by following the law. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:22-24). We all (myself included) need grace, not just homosexuals. We need grace that forgives and frees us from the sin that ensnares us. Jesus offers that by paying the price for our sins and by providing the truth that sets us free.

Maj. Adam Langborgh

Camp Phoenix, Afghanistan

Sarcasm was misunderstood

Judging by the responses to the March 14 letter “Uniforms, haircuts not spared,” it seems the sarcasm of the original letter escaped many readers (“Maybe writer should bow out” and “Standards set by Jesus,” letters, March 16). Unless I am seriously mistaken, the letter writer was using the issues of uniform material, haircuts and adultery to demonstrate the absurdity of claims that the U.S. military is or should be under “God’s law,” or at least under Mosaic law found mainly in Leviticus.

Lt. Col. Barry M. Stentiford

MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

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