Having read the Dec. 29 letters “ ‘Deal with it’ is part of the deal” and “A new discrimination emerges,” I wonder if both writers aren’t just a little off the point.

During boot camp in 1968, we were required to attend Sunday services. A few fellow nonbelievers and I would form up at the rear of the radio control group, and march forward when the column took a right to the chapel. We would have a leisurely breakfast and meet the company members returning to the barracks.

It was a few years before we could even get no preference on our dog tags and, probably, if anyone was paying attention, we could have been court-martialed, or at least had nonjudicial punishment awarded for AWOL, disobeying orders and who knows how many Uniform Code of Military Justice articles.

My point is, the services have changed (mostly for the better) with regard to tolerance and acceptance of the traditional, conservative values that had proceeded from previous generations. We evolve as people, as a nation and as a military.

The two letters juxtaposed perfectly.

I and others refused to be forced to worship, and played cards on Sunday morning before chapel services. Both became legal, eventually. I say, “Deal with it.”

Petty Officer 1st Class Brad Himes (retired)

U.S. Embassy Baghdad

Conservative GIs abandoned

When I joined the Army in 1982, I was asked, “Are you a homosexual?” I answered, “No” and asked, “Why the question?” I was told that homosexuals were considered a security risk.

In our current era of sophistication this is considered an inane and archaic attitude. Putting aside, of course, Pfc. Bradley Manning’s alleged treasonous release of classified documents in a fit of gay angst, the public at large and key elements of our leadership have decided to go along with this paradigm shift, leaving those of us in the more conservative combat arms to adapt as best we can.

There also seems to me to be a common theme in letters to the editor lately that those of us who don’t like it can just get out. Fair enough. Will those of us who joined the Army prior to this 180-degree change of worldview be offered the same consideration that homosexuals were given under “don’t ask, don’t tell”? That is, will we be allowed an honorable discharge with our benefits so dearly earned under the old system? Surely that is in the interest of justice and will quell any crisis of conscience that we are feeling, and would be in the best interest of the service under the new policy.

Master Sgt. Robert A. Boggs

RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom

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