In the Aug. 15 article “The Long Goodbye: Personal victories, personal sacrifices,” it was stated: “During the long fight, the Guard stereotype of ‘weekend warriors’ faded into the sand.”
Imagine my disappointment when I read the Aug. 21 article articulating the activation of California National Guardsmen to support the border patrol effort along the United States-Mexico border (“Border security has new focus”). The choice of photographs could not possibly have been more in contrast with the “The Long Goodbye.”
A formation is an arrangement of personnel in a prescribed manner. Formations are standardized and uniformity is a key aspect of that standardization. The plethora of different uniforms being worn in the formation shown appeared blatantly unprofessional. This particular photo showed three separate varieties of headgear; the Advanced Combat Helmet, the patrol cap and the beret. There were also soldiers wearing Interceptor Body Armor while others wore only their Army Combat Uniforms.
Second, sunglasses and tinted eyewear are not authorized for wear in formation unless medically directed or mandated by the commander due to high-glare environments (and in that case would apply to all soldiers in the formation).
Lastly, I am uncertain as to why the photograph would be centered on a National Guard servicemember who, to put it frankly, makes a mockery of Army Regulation 600-9. Unfortunately, the National Guard stigma of being overweight and substandard was not helped in any way by this article’s photo. It only broadened the rift between journalistic conjecture and fact.
Sgt. Mark A. Switzer
Joint Security Station Justice, Iraq