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In response to the Oct. 6 letter "Flight suit was best for wings" and the subsequent responses on Oct. 9 ("All servicemembers play a part,""It’s about missions, not wings" and "Dedication: The uniform trait"), I did not take the lieutenant’s Oct. 6 letter to mean "I’m better then everyone because I’m a pilot." I also never heard him mention that he’s going to have a hard time in the dating world due to losing his "cool flight suit." I heard a lieutenant who is proud to be an Army aviator and is proud to serve with others who are a cut above the rest. (Yes, I said it — "a cut above the rest.")

Army officials didn’t make the process of becoming a pilot strenuous because they thought it would be fun. There is a reason why the whole process — from selection through flight training — accepts only the applicants who cannot just meet standards, but exceed standards. Everything from your flight physical to your Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) score all the way up to the Alternate Flight Aptitude Selection Test (AFAST) score has to be top-notch. If you just meet the standard, you’ll more than likely get your flight packet back stamped "qualified non-select."

My brothers and sisters on the ground, when you see that bird landing on top of your red smoke, do not worry about the pilots who are upset about our now-fourth change to the Army flight suit; worry about those pilots who couldn’t care less to be proud of what they do and what they had to do to get in that seat. If you’re an Army aviator who isn’t proud to have the job you have, or not proud to wear the wings that took you almost two years to earn, then switch branches. Get out of my cockpit. Tell the Special Forces guys that they shouldn’t be proud to wear their Green Berets. See what kind of response you get out of that.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael ShackleeMannheim, Germany

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