Letters to the Editor for Tuesday, August 7, 2007

By STARS AND STRIPES | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 7, 2007

European and Mideast editions

(EDITOR'S NOTE: These are the letters that appeared in each edition of Stripes on this publication date. Click here to jump ahead to the Pacific edition letters)

Stand by your soldier

This is in reference to “With spouses deploying, some 2nd Cav families want to go back to the States” (article, July 8, Europe edition). I am a wife of a soldier who is deployed, and I was reading about wives who are unhappy about their housing situation and that their husbands are being deployed.

As the wife of a U.S. soldier, I say if your spouse joins the military after you’re married, or you marry him while he is a soldier, then you join the military, too. You join with the thousands of others with the rank of a military wife.

These women said they wouldn’t have come to Germany had they known their husbands were going to deploy and they would be in a foreign country on their own. Sure, there is culture shock when coming to Germany, but you adapt and make the best of the situation. If you adapt to the changes, you will do great here. If not, then you will be miserable.

As far as never coming here if your soldier deployed: It is selfish of anyone to not want to spend whatever time she can with her husband before he leaves.

Things will be hard, but the wives have a community to stand behind and help them. They should get involved by volunteering with their family readiness group, youth sports, or in other ways to support our troops.

Instead of complaining about everything that is wrong, they should enjoy this time with their soldiers before they deploy and remind them that you can take care of these issues here.

A military wife is a job many cannot do. It’s time for all to stand by their soldiers, no matter what task or obstacle is in front of them.

Laura Gettys
Schweinfurt, Germany

Watch for hidden costs

Like other people here in Germany, I bought a Navigon navigator at the post exchange. It’s a great little piece of equipment for around $400 to $500. It works great and does what it is supposed to do, help me find my way around Europe.

Like most everyone, sooner or later I have to rotate back to the U.S., and I wanted to be able to use this expensive toy there, too. It does come with the U.S. maps in the box, after all.

When I checked into using the U.S. maps, I was informed by Navigator.com that for a nominal activation fee, I could, in fact, use my navigator in the U.S. That “nominal fee” is more than $200. For a mere $100, I could use each regional map. What a deal!

I bet most people who bought the Navigon navigator didn’t know that. Perhaps the Army and Air Force Exchange Service should be spelling that out on its displays.

For a few numbers, you have to pay at least $100 to be able to use the U.S. maps that come with your navigator. (Thanks again, AAFES, you really look out for the soldier and the rest of us who use your stores.)

Navigon can take a leap and I will buy a new TomTom, just so I don’t have to buy Navigon products that should come activated with this expensive toy.

Tom Rigsbee
Friedrichsfeld, Germany

Mechanics know best

In response to “Generators without shade?” (letter, July 28), I think the letter writer has a great idea. I think we should put up overhead shade for each and every generator on each and every forward operating base across Iraq. I think the writer should have taken it a step further and included water misters for each one.

But let’s continue with this, let’s have it for each and every vehicle (tank, Bradley, buffalo, cougar, every armored vehicle in theater).

I’m sure that when the writer operates his vehicle, whether here in Iraq or wherever it is that he resides, that he provides it with overhead cover.

Maybe he should listen to the mechanics he’s talked to, I’m sure they explained to him about the purpose of a radiator and anti-freeze. No, it’s not just to keep something from freezing.

Instead of getting myth busters involved, try the Web site www.howstuffworks.com. As for the ridiculous hats the writer proposes to get rid of, he might want to keep them, maybe even wear one, and enjoy a Gatorade along with it.

Mike Krakowiak
Mosul, Iraq

No right to complain

The article Stars and Stripes chose to run about the reservist fighting his 5th deployment (“Reservist fights fifth war deployment,” July 15, Mideast edition; “Reservist fights 5th deployment to war,” Europe edition) neglected to provide all the pertinent information.

The article should have also include the lengths of each deployment he has had in the past. If I had first read the article from The Miami Herald — the one Stars and Stripes chose to print — I would have felt bad for Erik Botta. No one should have to go through five deployments in six years.

However I had already read an article on the Internet the day before. The information that was left out was that the total of Botta’s previous deployments is less then 12 months. He was deployed in 2002 to Afghanistan for seven months, in 2003 to Iraq for one month, in 2004 to Iraq for three months, and later in 2004 for 15 days.

Why should I feel sorry for this man? My husband is currently serving a 15-month tour in Iraq and this is his second tour (the first one was a mere 12 months). My family had to wait for R&R leave longer than Botta’s longest deployment.

So no, I do not feel the least bit sorry for this man. He needs to grow up, fulfill his commitment and, like every one else in the military, put his life on hold.

Siobhan Alexander
Schweinfurt, Germany

Clean up AFN shows

Where is the censorship on American Forces Network? And AFN, please don’t feed me some line like, “We don’t censor the programming we purchase and play on AFN.”

My response to AFN is this: Fire the clown you have buying this garbage then! After you rid the airwaves of his or her tastes, then purchase some family-friendly programming. I dread to think any child under age 18 is at home this summer tuning in to some of the garbage AFN is playing.

During my lunch break today, I flipped on AFN Spectrum and in a matter of 30 to 40 seconds, they bleeped out the “F-word” approximately 10 times. Does anyone really believe the fact they bleep out the foul language is doing any good for our children?

Our children have few options for English-speaking television, and AFN allows even fewer. Also, there are many adults who just don’t care for this garbage.

I know, I know … before I get the other line of “Well, if you don’t like it, don’t watch it,” then give us better options because the problem is widespread in AFN programming.

Better yet, AFN should put that garbage on after 10 p.m., and then those who enjoy it can watch it without corrupting others.

Michael J. Dufrene
Einsiedlerhof, Germany


Pacific editions

Respect military mail workers

I am getting sick and tired of people blaming the military postal workers (soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines) for stolen, damaged and missing mail (letter, “Medication didn’t make it,” July 13).

I have been doing postal [duty] for nearly five years and have seen only on a handful of occasions where someone’s mail actually did get stolen or lost. Perhaps the letter writer should check his facts first before blaming us, the military member. The mail passes through many hands before it even leaves the U.S. I’m sure those people back in the States who handle the mail would never take anything from someone’s package.

Or maybe the airline workers who load the mail onto flights to get over here have no need for anything either. Or perhaps the civilian contractors the military hired to sort, truck and distribute the mail throughout the area of responsibility might have taken it. Wait, they would never take anything either.

Or maybe, just maybe there is a simple answer to the writer’s missing package hunt. A wrong ZIP code or unit, the method it was sent, or maybe it was sent to another camp. Mistakes happen. But just because the writer hasn’t yet received his package does not mean it was stolen. And for him to blame the military postal worker is wrong and spiteful — especially when there are a million and one people who probably touched his mail before it even left the States.

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Regula
Logistics Support Area Anaconda, Iraq

America is about freedoms

The letter writer who contributed “Atheist ‘revival’ bad for U.S.” (July 14) is sort of missing the point of what being a citizen of the United States is all about — namely, the freedom to express whatever religious views you want to, assuming they don’t infringe on others’ human rights.

I fail to see how an atheist camp is bad for America, especially considering the absolutely massive number of religious camps throughout the country. Accompanying your kid to atheist camp isn’t brainwashing him any more than sending him to any other religious camp, or making him go to church for that matter.

Our nation was founded under the principle that everyone, regardless of their beliefs, is equally deserving of protection under the law, hence the First Amendment protections regarding freedom of religion. Christianity did not make America great; rather, it was our commitment to preserving individual rights. The letter writer probably ought to be more concerned with the threats to America posed by radical Muslim terrorists who want to destroy our way of life in the name of their religion, or perhaps those posed by Christian fundamentalists who would make creationism mandatory in public schools, than the threat of some atheists having a picnic.

1st Lt. William Gunn
Forward Operating Base Orgun, Afghanistan

Pagan and proud to serve

I have been in the military for 20 years and have watched many changes. This is one of the biggest.

It took me 12 years just to get them to put pagan on my dog tags, and the stigma that went with it was ludicrous. I thank you for your article on paganism (“Wiccans dedicate grave at Arlington,” July 6). It was a welcome sight and much appreciated. To all: Have faith (in yourself, your family, your friends and your higher power) and keep smiling.

Staff Sgt. Karl Tunning
Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.