Letters to the editor for Wednesday, May 28, 2008


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)

‘Extreme stress in training’

In a recent article in the Army Times, I read about the Army changing basic and advanced individual training. The proposed changes scared me.

The Army proposes that, by reducing stress on today’s recruits, they will somehow become better soldiers. The Army needs to continue to use stress techniques and even increase the stress levels.

Each year I listen to new soldiers describe their training and I wonder what thought processes go into letting them have cell phones and even cars in AIT. The real world has a great amount of stress, and combat has an even greater stress load. Most of today’s generation have lived with their parents and have been coddled for 18-to-20 years before entering the military. These new soldiers cannot think for themselves and, when they make mistakes, they cannot handle being counseled, as they were never disciplined by their parents.

We need to go back to extreme stress in training, as this will only help soldiers in the real world and definitely in combat.

Staff Sgt. Eugene Finn
Forward Operating Base Fenty, Afghanistan

Playboy for his men

Yet again, another officer has shown his lack of connection with the common enlisted soldier ("Morale and Playboy sales," letter, May 20).

I am a Christian, and I spent five summers building houses for the less fortunate when I was in middle school and high school. God’s only two absolutes are in John 3:16 and the Ten Commandments.

The chaplain means well and is a God-fearing man. However, this statement: "I always thought that morale rises and falls on good leadership, faith in God and love of country," shows just how out of touch he is with the enlisted soldier. No, sir, morale rises and falls on good chow, enough sleep and a healthy amount of time off work.

Let’s be honest here: Young men, especially the kind who usually join the military, like pornography. Unless you’re God, you can’t ever change that. Prostitutes marched with Wellington’s army in the Peninsular campaign, and prostitutes came onboard ship in Lord Nelson’s navy. Sex and sexually explicit material are nothing new to the military.

The letter writer asks where the legitimate research is on allowing pornography in theater, and then states that "pornography is not only a net loss for the military, but also a detractor to good order and discipline." Did anyone see any conclusive evidence to back up his statement? He should get his own legitimate research before demanding it from others.

Morale rises and falls on good chow, enough sleep, a healthy amount of time off work, and yes, even the pornography.

Pfc. James Simpson
Camp Ramadi, Iraq

Other spouses more worthy

Stars and Stripes has hit an all-time low.

When I noticed the headline that a spouse was offering 12 months of distractions for soldiers, I was curious as to what it could be ("A model spouse; Soldier’s wife offers 12 months of distraction" (article, May 22). As I read on and realized it was a promotion for a lingerie calendar, the first thing that popped into my head — bad idea. I am appalled that Stars and Stripes would even consider this to be something that families of deployed soldiers would want to see.

Why is it that the accomplishments of a bikini model (is her husband even deployed?) make it to the paper (twice, also in Spotlight, Sept. 10, 2007, Europe edition) and not the accomplishments of other spouses who support soldiers downrange? How about spouses who are home with their children, playing the role of both parents while one is deployed? Is this not as important as someone who is getting paid to make a calendar?

I made a calendar for my husband with 12 months of pictures of his family. I suppose he would want to look at pictures of someone else though — is this what Stars and Stripes wants spouses of deployed soldiers to be thinking?

I would like to add that in the previous article about the bikini model, she states that Italian women are "more blessed with looks" than American women. Come on! Leave it to Stars and Stripes to not only offend its female American readers, but slap them in the face.

I am sure someone will say this is a jealousy-provoked letter, but I am lucky to be secure in my marriage. I am, however, offended as a woman, a parent and a proud supporter of our troops.

Jodi Ventimiglia
Stuttgart, Germany

Military gear for calendar girl?

I would like to express my opinion about "A model spouse; Soldier’s wife offers 12 months of distraction."

I don’t know how this made news in Stars and Stripes since there could have been better things to report on.

I visited her Web site, and now that I know who she is and how she takes her pictures, I am shocked that she is going to be allowed to wear military gear and parts of the uniform in her "calendar."

I don’t know how she is allowed to do this when Air Force Staff Sgt. Michelle Manhart did the same thing and got discharged. Granted, she was active duty, but this woman is a spouse and represents other spouses in Europe.

This woman should not have the right to use any part of the uniform or any military gear, even if it’s mixed (with lingerie). She should stick to what she has done and worn in the past.

I really hope this calendar doesn’t make it into Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores in Europe.

Lauren Ross
Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany

Same problem at Schweinfurt

I understand the writer of "Vilseck quarters on decline" (letter, May 21). It’s the same here in Schweinfurt.

Most people just do not care about their quarters or other people’s property.

We have much the same problems as described in the major’s letter. I too have seen knee-high grass, nonrecycled trash piled up in trash bins or on balconies, toys left unattended in the street, broken beer bottles on the playground.

Adults have given little-to-no attention to areas or their responsibilities as parents. Playgrounds have been torn up, cars scratched, toys and bicycles destroyed.

It has steadily become worse as people have begun to relocate.

Who is checking on these areas when someone clears? My husband is required to inspect his soldiers’ areas, so why have people allowed the standard to slip with off-post homes?

I have attempted numerous times to find solutions with the off-post housing chain of command. My efforts sometimes seem to fall on deaf ears.

I find it extremely embarrassing to be a proud spouse of a servicemember and a representative of the U.S. forces in Europe when various parts of the surrounding community are kept in an unsatisfactory condition.

Is it a privilege? Yes it is, as well as a responsibility.

Clean up after yourselves!

Olga Bock
Schweinfurt, Germany

Pacific edition

There were no letters to the editor in today's Pacific edition.

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