In reference to "Gates says urgent need to cut defense bureaucracy" (article, May 8), I applaud Defense Secretary Robert Gates for attempting to cut the military waste.

Having served for 10 years with multiple deployments, I understand the diverse job we are required to accomplish. However, while the rest of America suffers a nearly 10 percent unemployment rate, a two-year recession and skyrocketing health care costs, the military has received free health care and pay raises.

Seeing as we are a direct reflection of society and its taxes pay our salaries, we should attempt to make the sacrifices society is forced to make in the pay and incentives arena.

Can military members really expect the government to support the entire cost of every child born to a military family while U.S. taxpayers see up to a 40 percent increase in their monthly health care costs? Why does it take 10 pages of paperwork to go on rest and recuperation when, last I checked, a leave form is a single page? Our health care spending and overly bureaucratic bumbling of paperwork are debilitating the time and resources available to the soldiers who actually need them.

To the leadership: Please stop adding more paperwork at every level of leadership. To the soldiers: Please refrain from getting your wife pregnant the day you return from deployment and going to sick call just to get out of physical training. To Department of the Army civilians: Please stay retired; we already have enough soldiers who are pretending to work that we don’t need to pay you twice as much to do nothing. Finally, to the Army: Please stop wasting money and the more precious resource of time for your insanely idiotic form of checks and balances.

First Lt. Morgan C. LeretteForward Operating Base Justice, Iraq

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