Regarding the Dec. 3 article “A motley crew: Patchwork team steps up to plug training gaps”: Nothing could be further from the description of “A motley crew.” All Marines, being riflemen, can come together regardless of military occupation specialty to form a tightknit team. This has always been a cornerstone of being a Marine.

During World War II a Marine aviator from a unit with no serviceable planes was asked by the Marine commandant what his job was. His reply was “Marine rifleman on temporary duty as an aviator.”

Richard Torres

Forward Operating Base Taji, Iraq

Put Pearl Harbor in its place

I was very disappointed with the front-page coverage on Dec. 7. Instead of a story of our country’s worst attack in history, Pearl Harbor, and our entrance into World War II, there was a picture of a young women plucking her eyebrows. It is very sad that we forgot about all those American lives lost. I hope that in 69 years from now Sept. 11 is remembered!

Maj. Leevi MacDonald

Heidelberg, Germany

Priorities lost in Dec. 7 issue

Dec. 7 issue, front page — half-page color photo of Army sergeant plucking her eyebrows; Pearl Harbor remembered on Page 9 in less space than the eyebrow photo required. No further comments required.

John Hayes

Darmstadt, Germany

Not fond of Fonda coverage

I am a Vietnam-era Air Force veteran, and I am very displeased that you included coverage of Jane Fonda (aka “Hanoi Jane”) in your Personality Parade section on Dec. 5. Many of us consider her actions in Hanoi during the war to be treasonous. We also feel that she has never adequately owned up to her behavior.

She endangered our prisoners of war — many of whom were beaten by their captors as a result. These actions are documented by the POWs themselves.

While not a Vietnam vet myself, I can neither forgive nor forget what she did and the effect it had on the morale of all of us serving at that time.

Thomas Rowe

Louisville, Ky.

Encouraging report on animals

I applaud Stars and Stripes for featuring animals and the joy they bring deployed soldiers (“Bases going to the dogs — and cats,” article, Dec. 12). Throughout all of my deployments, animals have been one of the very few things that are able to improve my morale. They provide unconditional love and remind me of home.

I am thankful the newspaper put such a positive spin on the countless strays that soldiers have the possibility of helping. If the United States really wants to help build up and improve countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, they should help the local community to provide spay/neuter programs, rabies shots and adoption centers instead of having vector control kill everything that isn’t human on the land they occupy.

Helping animals shouldn’t be a military crime. It goes against everything I believe in as a respectable and compassionate human being.

Sgt. Rachel Kozak

Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq

Wrong approach to fill ranks

In the Dec. 8 brief “Official for legalizing young immigrants,” I read that Clifford Stanley, undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, wants illegal immigrants to be able to join the military. Is this person serious? This person must never have ever served in the military.

I can only speak about my experiences in the Army in that we have had a bad enough time with those who have committed multiple felonies and other criminals coming in the Army and destroying good order and discipline. From 2003 to 2008 we were letting in people with multiple felonies and multiple drug arrests and giving them bonuses. These will be the future leaders of the Army, too.

What does Stanley think these individuals are going to do for the Army? There is enough controversy over “don’t ask, don’t tell” and now they want to open the floodgates to let in even more criminals too?

James Kenyon

Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

Coming to terms with ‘don’t ask’

I would like an explanation of what it means to “serve openly gay.” I don’t understand what that means and, as far as I know, it has yet to be defined. People would be more comfortable with a change in policy if the policy was defined.

I have no problem serving alongside gay servicemembers. Their sexual preference is not my concern. I do, however, believe that all people have rights, and to violate heterosexuals’ rights to privacy by forcing them to share close quarters, toilets, showers, etc with people who are openly gay is no way to implement the policy.

Heterosexuals should be given the option to utilize their own bathrooms, showers and living quarters. We don’t force men and women to share these facilities, so let’s be fair across the board.

As far as service is concerned, we should all be professional and adhere to the same equal opportunity guidelines that are currently in place, and understand that sexuality has no place in the workplace. This will allow everyone to serve while respecting everyone’ else’s rights.

Maj. Marie Black (retired)

Fayetteville, N.C.

‘Don’t ask’ survey not final word

In regard to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, why wasn’t the “survey” [of servicemembers and their families on the issue] advertised? If it was, my entire unit was blind to it. They could have advertised it like the climate survey or any other survey we can take part in every year via e-mail or supervision.

I feel the results were invalid and did not capture 100 percent of the airmen’s view due to the lack of participation. Or should I say due to the targeted participants? I call for a redo.

Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Leuch

Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.

Survey is statistically sound

If you have strong opinions about the possible repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” then more power to you. As an American, that is your constitutionally given right. However, a wise person will temper his passion with knowledge — much like a warrior dons his armor and grabs his weapon before the battle. To do otherwise makes you seem like a half-wit spewing ignorance, vitriol and rhetoric, regardless of what side you may take in the argument. To do otherwise would be like leading the charge naked and unarmed.

To those who pontificate about the situation: How about before flying off the handle and simply parroting the questions and opinions raised by known partisan news networks, you do a little digging yourself? Read the study that the Department of Defense published — it addresses nearly every question you have about the repeal.

As someone who has taken college statistics courses, I believe the study is valid. Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson and Army Gen. Carter Ham, who ran the study, plus [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs] Adm. Mike Mullen, would not endorse it were it not the case. Just because only 6 percent of servicemembers returned the survey doesn’t change that. For the total population of the military, that percentage is overkill and, given the considerations they used in obtaining data (e.g. random soldiers/spouses selected for the survey, holding reviews at several military bases, even speaking with partners of currently serving gays and lesbians), it has been deemed “well within the standards” of a military study. Form your opinions from there.

Spc. Andrew Strider

Victory Base Complex, Iraq

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