Support our mission

This month my girlfriend came to visit me TDY, and I wanted to take her to the new Wiesbaden Bowling Center lounge (upstairs). We were happy to find a really nice new venue, but confused to see there is a $5 cover charge.

Everyone I’ve talked to since has said that they really want to try out the new bar, but would rather pay a cover for a club downtown. Everyone seems to be waiting to see if the cover will stop before going. Is $5 an exorbitant amount? No, but paying any cover charge to a Morale, Welfare and Recreation facility seems contrary to the facility’s very purpose.

In the “real world” free market, cover charges exist at clubs for completely warranted and conceivable reasons. But strictly speaking, an MWR bar and lounge exists purely to supplant the clubs on the economy. If I am understanding “MWR” correctly, the facility’s very existence is to provide U.S. soldiers and families with a safe, familiar and budget-friendly alternative to other forms of entertainment.

Troubled as I was by this, I hopped on the MWR website to see if I could find an explanation. Not only is this $5 cover charge demonstrably unknown to MWR at large, but the very same week our new bowling center opened in Wiesbaden, MWR launched its “Family and Customer Covenant,” signed by Maj. Gen. Reuben Jones. The press release for said event included this quote from Rich Gorman, U.S. Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command executive director and chief operating officer: “The covenant is a symbol of the commitment we will make to doing business a bit differently, understanding the way to excellent service for [our] Soldiers.”

This sounds great, MWR. Now let’s recommit to doing business a bit differently and let the soldiers use their own lounge for free, please.

Daniel M. Olsen

Wiesbaden, Germany

Respect the family’s wishes

The Sept. 9 Ombudsman column “A tough call on photo of dying Marine” caused me to have mixed feelings. I adamantly believe that we have to learn from current and past mistakes in order to move foward in a positive manner, but displaying a photo of a dying Marine against the family’s wishes is insensitive.

This photo may be moving and horrific to the public, but can you imagine what the family feels every time that they see their relative’s dying moment. That brave man had people who cared deeply about him, and mourned his death.

I agree that this photo is an accurate and moving representation of the war that our brave soldiers are fighting today, but the family protested for a reason. The man had just died, and using this photo so soon was an insensitive act. The photo should be available to the public, but not while this tragedy is so fresh on the family’s heart.

Courtney Duceatt

Aviano Air Base, Italy

Beret didn’t meet specs

I am writing in response to the June 8 article you printed on the Old Guard (“Dedication to detail”). The article goes into detail about the attention to detail to which these soldiers have to adhere in order to become a member of this prestigious unit. However, the front-page photo shows Sgt. Nicholas Pata incorrectly wearing the Army black beret. It would be a more convincing article if they spent less time on a ribbon that is 1/16th of an inch out of place and focus more on a beret that is 1 ½ inches out of place.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Aaron Lanious

Forward Operating Base Wolverine, Afghanistan


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