September 21

'Army of None'

Letters index(Click on date to jump ahead)

September 21 ‘Army of None’ One-year tours actually longer Double standard for Guard Deployment threatens Reserve Angry about Lynch Too much attentionSeptember 22 Reservists are different ‘International guard’ Thanks for support Reservists getting out Reservists neededSeptember 24 Many thanks to platoon Only battles are differentSeptember 25 Bush misleading AmericansSeptember 26 U.S. effort gave Iraq a chanceSeptember 27 High on lower enlisted GIs All leaders can better morale ETS discrepancies irksome All took oath to serve

I’m assigned to the 211th Combat Training Center and Army Reserve Transportation Company. I’m currently in Kuwait. Under the new “one year on ground” announcement, we’re looking at a 19-month activation — if we’re lucky. We were activated at below 20 percent strength in January, and as a result spent five months active before we were “on ground.”

One thing I find disturbing is that we’re still sending active-duty personnel home after tours of less than eight months. I work where military personnel process out so they can redeploy. A few days ago I asked a captain whose active-duty company was going home how long they’d been in country. He said seven and a half months!

When active-duty soldiers are deployed:

1) They make more money.

2) Their families are taken care of with housing, reliable medical care, etc.

3) Their loved ones are surrounded by the “Army family,” which we reservists only hear about.

When reservists are activated:

1) We lose money and our financial situations deteriorate steadily over time.

2) Our housing is often in jeopardy due to our bad financial situations.

3) Our families get no support, Tricare seems to always experience “hiccups in the system,” and the “Army family” is not in the cities, only on active bases.

So why are reservists activated longer than active-duty, often two times as long? In the years to come, the Army will no doubt feel the consequences of these decisions and the antipathy with which we reservists are regarded. In a few years, when the Army needs to call on reservists and discovers that most of them have ETS’d and few are willing to join, maybe it will admit its mistakes. No. Instead, I think the Army will confront retention in the same tired ways, with a new slogan (perhaps “An Army of None”) and maybe a new hat.

Pfc. Brandon BiegertKuwait

One-year tour actually longer

This is in response to the recent announcement that Reserve and National Guard soldiers in Iraq will serve one-year tours. I’m a member of the Army National Guard who is affected by this order. I always hear people say, “Well, this is what you signed up for” when our guardsmen voice their discontent with this order. But there are other factors that readers should consider.

When a National Guard unit mobilizes to deploy, we don’t go straight to the Middle East. We first go through mobilizations at stateside bases that are always far away from our home states. In our case, we spent almost three months getting ready for deployment before we even got to Iraq. Then once our one-year tour is up, we have to redeploy to the stateside base and go through demobilization procedures. We also have to use up any leave we accumulated in the 15- or 16-month period before we head back to our civilian jobs. This can mean that some of us will be gone from our jobs for almost a year and a half.

Putting our employers through such a length of time without us could seriously jeopardize the chances of other reservists and guardsmen to find work. It’s unlawful to discriminate against someone who’s in the Reserve or Guard. But how does a person know that the reason he was never called for an interview was because he wrote on his résumé that he’s a guardsman or reservist?

With such a large call-up for such lengthy periods of time away from work, I’m willing to bet that employers will think twice about hiring citizen soldiers in the future to avoid losing key personnel.

Reservists and guardsmen should be used to augment our active duty soldiers, not to cover up serious shortcomings in the number of active duty personnel.

Spc. Carl JacksonBaghdad, Iraq

Double standard for Guard

I’m a National Guard soldier serving in Kosovo. I just read the letter “Where are Army values?” (Sept. 13). National Guard soldiers have the same Army values that most of our Army counterparts have. We not only serve our country when needed, but we serve our states as well. If our states have floods or blackouts, who is called? Not the Army.

The Army has set its values for us to follow, and we follow them. But let me tell readers how the Army values National Guard members. It mobilizes us for one year with an option for a second year. It sends us to Ft. Stewart, Ga., for some training that was scheduled to be completed within a month. But the Army makes us sit there for more than three months to support Ft. Stewart’s economy. The extra three months at Ft. Stewart were a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Those who retire from the Army after 20 years of service receive a retirement check the following month along with all the other benefits. When we retire after 20 years of service with the National Guard, we’re required to wait until we’re 60 years old before we see our first retirement check. This is a double standard.

We can go to war with the regular Army and serve peacekeeping missions with the regular Army, but we don’t receive the same benefits as the regular Army. So until the letter writer walks in our shoes, I think he should keep his opinions about the National Guard to himself.

Staff Sgt. Kevin DreibelbisCamp Monteith, Kosovo

Deployment threatens Reserve

The idea behind Reserve components is to help in emergencies. They are to be a ready militia during a time of war or when great need arises. They’re then to return to their homes, their jobs, and their families. This is a part-time role, not an active-duty tour. Yet the active-duty professionals continue to insist that the Iraq deployment will not overwhelmingly affect recruiting and retention. They insist that all of the Reserve component forces will come around and realize, in looking back, that the deployment really wasn’t that bad.

Tell that to the college students who will be two years behind their classmates and peers. Tell that to the proprietors who no longer have businesses. Tell that to the working professionals who just missed the biggest promotions of their careers. Tell that to the soldiers whose families won’t be there to welcome them home.

The Reserve component program will be severely crippled in six years, if not totally dead. America was founded to provide the freedom of voice and with the integrity to speak our differences.

Sgt. John A. KrumKuwait

Angry about Lynch

I’m writing about the upcoming book, “I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story.” This story and the whole deal with Lynch makes me a little angry.

Yes, she went to war and fought for her county. But what about Shoshawna Johnson or Pfc. Lori Piestewa, the Native American female who gave her life and left behind her children and family? What did the Army or anybody give that soldier? I sure don’t see publishers beating down her family's door to publish her story and keep her memory alive for her precious children.

I’d also like to express my opinion about Lynch’s $1 million book deal. What did Lynch do that thousands of other soldiers don’t do every day? To me, this is my job. I signed a contract, and nowhere does it say that if I become a prisoner of war, I’ll walk away with a book deal, a new car, and an addition built onto my house.

Nothing makes me happier than serving my country and ensuring that my son is safe in this crazy world.

Lynch should consider herself a lucky soldier and not forget where she came from. She should remember the soldiers who paved the way and gave their lives for our country. Lynch should also remember the Native American woman who gave her life for our country and left behind her precious children.

Since Lynch thinks America deserves to hear her story, has she considered that we should hear it for free?

Sgt. Joy M. DutyKitzingen, Germany

Too much attention

I feel that the media attention Jessica Lynch is getting is a bunch of junk. Where are the others who were lost, killed and taken as prisoners of war? Lynch doesn’t remember what happened, so how is she going to make a movie or do a book? The only reason Lynch has been made a so-called hero is because she’s a woman.

What happened with the other POWs? Why aren’t they receiving any media attention? Why didn’t they get honorably discharged and receive $1 million? Why didn’t they get new cars or their homes refurbished?

I don’t understand what our society is thinking. The only thing Lynch should be honored for is staying alive. Her unit reportedly crashed and Lynch was injured. She wasn’t shot. What makes that so special?

As the wife of a deployed soldier, I feel that Lynch should not have received so much attention.

Corrine LighthizerMannheim, Germany

September 22

Reservists are different

Many people say that reservists and guardsmen need to stop bickering and suck it up. I’m a reservist, and I won’t stop bickering until the day I’m home with my 3-year-old son.

Active duty members keep reminding us that we volunteered and we’re soldiers. That’s true. But I only volunteered to do this part time, and it makes my blood boil to know that active-duty soldiers who put on this uniform every day seem to have shorter tours. I didn’t mind doing a six- to nine-month rotation. But why should we have to stay longer when there are soldiers who signed up full time?

We have reservists who are losing jobs, houses and even families. Reservists are different. This is not an “Army of One.” Unlike active-duty soldiers, we can’t ETS or PCS from here. A Washington Post story said that there’s not a retention problem in the Reserve or Guard. Of course there isn’t. We can’t leave! Reservists and guardsmen still in the states will of course sign back up because they’re still going to school, to their real jobs, and home to their families.

Many single parents are being neglected. Hence, their children suffer. Many of us are losing money. The government talks about how morale is high. Where is it looking? Kuwait? Of course morale is high in Kuwait. Living conditions are better and there’s more recreation for soldiers.

People say this is a war. I understand that. In the combat phase of the war, everyone had a big part and it was an “Army of One.” When it becomes one again, I’ll quit bickering and tell the rest of my fellow reservists and guardsmen to do the same.

Shantaya HainesIraq

'International guard'

This is to all those Army active-duty people who tell us reserves and guardsmen to suck it up and drive on. I am a prior service Marine and did four years active duty, so I know what active duty is like. That’s why I’m a guardsman and not an international guardsman.

I’ve been here since May 1, and I’ve seen a lot of things since the war was officially announced as over. One of my friends was shot in the stomach five feet away from me. That’s right – an international guardsman. So don’t think we are out here just twiddling our thumbs.

I’m with a transportation unit that outperforms any of our so-called active-duty transportation units in our battalion. So to avoid any more embarrassment to the active duty, just send the international guardsmen home! This is going to do nothing to help the recruiting of new soldiers. So the active Army guys better re-enlist for the next stay in the world’s largest ashtray. And those guys can suck it up and drive on.

Did I mention that our unit has 20 soldiers who have ETS dates and can’t go home because they are international guardsmen? And we don’t get to go back home to attend any kind of military schools because – you guessed it – we’re international guardsmen, trying to suck it up and drive on.

Spc. Ron HuffmanIraq

Thanks for support

I’m with the 64th Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion. I’m writing because the Wal-Mart distribution center in Sharon Spring, N.Y., is supporting our company’s morale here in Iraq during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Mrs. Valarie Ruff, operations manager, has sent us DVDs, a basketball, a volleyball/badminton set and an assortment of board games including Yahtzee and Scrabble.

Mrs. Ruff found out about me because my father, Lawrence Molinaro, and his girlfriend, Diane Hayes, work at the distribution center.

The 64th Military Police Company soldiers and I would like to send our thanks and appreciation to Mrs. Ruff and all the workers who helped support us out here. God bless them.

Pfc. Michael MolinaroIraq

Reservists getting out

My Army Reserve unit was called up in February. We’re in the 244th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy) out of Fort Carson, Colo. A majority of us got transferred out of the 88th Regional Support Command. We arrived at Fort Carson in March for in-processing and didn’t get to Kuwait for about four and a half weeks. We finally got to Iraq at the end of June.

For the first month all we did was sit around and pull guard duty. I remind readers that we’re engineers. The pace has picked up, and now we’re building fighting positions and putting up forward operating bases all over Iraq. It’s now September, and we were recently told that our orders are getting extended until May 19, one full year in theater. One could go active Army and be done sooner.

We’re a Reserve unit that will have been active for 18 months by the time we actually return home. As a result, many of my fellow troops are getting out and not re-enlisting. Many have full-time jobs and careers back home with bills that we can’t afford to pay off with our new reductions in salary. We don’t agree with the decisions of Congress. This has affected soldiers’ families, lives, financial situations, and especially their morale. We realize that many are in the same exact situation. But we’re just asking everyone to join us in prayer for a quick and safe return home.

Spc. Timothy GarfatIraq

Reservists needed

I recently read the letter “No morale left” (Sept. 12). It was written by a reservist. To my understanding, an employer can’t fire a worker if the worker is a reservist deployed overseas or in combat.

I’m not complaining, but if President Bush orders us into combat, then what choice is there? None. It goes back to the day everyone in the armed forces raised their right hands and were sworn into this way of life. I feel like it’s a battle between the Army, Army Reserve, and National Guard. But the real battle is on the streets of Iraq.

I’m a signaler, so I can’t say much about the combat part. But I know that if I have to squeeze the trigger, then so be it. It’s either be shot at or shoot at someone. Which one do readers prefer?

There are times that my morale has gone down, but there’s not much I can do about it but suck it up. My daughter was born three months after I got to Iraq. I couldn’t go home to be with my wife and newborn.

This might sound bad, but we should enjoy the pay. That’s about the only good thing that can be said about being here besides helping Iraq rebuild.

Reservists are really needed, and their help is greatly appreciated. Indeed, this is an “Army of One,” one Army fighting our nation’s war.

Sgt. Mahoma TelloBaghdad, Iraq

September 24

Many thanks to platoon

I’d like to thank all the members of the 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor for their support in crossing the berm into Iraq and taking Nasiriyah. That marked the beginning of a lot of historical firsts for the soldiers of Company B and 2nd Battalion, 70th Armor.

A special thanks also to Gen. David H. Petraeus of the 101st Airborne Division, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment Widow Makers, and Company C, 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry (1st Armored Division) for the opportunity to learn firsthand how to fight side by side with the infantry in urban environments. My platoon and I learned more from the experiences in Najaf, Hillah and Karbala than any manual or controlled training event ever could have taught us. It was an honor fighting with them all. We hope they learned as much from us as we learned from them. We will never forget our brothers in arms who fell during the fighting.

I also thank our families and friends back home for their support. We look forward to properly thanking them once we return home. Thanks also to Company A, 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry (Team Amoeba). Our home away from home wouldn’t be complete without them. They brought us in as a part of their team and family, and it’s been a pleasure working with them.

Finally, I want to thank the members of my platoon. I was unable to properly say farewell due to a rapid and unexpected career progression. It was an honor and a pleasure serving as platoon leader at Fort Riley, Kan., and ultimately leading them all into combat in Iraq. There were tough times when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, but did. But instead of giving up, they all sucked it up and drove on. When I was reaching the end of my rope, all it took to set me right was a brief conversation with them and I was good to go. I’ll never forget the times we shared and everything they taught me. They all made being a platoon leader easy and possibly the best and most rewarding job I’ll ever have in the Army.

1st Lt. Matthew C. WilliamsBaghdad, Iraq

Only battles are differentetter

I’ve been in Vietnam. Now I’m ending my career in Kosovo. What men go through in war is nothing new. Only the battles are different. Only time can heal. They remember what peace tastes like. They should just remember that someone else has had it tougher, and that there is always someone suffering worse than them. War is hell. Returning home is a piece of heaven.

Sgt. Thomas MashCamp Bondsteel, Kosovo

September 25

Bush misleading Americans

President Bush is misleading Americans about the reasons for invading Iraq. Hundreds of U.S. soldiers are dead and many more wounded. Our soldiers are fighting to defend each other, but not truly fighting to defend America, and America is what they signed up to defend. Why then are our soldiers dying, if not to protect America?

On Sept. 15, 2001, our president met with his Cabinet at Camp David. Neoconservatives led by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Vice President Dick Cheney lobbied for their special interest groups instead of the American people. They told the president that now was the time to go after Saddam Hussein. They said that American forces may get bogged down in Afghanistan just as the British and Soviets had, and America needed early successes to maintain domestic support. Iraq, they claimed, would be easy pickings. This had nothing to do with Sept. 11, 2001, weapons of mass destruction or threats to America.

Bush decided that Afghanistan would be first. But Iraq would be next. Who on Sept. 15, 2001, was thinking about liberating Iraq? I think most Americans wanted to get Osama bin Laden. If that’s true, then Bush and Rumsfeld have failed us.

In the first Gulf War, Iraq had the fourth-largest army in the world. It was backed by weapons of mass destruction and a strong air force. In the years since, every U.S. weapons system has been improved tenfold. Meanwhile, Iraqi’s forces had been degraded by more than 80 percent. Yet we’ve lost more soldiers in the latest Gulf War then we did in the first. Why? Leadership. Not Gen. Tommy Franks. He did his job. It’s Rumsfeld and his boss who refused to listen to the generals about the number of troops needed after taking Baghdad. Do we really want Rumsfeld transforming the Army?

Saddam and bin Laden hated each other. Saddam kept al-Qaida out of Iraq and kept the Islamic fundamentalists in Iraq under control. But Bush removed Saddam from Iraq, and now al-Qaida and other terrorists are pouring into Iraq to kill Americans. The Islamic fundamentalists are also rising up and talking about kicking the Americans out and taking over the country. All Bush could do was say, “Bring it on.” Yet he chose to fly over Baghdad in the safety of Air Force One.

Bush insulted the United Nations, and now he’s begging it to help clean up his mess. Do we really want to give these guys a second term?

James CarrethersHeidelberg, Germany

September 26

U.S. effort gave Iraq a chance

I spend most mornings angered as I read Stars and Stripes. It is not an official publication and therefore it has the right to print what it chooses. I sometimes feel as if I am reading talking points for the Democratic National Committee and other leftist political groups. It has not bothered me … until today. The Los Angeles Times printing of a column by Spc. Tim Predmore on Sept. 17 (It also ran in Stripes’ Sept. 23 edition under the headline “Hypocrisy: ‘Do as we say and not as we do’”) is so disgraceful that I almost became ill reading it. I cannot fathom what planet the editorial section of Stars and Stripes resides. It’s obviously not Earth. This publication has declared its own war. This war is to spread half-truths and negative innuendo against the current administration. It’s disgraceful and someone needs to point this out.

There are two types of people these days: those who believe we are at war and that our nation is at risk and those who believe this is a couple of random events and the “war mongers” are overreacting; if only Americans could be nicer people, no one would want to kill us. They can be further divided into folks who think terrorists attack us because of who we are and those who think terrorists brutally murder innocents because of what we do.

Spc. Predmore and most of the opposing political party seem obsessed with a “blame America first policy.” Since he seems unable to comprehend why he and his fellow soldiers are in Iraq as well as the staff of Stars and Stripes, I will: First, we are in Iraq because a brutal dictator has attempted to dominate the region and because on several occasions he has used chemical weapons. In 1998 the United Nations saw several tons of various agents. This is from a neutral body, not the Bush administration. It is well-documented.

Second, we had access to Iraq in a way we do not have to other terrorist nations.

Third, we are now an imposing threat to all those in that part of the world who either through overt or covert means support acts of terrorism against our country.

Fourth, by fighting these forces in Iraq we prevent ourselves from fighting them in the States.

I see media outlets tickled pink because American soldiers are engaged in fighting and dying. You can see the joy in their face every time they get to add “… after George Bush declared the end to major combat operations.” They sure did not seem so keen on this level of reporting when 18 soldiers were killed in Somalia, nor when innocent servicemembers were murdered in Yemen, Saudi Arabia or Beirut. Since 1972, thousands of innocents have been slaughtered.

Iraq is not about oil, despite the rhetoric of Bush-haters. If it was, we would have simply voted to remove the U.N. sanctions and for no cost and no bloodshed we would enjoy the benefits of cheaper oil. We are engaged in a life-and-death struggle to preserve our way of life and along the way we are establishing a legitimate democracy in the Middle East. Torture centers are no longer operating in Iraq. People can express anger and not worry about being imprisoned.

Japan had no history of democratic institutions prior to our arrival, nor was it an economic power. Japan is currently a thriving democracy with the world’s second largest economy. South Korea was a wasteland more desolate than Mars 53 years ago; today South Koreans enjoy the fruits of a democratic society, unlike their fellows to the North. In the last 60 years since the United States entered the world stage, we have transformed the world for the better.

We live in a great country, not a perfect one. Those who want to criticize our great country or our great president are welcome; it’s part of being an American.

Brave servicemembers who serve without writing letters decrying their countries and without whining to Stars and Stripes are the heroes. They know they volunteered to serve and that service doesn’t provide a lot of external reward. Iraqis can see a soldier with a weapon and not be afraid for the first time. They will soon get to vote and choose their own destiny. The ones who serve silently and without complaint know they saved our nation and the world from a terrible scourge. The naysayers and pundits can join the ranks of those who rationalized the activities of Josef Stalin, Pol Pot, the Ayatollah Khomeni and Saddam Hussein. Freedom ain’t free, but cheap talk is.

Chris JudgeYongsan Garrison, South Korea

September 27

High on lower enlisted GIs

This is in response to the Sept. 19 letter “Make best of deployment.” The writer is shallow and narrow-minded. For him to say, “I understand that’s what lower enlisted do” regarding complaints in Stars and Stripes was stereotyping and generalizing. My husband is a lower enlisted soldier who’s deployed to Iraq, and he’s a lot more mature, responsible and levelheaded than most noncommissioned officers I’ve seen. Maturity and responsibility do not fall under any rank or age structure. It’s solely an individual thing.

I’m so tired of lower enlisted members being discredited because of their rank. Just because some wear E-6 or above doesn’t always make them credible people. I’ve witnessed enough leaders who are not worthy of the rank they wear. For a lot of them it’s just a bigger paycheck, better retirement, power, and control. Any soldier can read the creed, remember the creed and live by the creed, but if they don’t believe in the creed, that’s the problem. It’s something one feels. The leaders who are worthy of the rank they wear, know what the creed feels like.

Lower enlisted soldiers don’t complain because they see sergeants complain. They complain because they’re human. Everyone complains about something at one point or another. Could it be because they’re Americans, and most Americans are known to be spoiled, selfish, greedy and ungrateful? Most of the soldiers down there don’t know how to live without television. We take things for granted. Everyone is guilty to some extent.

The way the writer, an NCO, generalized about lower enlisted soldiers sounded as though he has no trust, faith or respect for his subordinates. A good NCO will listen instead of ridiculing and degrading his soldiers. He won’t tell them to shut up.

Mary SuthannWiesbaden, Germany

All leaders can better morale

Yes, guardsmen and Army reservists are getting the short end of the stick. (I’m active duty.) Yes, soldiers are whining and complaining. (I’m an American, too.) Yes, it stinks major moose antlers to be stuck in Iraq for a year. (I’m married. For now. My wife’s probably thinking annulment.) Yes, whomever’s in charge of logistics should be fired. (I’m mechanized smoke. What am I doing instructing transportation and infantry units on how to do military police work?) Yes, we’re burning out on the war on terrorism. (I’m burnt out just reading about it, let alone fighting it.) Yes, morale is dropping straight to hell. (I’m doing something about it.)

We leaders are failing in our jobs. One of the Army tenets of leadership is to provide well-motivated guidance. But instead of motivating and encouraging our soldiers, we seem to be adding to the emotional bedlam. Morale is something every leader can do something about, from the lowest corporal to the generals on high. We leaders must break it to our troops honestly and with compassion, and lead by example. For every fault we find with higher-ups, we must ensure that those faults are not representations of us. There are some things we leaders cannot change, but it’s important to our soldiers that they know what’s unchangeable and what’s being done to change things for the better.

So the logistics stink. So year-plus deployments stink. So the situation is nasty and too many soldiers are getting chest wounds from improvised explosive devices and worse.

All too often, my father said, “If it’s broke, then fix it — or quit whining about it.” I’ve been sitting on my duff for far too long. My soldiers need me. Leadership starts here.

Maybe it’s time a lot of us leaders started following the basic tenets of our faith, our training, and our responsibilities. Complaining is an American-given right. But doing something about it is where some of my fellow leaders have been slacking. Let’s get our servicemembers home in one piece and, while we’re at it, maybe see what we can do to take the sting out of war.

If morale stinks, then it’s our fault. But we leaders are learning. We see some mighty big problems, but we’ve got a mighty big wrench.

Sgt. Joe ParishCamp Patriot, Kuwait

ETS discrepancies irksome

Why is it that active-duty personnel deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom who have already ETS’d were allowed to return home after stop loss was lifted while National Guard and Reserve component soldiers who have ETS’d must remain indefinitely?

I joined the National Guard with no intention of making it a career move. I wished to serve my country, uphold family tradition and learn new skills. I’ve served for seven months in Operation Iraqi Freedom, five months beyond my ETS date. I’ve served my time, as have others who have ETS’d. When will we be allowed to go home?

Now we’ve been informed that we will likely be extended for another six months in country. Such an extension would prevent me from ETSing for more than a year after my original commitment is completed. I feel like I’m being held prisoner.

Particularly disheartening is that my unit, the Army’s first tricomponent military unit composed of a National Guard company, a Reserve company and two active-duty companies, has already sent home its ETS’d active-duty soldiers. Our leadership talks about us all going home together, yet it doesn’t hold true when it comes to soldiers who’ve completed their military commitments. If the goal is component integration and to form a stronger, more efficient and more flexible military organization, then all the components must share the same expectations, restrictions and guidelines.

When I’ve questioned my leadership about this discrepancy I’ve received only vague nonanswers and “I don’t knows.” Someone told me it’s because the active-duty component has replacements for their soldiers while we don’t. That doesn’t make any sense. I know recruiting efforts have continued while we’ve been away and that our company had five or six new recruits heading off to basic training as we were being deployed. They should have completed their training by now. Why can’t they fill in for those of us who have ETS’d?

Of all the discrepancies in treatment between the Reserve components and active-duty soldiers, this certainly must be the most demeaning and demoralizing. Are we being told that our time and service to our country is worth less and therefore we should have to serve longer? I choose to believe that perhaps the problem is just being overlooked in the bureaucratic system of near-chaos that seems to reign supreme when it comes to paperwork, pay issues and other similar administrative difficulties. Perhaps I’m an optimist. Perhaps someone can clear this up for me.

Spc. Amy LynnMosul, Iraq

All took oath to serve

I’m writing in regard to the Aug. 28 letter “Active duty should take over.” I agree that active-duty personnel signed up to do this very duty while guardsmen did not. But there’s a bigger point to be made, which is that we all took an oath, be they guardsmen, reservists or active duty, to protect America against all enemies foreign and domestic.

I see a very serious problem. It’s almost becoming typical for many Americans to take their freedom for granted. What the writer needs to do is stop thinking about himself and start thinking about his family and all those who he’s helping right now.

Spc. Donald BunnIraq

Stripes in 7

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