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As a public service to the Wiesbaden and Mainz military community in Germany, I would like to inform people that it is possible to check on the credentials and professional status of attorneys, certified public accountants and IRS enrolled agents for filing income tax refunds. In this day and age of heightened concern with the vulnerability of personal data, one cannot be too careful in terms of sharing personal information.

As long as the person in question is a person of integrity, he or she should welcome a background check before you conduct business with him or her. All you need is the person’s name and address, and you can check this on the IRS website. Using the search function in the top righthand corner, you simply type in Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and follow the prompts.

Be very careful who you share your personal information with. Just because someone says he or she is something does not always mean that he or she is.

Jeffrey Jolin

Wiesbaden, Germany

GIs can do those jobs

This will make a lot of people upset (the truth often does that). First, get rid of all the civilian contractors — cooks, fuel handlers, ammo handlers, range control, security guards, civilian instructors, mechanics, clerks, groundskeepers, gym towel distribution engineers, transporters, and telecommunications and network engineers — who are doing servicemembers’ jobs.

Ironically, the existence of these contractors was supposed to do two things: free up soldiers to perform their combat missions and save money. In reality, neither happened. What did happen is that a lot of companies that supply the labor got rich, politicians got their re-election money and a whole bunch of civilians got great jobs.

Operation Iraqi Freedom is finished, Operation Enduring Freedom is almost done and we have more than enough manpower to do these jobs ourselves. The true beauty of it? Soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines don’t get paid by the hour.

Sgt. 1st Class Chris Russell

Fort Hood, Texas

Failure of force protection

Two U.S. airmen are dead and two are wounded. Why are U.S. military personnel being transported to a civilian airport in a Blue Bird bus? These buses are appropriate for secure military installations but, when they leave an installation, they stand out as an obvious U.S. military bus.

Why aren’t trips off-post/base conducted in unmarked, host-nation buses with tinted windows? With all the U.S. tax dollars that are wasted around the globe, can’t we afford better protection for our military personnel?

Wednesday in Frankfurt, Germany, two airmen were murdered and two were wounded and countless lives were shattered and changed forever. Now that a successful attack has taken place, new security measures will surely be implemented. In the post-Sept. 11 world, why do our security measures continue to be reactive instead of proactive?

This attack is a travesty and a failure of our force-protection measures. My condolences go out to the families and friends of these airmen.

John Cauffman

Stuttgart, Germany

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