Regarding the Nov. 20 front-page article “Different tactics: U.S. sending tanks to southern Afghanistan”: It may interest your readers to know that the Canadian army has employed tanks, both the Leopard 1 and 2 models, in the Kandahar province of southern Afghanistan since 2006, and with great success. The last sentence of the article, regarding the then-International Security Assistance Force commander’s concern about Afghans’ sensitivity to the presence of tanks, is therefore not understood.

It is not surprising that the U.S. Marines in 2009 had wanted to deploy tanks as well, given the close working relationship and warrior culture between the Canadian and U.S. forces. Tanks are but another very effective tool in the toolbox commanders can use to prosecute the counterinsurgency (COIN) campaign.

I’m glad to see that U.S. forces will now be in line with the remainder of the coalition. If the U.S. experience parallels that of Canada, having tanks on the ground will save lives.

John B. McNair


Sensible shoes for female GIs

I have seen and heard a lot of talk about introducing a new uniform that will be tailored to a woman’s body. Now I don’t really care about the way the ACU fits me because, at the end of the day, it’s a uniform and the point is to “unify” our forces under one standard. But boots are another thing.

Being a female in the military, all of my uniforms and equipment are provided for me in the appropriate size. And while that’s all fine and dandy, what I don’t get is that all of these “high speed” boots (that are usually more comfortable and durable than the Army-issued boots) only seem to tailor to the majority of soldiers who have average foot sizes. I get it, the majority of servicemembers wear larger boot sizes, but does that mean that those of use who were born with small feet have to suffer? The answer should be no.

I wish I could wear the high-speed Oakleys that everyone says are “Soooooo comfy!” But, unfortunately, Oakley does not make my minuscule size of 4.

I am not asking for special treatment but, instead, equality. I deal with being short/small every day of my life; all I want is for some of these companies to consider that more and more women are joining the armed forces than ever before and some of those women have small feet and some of those small-feet women would greatly appreciate to wear those “Oh, so comfortable boots” everyone is raving about. It can’t be that hard, it would even take less material!

Staff Sgt. Ashley Whitaker

Forward Operating Base Lagman, Afghanistan

Shahan’s attitude played role

I recently read your article about the Heidelberg High School head football coach, Brad Shahan, being fired from his position. I am a Wiesbaden High parent who would just like to clarify some apparent questions many people seem to have.

I was at that game and watched as we were pummeled by the [Heidelberg] Lions. It was a hard game to watch, but we all knew that the Lions beat us fair and square. We take nothing away from the [Lions’] win, and our boys didn’t either.

The problem came in the last 58 seconds of the game. Just after our boys scored their second touchdown, they were getting into position for the extra point and the Lions were getting into position as well. The next thing we knew, the Lions were running off the field. Our boys waited, and waited. We, the crowd, watched and waited as well. Our boys looked to the Lions’ side bench and noticed they were lining up on the 50-yard line, so they turned to the coach for answers and he told them to just kneel the ball.

Shahan was told to get his boys back on the field but, in his arrogance and in complete and total lack of respect for the game, he marched his boys across the field for their final handshake and went home.

It was obvious that even with 58 seconds on the clock, our boys weren’t going to win the game, they wouldn’t even have had time to tie it. It was just rude, cocky and completely disrespectful. Our boys were humiliated and so embarrassed.

Our coach then filed a petition, as the rulebook states we can. The rule is, if a team walks off the field before the game is over, they forfeit. It wasn’t filed because we wanted the win but because the way Shahan handled the situation that day was wrong.

The fact is, these two teams will be one soon and all that Shahan did on Oct. 9 was create a bigger divide between two teams. There needs to be some peace and I think Shahan’s leaving was an excellent start.

I’m proud of the way our boys played. I just think all the adults involved with this new uproar need to let sleeping dogs lie. Enough is enough and it’s time for our boys to move on and heal.

Tamara Polson

Wiesbaden, Germany

Vick more sick than slick

It may be an overreaction, but I find it shameful that Stars and Stripes would laud a convicted felon in a full-page article on the back of your Nov. 21 edition (“Vick the slick”). It is clear that the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles and most of the football fans in this country are willing to overlook the fact that Michael Vick, while an outstanding athlete, is a sorry excuse for a human being, but I am surprised that your publication would glorify him as you have.

Most would argue that he has served his time following his conviction for dogfighting and animal cruelty, but the reality is that he is an athlete who will make money for the Eagles and the NFL, and principles are irrelevant. His felony record would render him ineligible for employment at The Home Depot as a lot attendant, perhaps that is why Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank took a pass on restoring his superstar status. I wish you had done the same with the full-page feature.

Lt. Cmdr. Scott Feuille

Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti

Repeal not OK with Marine

I’d like to be clear about the consequences of allowing homosexuals in the Marine Corps to be open about their lifestyle choice. The day I see a male Marine holding hands with another man while strolling along the beach during a battalion family day event at Camp Pendleton, Calif., will be the day I stop taking my family to these events.

When I return from my deployment to Camp Pendleton, I expect to be assigned as a company commander in an all-male unit. My wife is excited to serve as the company key volunteer, but I can guarantee you that she will not invite any male “significant others” to the spouses events, which are traditionally wives events. Another wife may be more willing, but the divisive nature of this contentious issue will destroy the family readiness programs.

Even if a Marine Corps policy is set demanding that “official” family readiness programs accept homosexuals into their ranks, many families will resort to “unofficial” gatherings of the wives, creating a very unhealthy rift. As a professional, if “don’t ask, don’t tell” is repealed, I will treat homosexual Marines with professionalism and fairness when it comes to promotions, awards, assignments, etc., but I have no intention of ever accepting or promoting their lifestyle choice. It is a perversion of nature, not accepted by mainstream America and a violation of God’s principles. Even California could not legalize homosexual marriage, and that state is as liberal as it gets.

Finally, I would like to sincerely thank those senior military leaders as well the civilian leaders such as Sen. John McCain for standing up on principle to this political ploy by the left to pander to a minority interest group at the expense of national defense.

Capt. Jonathan Morris

Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan

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