Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

Tag: army


VIETNAM: No defense for My Lai massacre

PBS’s “American Experience” recently presented the story of one of the most abysmally heinous incidents in American military history: the murder of approximately 500 innocent old men, women, young children and even infants in the My Lai hamlet of South Vietnam. There was not even one enemy combatant among the dead.

At the end of the program, one of the Army participants defended his actions by saying that he was doing only what he was told to do. Those are the words of a guilty man and an empty soul. The murder of innocent, unarmed old people, not to mention infants, is

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MILITARY: VIP culture isn’t anything new

Re: “‘VIP culture’ raised in officer’s chute death” (TNT, 4-13).

As tragic as the death of Col. Darron Wright was, this kind of VIP mindset has always been part of military activities and should surprise no one.

When I served at Fort Lewis in the mid-1970s, I was helping to evaluate a Ranger battalion training exercise that included an airborne exercise in California. The commanding general of the 9th Infantry Division at the time was both Airborne and Ranger qualified. He decided to “jump in” with the Rangers in California.

The weather conditions were less than optimal, and ground winds

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JBLM: Pierce County gets left behind again

Re: “500 make case against troop cuts” (TNT, 1-22).

I attended the public forum Wednesday at Clover Park Technical College on the Army proposal to cut back 11,000 civilian and military jobs at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. It struck me that once again Pierce County is being left behind by our state and national representatives.

If Boeing were proposing to cut 11,000 jobs in King and Snohomish counties, I am sure that the state and national political leaders would respond loud and clear in opposition, as well as finding tax incentives for the jobs to stay.

At the forum, we heard

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MILITARY: Our soldiers deserve better process

Re: “Soldier can’t go forward, can’t go back” (TNT, 4-13).

I know all too well the delays that Sgt. Chris Peden is talking about. I am an Army Reserve soldier and have been in the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) process since December 2011. When the Army and Veterans Affairs talk about processing times, they are talking about goal timelines. My case is at 825 days.

Reserve and National Guard soldiers have an even bigger problem than active-duty soldiers. We must prove that our injuries either happened during a period of active service of more than 30 days or

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BRIDGE: Army has experience in fixing fallen bridges

The bridge collapse situation takes me back. During World War II, a U.S. Army Engineer Combat Bridge Company would have quick fixed a fallen bridge within a maximum of 24 hours so tanks could move across.

Given the opportunity, perhaps Joint Base Lewis-McChord would have treated this as a training exercise, flexed their muscle and saved time along with taxpayer monies.


JBLM: Command change ceremony lacked spit and polish

I read about the change of command at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (TNT, 7-4). I was disappointed to see a picture of two lieutenant generals in a vehicle with a headlight out, and they were dressed in the “working uniform,” as were the troops.

I miss seeing generals looking like generals and dressing accordingly. They are not one of the boys. On the back page was a picture of them hugging. How sweet.

On July 6, I attended the change of command at the Coast Guard base in Port Angeles. Everywhere it was spit and polish – the enlisted in

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MILITARY: Training needed to prevent suicide

Re: “JBLM committee working to prevent soldier suicides” (TNT, 6-22).

I retired from the Navy as the command chaplain at Submarine Group 9/NSSC Bangor in 2007. Shortly thereafter I was asked to help train Army personnel at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (then Fort Lewis), as a volunteer, in Applied Suicide Interventionist Skills Training (ASIST) alongside Gary Ouellette. I did this for about two years.

My observations were that while ASIST is a highly effective program, the best in the world, Army units would pull soldiers from the training for multitudes of reasons. Gary and I, along with a temporary assistant,

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JBLM: 9th Infantry would be a better fit

It was great news to read (TNT, 4-27) that a division headquarters will once again be assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Veterans of the 7th Infantry Division should be pleased.

However, I think a better fit for JBLM would have been the 9th Infantry Division. The 9th ID shares 20 years of history with Fort Lewis and was the senior unit on post prior to the reactivation of I Corps.

Further, in the 1980s, the division – serving as the Army’s High Technology Test Bed and evolving into the Army’s only motorized infantry division – laid the foundation for the

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