- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 28, 2001

I agree with most of Col. John R. Brinkerhoff´s March 26 letter, “Black and blue over black and tan.” However, a portion of it is way off base.

The colonel states, “The good people are staying” in the Army.” That statement infers that if you leave, you are not “good.” He continues by saying, “People who leave the Army for more money or an easier life simply do not live up to the soldierly virtues.” That statement is an insult to the thousands of American citizens who fulfilled their military obligation and left the armed forces upon completion.

Col. Brinkerhoff´s statement smacks of what many junior enlisted personnel and junior officers call a “lifer” someone who has little concern or use for those who do not intend to make the military a career. The term is rarely used in a positive manner.

The military has advertised itself as a “starting point” for young men and women for many years. The armed forces advertise money for college, good technical training and a chance to build leadership skills. All this is meant to help enlisted personnel create futures, either in the military or the civilian world.

As a chief petty officer (CPO) in the Navy, I counseled many a sailor who was “getting out.” Some were leaving the Navy for college, some to start a family and some to provide a better income and standard of living for their families. While they were all different, they had one thing in common. They had served their country, and they were patriots for doing so. I am not only a retired CPO, but also the son of a career Army officer. My son will graduate from the Army Institute of Technology in May. The colonel owes an apology to the patriots of this country who served their country for one or two tours and then went on with their lives.

Chief Petty Officer PAUL V. HURTT


U.S. Navy

Great Mills, Md.

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