- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 31, 2001

Chief Petty Officer Paul V. Hurtts response to my original letter on black berets is right ("Military 'lifers arent the only good soldiers," Letters, March 28). As he recommended, I apologize to the patriots who serve the country for one or two tours and then go on with their lives as civilians. My statement that the good people are the ones who stay in the service was not meant to denigrate those who serve for short periods. Rather, I intended to offset the inferences of the media and some defense intellectuals that those who stay in are incompetents who could not make it outside the military.

If we are to have effective military services, many people have to stay in for a full career. I was and am a "lifer," and I am proud of that. I note that Chief Petty Officer Hurtt is also a lifer, as signified by the hard-won award of "retired" after his name. He also sounds like a good leader who took care of his sailors.

One other thing: I erred in the number of the Ranger regiment. It is the 75th Ranger Regiment, not the 77th. Mea culpa.


Col. JOHN R. BRINKERHOFF

U.S. Army (retired)

Burke


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