- The Washington Times - Monday, October 23, 2006

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

Robert D. Ford’s letter in the Oct. 2 Washington Times was excellent. I firmly believe President Bush messed up when he did not ask for volunteers right after September 11. Very likely, the military personnel budget had something to do with that. When I was drafted during Vietnam and then chose to enlist in the Air Force, I was not sure what to expect, but it was the best move I ever made. The confidence and benefits I received were great. After four years, I got out, went back to college and then enlisted in the Air National Guard (six-year break in service). I eventually came onboard full time. … Even with breaks to work in the private sector, I managed to earn an active-duty retirement as a Chief Master Sergeant (E-9). All because I was initially drafted.

Not everyone is going to take a two-year stint and turn it into a military career. But I firmly believe it would provide direction in life, get more males back to college, and provide a more understanding view of the role our military forces play in society. As a nation we have become too adversarial.

Steve S.

Alexandria, Va.

Dear Steve:

I, like you, believe that an equitable draft is now necessary. It would bring citizens from all walks of life together in a shared goal, the defense of our great count, its citizens and allies. An equitable draft and elimination of tenure for our university professors of propaganda would go a long way in creating a more meaningful and open academic dialogue.

Shaft notes

Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao recently invited employers and hiring executives from across the country to participate in the first National Veterans Employment Summit, to be held Nov. 9 in Norfolk.

“Today’s veterans are talented, disciplined, results-oriented and skilled workers ready to reconnect with America’s civilian work force,” Mrs. Chao said. “They were there for us. Now it’s our turn to be there for them. Matching veterans with employers looking for highly skilled and accomplished workers is a win-win for everyone.”

The one-day summit will team senior hiring personnel from businesses across the nation with senior government officials to examine recruitment, retention and leadership strategies for employers to take advantage of veterans’ skills in the work force. The summit will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and attendance is free. Employers and human resource personnel wishing to attend the summit can register at www.hirevetsfirst.gov/summit.

Veterans and transitioning service members are encouraged to register and attend the HireVetsFirst Job Fair, which will be held in conjunction with the summit. The job fair will run from noon to 4 p.m., with registration and pre-fair resume assistance available online at www.hirevetsfirst.gov/jobfair.

About 65 companies are expected to have recruiting booths at the job fair.

Both events will be held in the Scope Arena, 201 E. Brambleton Avenue in Norfolk.

• Also in support of veterans’ employment, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Linda M. Springer and the Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio announced an agreement to open a part-time outreach office designed to provide veterans with information on training and civilian employment opportunities with the federal government. A similar, OPM-staffed outreach office opened at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington last year.

BAMC commander Brig. Gen. James Gilman said the hospital looks forward to partnering with OPM to assist wounded troops and veterans.

“Wounded warriors want to ensure they find meaningful work and are able to support themselves and their families,” Gen. Gilman said. “The federal government is a major employer in many segments of this nation. This office will ease the transition to civilian life for many injured.”

BAMC is the U.S. Army’s only level-one trauma center (the highest certification attainable) and the only burn center for military personnel recovering from combat wounds.

OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership, including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.

• The Sarge salutes McCormick & Schmick’s for its contribution to a veterans celebration.

In a show of thanks to our nation’s veterans, Bill McCormick and Doug Schmick offer to serve those of them who’ve served at McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants. Last year, the company served nearly 15,000 veterans nationwide. This year’s event will take place the Sunday before Veterans Day so that families can participate.

The McCormick & Schmick’s annual veterans program began as a small effort in one restaurant in 1999. Because of its overwhelming popularity and the positive response from veterans, the program has expanded nationwide.

Veterans should show proper identification (VA card, VFW card, veterans ID, discharge papers, etcetera.) Reservations are strongly encouraged.

• Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, P.O. Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330; call 202/257-5446; or e-mail [email protected]


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