Letters

Article excerpt

A Word of Caution

* On reading "The Army Game Project" in the June issue, I could not help but recall the visit of a U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) traveling exhibit, housed in a white semi-trailer, to the University of Delaware ROTC Detachment around the fall of 1970. The vehicle, staffed by a sergeant doubling as driver and system operator, came at the invitation of the professor of Military Science (PMS) in support of the Advanced Course curriculum.

The AMC road show contained several displays that drew from the ROTC building's electrical system. It offered observers wandering through the trailer multiple interactive opportunities, with varied outcomes, in a series of scenarios operated by means of push buttons. The exhibit's emphasis was on the development of materiel requirements focused, naturally at that time, on counter-insurgency operations in Southeast Asia.

Overnight, the vehicle next to the ROTC building became the focus of anti-war protesters on campus. (The NCO reported similar traveling exhibits had been the target of snipers while passing through parts of Appalachia.) The PMS cut short the scheduled three-day stay. Plugs were pulled and the sergeant drove off-- less than 24 hours after arriving.

In this September 11 era of changing perspectives and attitudes, perhaps the new Army computer game will fare better in getting the word out to Gen Y about the high-tech Army of today than did AMC exhibits to Baby Boomers a generation ago. But a word of caution is needed: sugar-coating combat outcomes under the guise of "embed[ding] social responsibility ... by enforcing the laws of land warfare and socially appropriate behaviors" is misleading and intellectually dishonest. Prior to September 11, few, if any of us thought "out of the box" about fuel-filled airliners as guided flying bombs. Rather, it is incumbent on the Army never to forget: the mission is to kill and destroy the enemy, and to defend against an enemy committed to killing and destroying his enemy.

LT. COL. CHARLES W. RAYMOND III, USA Ret.

Albany, MY

Revisiting the Fitness Program

* In response to Maj. Roger T. Aeschliman's "Sounding Off" article, "A Modest Proposal for Reform in Army Fitness Programs," in the June issue I would like to add some information that complicates matters for every leader in the military.

Soldiers who are overweight and cannot perform the APFT to standards are flagged or suspended from favorable actions. One of these actions is military occupational skills (MOS) training/schools.

I have always had a problem understanding this. The MOS is the reason we have soldiers working for us to accomplish our missions.

I think Maj. Aeschliman's article gives some support to why we should take a look at keeping suspension of favorable actions focused on noncommissioned officer education system courses (NCOES) or officer education system (OES) courses, not on basic MOS courses.

CSM RAYMOND A. PEREZ, ARNG Saint Petersburg, Fla.

* Maj. Aeschliman's salient article should be a useful reminder to Army policy makers that, as in civilian life, one size fits all soldiers rarely suit the enormous variety of job skill requirements necessary to fulfill demands. As Maj. Aeschliman points out, technology and common sense can be used to customize Army military occupational specialty (MOS) physical and intellectual requirements.

My former Army MOS, radio repair, may have required more brains than brawn, but certainly my stamina and ability to focus on work was directly related to my fitness level. Working seven-day 90-plus hour weeks in Vietnam certainly separated the fit from the fat.

My experience in Vietnam would be confirmed later during my engineering career.

The facts are that fit people are generally more alert, aware and productive employees.

I would like to think Maj. Aeschliman's characterizations were intended as tongue-in-cheek metaphors for a breadth of very fixable societal problems. …