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Letters to the editor: Tape test is not the measure of the man

May. 2, 2013 - 12:41PM   |  
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What a waste of a good officer to retire Col. Timothy Bush, 319th Air Base Wing commander at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. [“Colonel fails physical training, loses command,” April 1] on an arbitrary waist measurement that has nothing to do with performance or health and everything to do with fighter pilot “image.”

We aren’t all 5-foot-11 and 155 pounds, and we don’t need to be to serve admirably.

Brig. Gen. Terrence P. Woods (ret.)

Phoenix, Ariz.


I am appalled by the way Air Force Times treated the proposed Cost of Living Act change [“Attack on pay and retirement,” April 22].

While it is true that someone may “lose” $171,000 in future benefits (if they live 40 years in retirement), in the real world a 0.3 percent change in my retirement would amount to $6 a month. Plus, I’ll “lose” another $6 in Social Security.

Would I contribute $12 a month so my grandchildren won’t be paying bills my generation built up? You bet.

I was retired by the time the current wars were being fought, so I — like most everyone else in the country outside the active military and families — didn’t sacrifice squat to support two foreign wars. So I consider my $12 as payments that should have been made some years ago.

It seems everyone is this country considers themselves to be “special.” I don’t think anybody is, and if we all pay a little compared to our income or assets, then we can all get out from under the deficit pretty easily. But if we reject any change to the status quo as an apocalypse, we actually will get one someday.

The attitude displayed in your article is not the way this country was founded, is not the way it ought to be governed, and it isn’t why I put my 20 in.

Lt. Col. Miles T. Barnett Jr. (ret.)

St. Louis


I can understand a lean, mean, fighting machine. However, I believe the job should be the criteria for physical fitness [“Tape test under review,” March 11].

For example, a sedentary position of headquarters commandos, scope dopes [radar], communications, etc., may need the measure of the tape. Working on the flight line as mechanics, ordnance loaders, etc., is a demanding job that can burn a good number of calories.

I have been told, the higher in rank (enlisted), the less work is done. During my time, technical sergeants and master sergeants worked along side us lesser ranks, if only to maintain their skill levels rather than spending too much time supervising.

I never had to do physical training the whole time I served. Working as a flight mechanic/crew chief, my days were 10 to 12 hours long, not much time to do anything else when missions had to be flown.

When I enlisted, my waist was 26 inches, when discharged it was 28 inches. I attribute that to maturity. The Air Force needs physically fit airmen, but don’t go to extremes to achieve the goal of superpeople.

Former Airman 1st Class

Edward F. Young

Shelby Township, Mich.


It seems to me that sexual assault doesn’t mean the same thing to Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin as most other people [“Memo gives insight into sex-assault clemency,” April 22].

I wonder if Lt. Col. James Wilkerson were enlisted, would Franklin be willing to do the same, treat sexual assault as if it didn’t happen?

Master Sgt. Dennis J. Burke (ret.)

Prescott, Ariz.


I recently attended a senior master sergeant release party and I was truly amazed at how many chiefs and senior noncomissioned officers had full creases (not just their chevrons) in their airman battle uniform blouses and pants. We all know AFI 36-2903 clearly states “Do not starch or hot press the ABU.”

Is this one of those rules everyone ignores and just refuses to address? Who gets to pick what rules are followed or ignored? I can promise you as a first sergeant, no one in my unit walks around with creases in their ABUs.

Senior Master Sgt. John Dempsey


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