Letter to the editor

I'm not much on writing responses, but Milt Zall's reply to Firecontrollman 1st Class Bell really got under my skin [Letter to the editor, Sept. 19].

Zall's response, as follows, was offensive: "There's no question that the sacrifices made by military personnel are real. But they're not made for money, so talking about comparable raises really is absurd. As for being 'forced' to leave and move every three years, you're not really being forced to do anything. You chose to stay in the military, but then you gripe about conditions. There's no logic here. You can choose a different field of endeavor if you don't like military life. It's hard for me to understand why you begrudge civil servants an equal cost-of-living allowance."

What is absurd is your ability to attack a situation you obviously know nothing about. Did you serve your country in one of the armed forces? If you did, you would realize the points Bell was trying to make.

Have you ever been awakened at 3 a.m. to report to work, not knowing if you were going to be deployed somewhere in the world, prepared to give your life because the president is sending you there, or if you were just going to a drill to see if you are prepared to go?

I volunteered during the end of the Vietnam conflict and expected to retire from the military. I did and do love my country, but when your pay is so low that you qualify for food stamps, something is wrong. I have worked beside a civilian who didn't know a jet engine compressor from the turbine, yet he was being paid almost twice as much and received overtime pay when he worked more than 40 hours.

Many people must get out of the military to take better-paying jobs, even though they would rather stay in and defend this country. I made the choice to get out, but it was more than just the pay.

Before you blast someone, go walk a mile in his or her shoes first. The "begrudge" is for civil servants who don't know the hardship that servicemen have to endure. I think you owe Bell and other service personnel an apology.

John Vogt

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