Not All Are Helped in the Transition From Military to Civilian Life

I read the article "Armed Forces Going Extra Miles to Ease Exit From Services," Feb. 26, with great interest. On Feb. 24, I and several other officers were directed to retire before Sept. 1. While most of us are scared and hurt we are the lucky ones because we at least get to retire and draw a pension.

There are many more service people overseas being encouraged to volunteer to separate rather than face involuntary separation, but the worldwide support system does not reach Naples and many other places. There is no computer network for job referrals or resume distribution here. In fact, people have been waiting a month to learn if there is a terminal in Italy. What looks good to the people in both San Antonio and Arlington, Texas doesn't exist here.

These young men and women will have to seek work by mail, which averages about two weeks for an exchange of letters, or wait until they get back to the US. There is no provision to return them to the States until just before they separate. So while the people at home can use leave and off-duty time to start the job search, the troops over hear are out of luck.

You do your readers and these service members a disservice by making it sound as if everyone is getting lots of help. It is going to be difficult for all of us who are being forced out and for those at smaller overseas locations, it will be even tougher. The reward for winning the cold war will be a career cut short. So far, the steps taken to help are nowhere near enough to help ease the transition.

I believe it is too late to help the people forced out this year. But your readers could help the thousands that will follow by telling their elected representatives to make the Department of Defense set up a system that helps everyone, not just those stationed at large stateside bases.

How this draw down is handled will determine the caliber of the people who will be willing to make the sacrifices America will demand of its armed forces, no matter what their ultimate size. It must be done right. Lt. Col. John M. Callen, Naples, Italy Gender bias affects men too

Regarding the editorial "Gender Bias in US Education," Feb 19: Throughout my school career, I was bombarded with propaganda on women's issues, with no mention whatsoever of men's issues. Finally, during my last year in college I took an exceptional class which focused on men's issues. If it weren't for that class, I might have graduated without ever realizing that men also suffer from gender bias in society.

Colleges and universities all across the country boast of women's studies courses galore (some of them required), while men's studies are almost unheard of. There are associations and governmental agencies which are studying women's issues, but almost none which are studying men's issues.

What education reform needs is not "systematic attention to the needs of girls," but equal attention to the needs of boys and girls. Rich Angell, Yonago-shi, Japan

I was pleased to read the editorial on gender bias, but, I was disappointed with its content. I think this topic, as well as others on gender discrimination, warrants more in-depth analysis. This topic deserves a spread covering several pages rather than a small editorial. Sandra Watson, Belwood, Ontario

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