Three PrinciplesThe writer chairs the Republican Party in...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 30, 1991

Three Principles

The writer chairs the Republican Party in Baltimore City.

Schaefer Honor

Editor: Marylanders should feel honored that Gov. William Donald Schaefer was the only governor in the nation to be selected for the freedom trip to Kuwait.

I hope that he is successful in his endeavors to bring business opportunities for the state and the potential jobs which would result.

Margaret A. Gaff.

Baltimore.

Hopkins Hailed for Divesting

Editor: I am writing to applaud the Johns Hopkins University for its decision to divest itself from tobacco-related stocks. The financial pressure to hold these stocks (Phillip Morris averaged a percent return over the past 10 years) must be tremendous.

I am proud of Hopkins and proud that the university is a member of our community.

Maryland leads the nation in cancer-related deaths.

We need institutions such as Hopkins that can devote more of their resources, or potential resources, toward the prevention of illness and disease.

Deirdre M. Smith.

Brooklandville.

Who's the Best in Uniform?

Editors: References in your pages to the Marine Corps as an "elite" force imply that the Army is second-rate. I resent this bitterly.

Our most elite troops -- Special Forces, Rangers, paratroopers and such -- all belong to the Army. For obscure reasons, Marine Corps infantrymen are not even awarded the Combat Infantry Badge.

Although existence of the Corps as a second Army is allegedly justified by expertise in amphibious warfare, during World War II the Army conducted the greatest amphibious operations in history -- almost always without the participation of a single amphibious marine. (Note the lower case.)

Marines claim that their capital letter logically distinguishes them from sailors fighting as naval infantry, whose exploits in fact have often been credited to the Corps, but the truth is that editors are too stupid to distinguish between "Marines" as short for the Marine Corps and "marines" as soldiers in that Corps.

Until World War II the Marine Corps had as such no fighting history comparable to that of the Army. At the Halls of Montezuma the attached marines mostly refused to fight, and at the Shores of Tripoli they were almost all Arabs.

The marines of John Paul Jones were mostly soldiers borrowed from the French Army. At First Bull Run, the attached marines were the very first to panic and flee. The Corps never experienced Army-style heavy combat until a brigade was integrated into an Army division in World War I.

What accounts for the Marine Corps mystique? Well, it had a sergeant, John Phillip Sousa, who turned out a genius.

And then there is the dress uniform, which people imagine to be routinely issued, because of a one-size-fits-all outfit (split up the back, with adjustable straps) in boot-camp photography shops.

The Army has always had an official blue dress uniform, but Army soldiers rarely bought one. Until just before World War II, it was almost identical to the Marine Corps dress uniform, whereas the style was changed to the modern lapel collar and white shirt. Although seen often enough on TV and in pictures, it seems not to be recognized by the public.

Army unit commanders could have required the men to buy blue dress uniforms out of their clothing allowances, but most preferred the garrison uniform. In my youth, we had riding boots and spurs, shiny buttons and cloth of fine quality, looking much dressier than the Marine Corps green uniform with black buttons.

Since the public imagines that all Marine Corps soldiers are issued costly dress uniforms at taxpayers' expense, as of course the Navy propagandists intend, the implication is that the government values the Navy troops more.

If I were boss, the Army would go back to the old high-collar blue dress uniform of my youth, and would require peacetime troops to buy and wear it. Otherwise, I would at least see to it that everyone had his picture taken in one, Marine Corps propaganda style.

Willis Case Rowe.

Catonsville.

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