Vital CampaignYour Dec. 23 report on Baltimore business...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 06, 1993

Vital Campaign

Your Dec. 23 report on Baltimore business clubs was written in a gloom and doom tone that distorts the facts behind our current membership campaign.

Membership campaigns at clubs today are a fact of life. At the Engineering Society, it is an on-going activity.

An important aspect of our campaign is that many people are unaware that you do not have to be an engineer to be a member. We have three membership classifications: business, professional and engineer. This was not mentioned in the report.

Over the past five years, contrary to your report, the average age of our members has declined. We are attracting younger members.

We have been a social and business forum for 87 years. To continue to serve our membership, we must remain vital and current. Membership campaigns help us to achieve this goal.

It's important for us to set the record straight.

Donald J. Blum

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Engineering Society oBaltimore.

Flying in Somalia

I wish to take exception to Richard Sia's article of Dec. 15 concerning the Luftwaffe's role in Somalia. Forty-two of my fellow Guardsmen and I completed a 90-day tour flying relief missions from Mombasa, Kenya, to airfields in Somalia.

Unlike our German friends and their steaks and beer, we had MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat) on the days we flew in-country.

The majority of German missions were flown to Bardera, a relatively short distance from Mombasa. We, in turn, flew to Baidoa, Oddur, Belet Huen, Gailalassi and many other points in the interior of Somalia.

Just like the Germans, all of our missions were flown by unarmed crew members. Three U.S. Air Force C-130's were hit by small arms fire while flying relief missions. I don't recall hearing of any Luftwaffe planes that were hit.

Mr. Sia refers to the German Air Force's flying ability. The U.S. Air Force is also capable of low altitude delivery. It was decided not to use this method for safety reasons, one of which is that many Somalian dirt runways intersect trails used by the local people and their caravans. What is the sense of having food if you are crushed underneath it?

As to their acrobatic antics, I was awakened more than once by the sound and sight of one of their planes passing my second-story room at eye level. Any U.S. personnel that pulled this stunt would have been sent home -- no questions asked.

The article would also lead one to believe that the Luftwaffe was really roughing it out there in tents. The truth is they spent their nights in air-conditioned quarters, just like we did.

As to the lack of cooperation with the press, I can only assume that things changed after the Marine landing at Mogadishu. Our crews took everything from print media to local U.S. television crews into Somalia. My own crew had the distinction of taking Ed Bradley of "60 Minutes" into Baidoa.

While we do not wish to belittle the Luftwaffe's efforts in Somalia (their work is just as vital as ours was), I have read articles both here and in Kenya that faulted our work. Rest assured that we were doing our best to deliver as much food as safely as possible and none of us would hesitate to return if asked.

avid T. Murphy

Timonium

The writer is a flight engineer in the 135th Airlift Group, MarylanAir National Guard.

Maryland's Deer Population

The editorial, "Disappointing Deer Season" Dec. 18, was full of illogical conclusions based on incomplete information.

Many hunters and deer check-in station personnel feel that the state's population estimate of 200,000 deer is inflated. If it were true, one should assume ever-increasing deer harvests.

Those of us who believe the herd is relatively stable except in some metropolitan and suburban areas base this on the number harvested each of the last three years.

While there are many pockets of high deer populations in the metropolitan areas and suburbs, there are also places throughout the state where deer populations are stable or decreasing.

It is reprehensible for you to editorialize that the deer season was disappointing while at the same time quoting the Department of Natural Resources wildlife division forest wildlife supervisor as saying the season "went real well." Are you now the expert, and he just the outside commentator?

It was also contradictory for you to correctly state that the deer-kill in Carroll County increased 300 over the previous record and then say that the relatively low kill statewide indicates that expanded, unrestricted hunting is not achieving the game management goals set by the DNR.

Further, it was inaccurate that there was "no stretch of bad weather" during the two-week firearms season. It rained heavily two of the last three days and the last day was so windy that deer remained bedded, which severely limited hunters' opportunities for success.

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