Bosnia rescue shows the value of trainingThe Marines who...

the Forum

June 14, 1995

Bosnia rescue shows the value of training

The Marines who successfully rescued an American pilot shot down over Bosnia turned a potential disaster into a victory. It was a proud day for America and for all who served in the armed forces.

To see these young people toeing the line and obeying orders was refreshing. None said "This isn't right for me," or "I need to get my head in shape for this."

As members of the all-volunteer armed forces, they saw their duty and did it, no matter the risk.

I remember during the days of the draft, when the "Daddy-O" types went off to basic training with their leather jackets and long hair and returned months later to family and friends who sometimes failed to recognize them at the airport. The transformation was something to see.

Would that some of the young men today who pass their time standing on street corners could see the value of military training.

The service gives a lifelong gift by training one to cope with any situation. Last week the Marines proved that training put into practice actually works.

C. L. Norris

Baltimore

O'Grady's rescue

As a founding alumnus of the 14th Air Commando Wing in Vietnam, I am appalled that President Clinton, our commander-in-chief, would try to make political hay over the rescue of Air Force Capt. Scott O'Grady, the rescued pilot of the F-16 that was shot down over Bosnia.

Our multi-tasked organization included the 605th Air Commando Squadron, whose mission was to cover the "Jolly Green Giants" -- the Air Force RH-3 helicopters that went into Laos and North Vietnam to rescue downed Air Force and Navy pilots.

Many times we succeeded; at other times, we failed. But we lost a lot of very brave pilots whose sacrifices have never been honored.

I rejoice perhaps more than most Americans seeing Captain O'Grady safely back in American hands and applaud the Marine air crews that got him out.

Having been there, I admire his ability to use his survival and evasion training. Perhaps Captain O'Grady is a hero; I don't know.

But it makes me ashamed of the country for which I fought in three wars to see a president -- who refused to serve -- taking political advantage of Captain O'Grady's rescue to enhance his popularity rating. What has our country come to?

Chuck Frainie

Woodlawn

Senior influence

I see growing senior citizen influence reflected in the Baltimore County Council's decision to cut $4.4 million from the school budget in a county with an increasing student population.

It takes me back to New Jersey. In New Jersey's "senior belt" the senior influence is evidenced by continued defeats of school funding referendums, regardless of needs.

I fear Baltimore County is moving in the same direction. Has our aging population not yet seen their grandchildren's potential, which to be realized requires a quality education?

Have they forgotten what it means to have a teacher with time to meet their individual needs in a well maintained and well-supplied classroom?

Ann McNell

Phoenix

Did they march?

Did any of the dittoheads and bubbas who scream about Second Amendment rights ever march for or even care about civil rights? Most likely not.

Gerald Ben Shargel

Reisterstown

College costs

Recently, I was handed a cartoon which appeared on the editorial page Sunday, June 4. It depicts a graduate receiving her diploma and a congratulatory handshake from the dean.

Then she is handed what appears to be a balloon but is actually a thundercloud labeled "School Loan Debt" with a string attached to it. The poor student leaves cowering under the black cloud, which will most likely follow her throughout her early adult years.

In today's world, the undergraduate education is just a stepping stone. The graduate aims to embark upon yet another level of education, whether it be graduate school, medical school, law school, etc.

The problem comes when one realizes that all of these fine schools cost money, and a rather large sum of money at that.

Attendance at any of the Ivy League schools for four years, without financial assistance, is around $100,000, quite a sum for someone who has not yet found a job.

It is here that colleges offer students a way out of this dilemma, for a time. This device is called a school loan, and the colleges, in turn, are to prepare the student to enter the job market.

It seems that today's college graduate gets a job only to remit a large percentage of his earnings to a foundation he left 20 years ago.

Personally, I would rather graduate with money in my pocket than owing my school a sum of money estimated in the thousands. Four years pass by quickly, and college should be a pleasant memory, not a financial nightmare.

Many students are beginning to give state schools a second look. Granted, they lack the prestige of the Ivy League schools, yet, with the addition of honors programs, they offer the student a good education for one-fourth the cost.

When it is all said and done, all employers care about is what degree one has acquired and, most importantly, what skills one has to offer.

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