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I am dismayed by the headline to the story that ran yesterday about the murder of a Coast Guard officer on St. Paul Island. The term "Coastie" is a derogatory and casual term used in casual conversation. I would liken this to calling a murdered Marine as a "dead jarhead" or a murdered soldier as a "dead dogface." The attitude portrayed with that headline tells me that whoever wrote it has no respect for the Coast Guardsmen and others that defend our country and protect our lives. I feel that your paper, and any others that chose to run that headline, owe the U.S. Coast Guard a huge apology.
(Mr. Gebert's letter was one of several letters and calls received today expressing concern about the headline. In response, the Empire contacted the Public Affairs office of the Juneau station. A Coast Guard spokesman explained that "coastie" is a term of common, informal usage among Coast Guardsmen and also is used in the Coast Guard's safety graphics. The Empire apologizes to all who were offended. No disrespect was intended. We appreciate your comments. - Editor)