My turn: Recruiters, veterans deserve respect

Posted: Friday, November 16, 2007

I was at the Oct. 17 Juneau School Board meeting at Juneau-Douglas High School. I was appalled when School Board member Margo Waring stated that being in the military is controversial. She did not say that the military's role in Iraq is controversial.

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The board stated that "recruiters are allowed on the high school campus only three times a year because they do not serve the district's education mission." Yes, we are involved in conflict, and the youth that are interested in the further education and financing that can be earned in the military deserve respect and honest answers. I believe they are getting it from these recruiters.

The Veterans for Peace group is strictly a protest group. They don't even have to have been in the military although they would like you to believe they are all veterans. The Veterans for Peace group offers no direction to students, or anything positive other than its negative and false information.

Barbara Belknap's letter of Oct. 28 stating that three women died of dehydration in camp one night because they were afraid of being raped is idiotic. Women are in a combat role because they wanted it that way. Men did not encourage this role but believe me, if there is a problem involving a woman's safety, it will be addressed immediately.

One teacher posted a letter of support of the recruiters. He is a Marine vet who understands that the reason we don't speak Japanese or German in the United States is because of the veterans, and he knows the meaning of the words Semper Fi. A student should not have to run a gauntlet of harassment to get information about the military. Isn't our local Coast Guard military? You can bet your boots that it won't be controversial when they are needed on a rescue mission, will it? All branches of the service do humanitarian work as well as the commonly thought of soldier role. Nobody has ever promised that being on the service is a picnic; it is demanding, but the benefits are for a lifetime.

Our schools here in Juneau do not teach a work ethic, you will learn one in the military. You will be on time. You will be expected to be responsible for yourself as well as the well being of your fellow servicemen. You will learn the true meaning of the word team. You will be neat. The military needs mature, highly educated and trained individuals. You will succeed in your studies if you want to continue in your field of choice. Mommy and Daddy will not be there to make sure you have lunch money --- you will become a responsible adult. Yes, the days of childhood will be over, but there is fun with the serious. Like Tim Armstrong and a huge percentage of Juneau's and Alaska's population, I am a proud Vietnam vet.

I know the meaning of service and freedom. Freedom is not free. All veterans gave the nation a blank check to be cashed when it needed our service that could include the loss of our lives for our country. I have had the pleasure of visiting towns and schools where the veteran is important, and welcome. It is with regret that I see our School Board on the opposite end of the spectrum when it continues to allow a political protest group access to our youth with lies as its only presentation.

• Michael Dobson is a member of the Seawolf Association; member of the "Enlisted Naval Aircrew Roll of Honor;" and road captain for the newly established Juneau Patriot Guard, whose mission is respect for veterans and today's military personnel. He is a retired Juneau International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 1547 electrician.

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