I’d like to commend Christopher Check on his great piece “Not Ready, Aim, Misfire” (August). It was superb and right on the mark.

I subscribe to the Marine Corps Times, which is mainly aimed at active-duty Marines. Mostly, the Times is concerned with this benefit and that benefit, and just how to get them all. I won’t resubscribe; it depresses me.

My remembrance of the “old” Corps is one of fondness because of the lack of “benefits.” I cannot remember even one “benefit.” I think the primary reason we joined up in those days (World War II) was because of patriotism. We sure were not in it because of whatever “benefits” we could receive.

Mr. Check’s report that the Navy thinks it can make its 22,000 vacancies more attractive by installing shipboard TV sets and e-mail facilities says a lot about today’s potential “fighting men.” I can remember when the ladies first “came aboard.” The only order of the days was: “No fraternizing on base.” If any of those women Marines ever got pregnant or complained of “sexual harassment.” I sure don’t remember it.

The revelation that today’s Corps spends more money on child-development centers and family housing than it does on ammunition is no surprise to me: It’s all in the Marine Corps Times. The last line of the Kipling poem that Mr. Check quoted hit it right on the button: “If you want to win your battles take an’ work your blooming’ guns.” It’s hard to imagine today’s GIs “workin’ their bloomin’ guns.”

        —Ralph Willis
Hemet, CA

Regarding Christopher Check’s article on the lack of recruits in the U.S. military: Ayn Rand may have said some things that Chronicles readers would find hard to swallow, but I remember one observation she made to the effect that freedom would never lack for people to fight for it. Maybe this is the core of the U.S. military’s problem.

        —Wilma J. Moore
Santa Rosa, CA