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Re: Word from Iraq

Well, I think things must have changed a bit in the military since
WWII and my childhood as an army brat.

During WWII, field soldiers were lucky to get K-rations (pretty gross
stuff).  I think they might have had coffee sometimes, but no
guarantee and as far as toiletries in the field, showers or even beds
don't think they were offered to the front line who were lucky to get
a tent or a foxhole.

I spent my first 18+ years using military medical facilities. 
Thought they rather stank in spades.  You could sit in the waiting
room in high fever for hours, medical personnel were brusque and of
extremely varying quality; you had absolutely no options but took
what you were given or nothing at all.  Had my wisdom teeth out at
Fort Hood, TX as a young adult...not an experience I'd ever recommend
to anybody unless they like 6 hour sessions with only Novocain and
dental technicians who obviously were in learning mode.

My parents used the hospital at the post where they retired until it
was closed (the base) a few years ago but when they really needed
care, they went to the private sector.  My father is a retired
regular army Col., so rank didn't really do much for them.  Since the
base closed, all the retired personnel in the area (a great number)
are on their own.  Of course, one of the major reasons they all
retired there was because of having a base close by.  Tough beans as
far as the government is concerned.

I am sure that care varies with location, like anything else, and it
also varies with whether you're army, navy, air force or what.  We
always figured the navy went top cabin and the army on it's belly:-) 
Now, my personal contact with the military ended 40 years ago, so I
am sure things have changed - at least I sure hope so.  But, I
seriously doubt that they have managed to eliminate the tendency for
Catch 22 situations.

I also think that people either forget or don't realize that when you
sign on with the military you agree to do it their way, which is
quite different in very many respects from civilian life.  

Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
Editor:  Gardening in Shade
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> From: Melody <mhobertm@excite.com>
> One of our kids' teachers is there in Iraq as well... the last
letter he
> sent to all the kids/teachers at school indicated that living
> are not what the media makes them out to be, as well, Kitty. And to
> boot, no coffee that their families don't provide for them...seems
> George W. objects to paying the shipping charges on coffee ($1/lb.)
> it costs to ship it to our troops in the Gulf region, so they
> have to do without or get their own. I can't imagine waking up in
> hell of a war zone everyday without caffeine! Guess our country
> doing such a great job of providing the GI's with basic toiletries
> deodorant and stuff either...Mr. Scott (the teacher) inspired the
> at school to start a collection of coffee and toiletries to ship
> there and they have so far done a wonderful job! Our church is
> suit by donating the proceeds from this month's soup supper to
> such supplies and shipping them over, too.

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