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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!

Who Am I? Where Am I? What Am I Doing Here?

During my past seven years of high school and college, I often wondered why so many returning servicemen wouldn't express their sentiments concerning their tenure in Amerika's great military establishment. Usually they would joke shout the occasional good times on leaves.

Although only in this bureaucratic mess for only five months now, I think the reason for this lies with the lack of pride that is developed by the near-constant mental and psychological harassment.

In the last issue of the “intelligent” CHANUTE WINGS, the following paragraph appeared in the editorial:
“Our nation was founded on the principle that the individual has infinite dignity and worth. The Department of Defense, which exists to keep the nation secure and at peace, must always be guided by this principle. In all that we do, we must show respect for the serviceman and civilian employee as a person, recognizing his individual needs, aspirations, and capabilities.”

I personally think that the Dept. of Defense in this statement could be compared to the police force in “Fahrenheit 451” or “1984” which eliminated any obstacle that created waves or caused people to thin for themselves. This hypothesis is advanced by examples that we are kept on a constant schedule from 4:15 AM to 5:00 PM and 7:30- 9:00 with classes, meals, end details. Ignorant orders are handed down through the ranks to keep us Busy when nothing else can be thought of, such as: GI partys on Thursday nights (before the weekend begins) and on some Saturdays. This interrupts our study time and whatever plans have already been made.

As for the sentence “that the individual has infinite dignity and worth” and that this is recognized, how can this be supported where we are told to get a cardboard box and pick up tree leaves all day (sweet memories of lackland basic). Does this build pride? Or how about having everyone march back from school together? If this is such a great idea why haven't the free-thinking civilians at thousands of colleges enacted this rule?

Infinite dignity. I don't think that most of those in the ruling circles have any idea what it is. Take fifty recruits, strip ‘em, cloth them in green and white, cut their hair and march ‘em. Mattel toys would go crazy over this invention of the robot replicas. Send them off to teach school but keep them in line, allow no dissent, either vocal of physical, such as sideburns which might allow them to mix with civilians without being detected, thus enabling them to be exposed to free civilian ideas. Keep the mind busy with clean pressed uniforms, shined shoes and haircuts and you don't have much time to write articles to the “Bummer.” Deprive a man of his privacy and he is deprived of one of his most precious possessions (short of freedom of dissent). So we are herded together into dorms with open bays in basic brainwashing (also called training) and here at Chanute, are given no place to store privated property that is immune to search.

Sing while you march, and change step occasionally to get the squadron in front confused. Two more ways to keep the mind in the military rut shielded from other thoughts. Get the floors in each dorm to compete against each other, dorms against dorms, and bases against bases, and the ignorant NCO's and leaders don't stop to think that some other method might produce better results.

Usually the first question asked by readers is “why don't these radicals propose a solution if they're so disgusted?”

The purpose of this article is not to be degrading or anti-military establishment but rather to present some disgraceful facts and be constructive.

To create a better understanding of the airmen's plight, I don't see why those members of our ruling sector could not informally mix with the troupe during their off time such as Friday evenings. Informally mixing in civilian clothes in a relaxing atmosphere. Approach the men with an open and questioning and, General Knapp and your brothers. You may laugh but the present channels of communication are stifled in the bureaucratic bog.

This may be redundant to add, but even in Nixon `a presidential campaign, a strong theme was “bring us together” peacefully.


A Four Year Bummer, vol. 2, no. 2


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