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Vietnam War Foes and Quayle's Serving in the National Guard

September 03, 1988

My, my, how convenient.

Times editorial writer Frank del Olmo "did everything legal," but never served a day for his country during the Vietnam conflict (Op-Ed Page, Aug. 22). However, he's quick to criticize Dan Quayle who also "did everything legal" and served six years in uniform!

It amazes me that people like Del Olmo can even suggest that they represent the views of the Vietnam-era generation. I proudly served four years on active duty as an Air Force officer (1968-72) and I am offended by the suggestion that Quayle's military service was somehow unpatriotic (with or without help in getting into the National Guard).

Del Olmo, like many of his media brethren who also never served, misses the point entirely--we did not perceive Vietnam as a war which threatened our beloved country and demanded our immediate conscription, but rather a senseless political conflict which threatened to snuff out any hope for a future for countless young Americans like ourselves.

As a result, we could never quarrel in good conscience about those who served in the National Guard, had student deferments or even minor health problems which exempted them from the draft. At worst, those were accepted among us as honorable alternatives, during a frightening and confusing time in our young lives.

By suggesting otherwise, Del Olmo and the Democrats may discover that it is they who are offending the Vietnam-era veterans, and not Quayle's service record.

While we may not have the power of the press to perpetuate our viewpoint, we'll have our chance to respond in November.


Del Mar

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