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LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Navy commander forgot sworn duty
The viewpoint article published in the Aug. 21 edition of The Record by retired Navy Cmdr. William Simons is a little disturbing.
He stated “that anyone who, through words or actions, endangers my friends or comrades-in-arms is the enemy.”
With due respect, I would like to point out to Simons that the enemy was always defined for him by his superior officers and ultimately the President of the United States and as a United States naval officer, he was never given the authority to choose who his enemy was or is.
His job was to follow orders, ostensibly to safeguard the people of the United States and their freedoms, among which is the freedom to have and express opinions and to take peaceful action to resolve disputes.
In the discussion of the OLF operations, I am sure no one outside of the lunatic fringe on either side wishes harm to members of our armed forces. We know we need to keep our pilots current and in practice. But jet noise is very loud and disturbing especially under the departure path of those Navy jets. So I believe the people who live around OLF are simply asking that the Navy provide such training and practice facilities elsewhere. That is their right and if the Navy does not give them satisfaction, it is also their right to sue.
Commander Simons, you were sworn to protect that right and, I believe, did so for 30 years. Our military is not charged with protecting its own. It is charged with protecting the citizens of the United States and their constitutional freedoms.
Defining people with a different opinion does not warrant them becoming the enemy. I respect his opinion and agree, at least in principle, with his intent. Then, I do not live under the flight path. I disagree adamantly with the threatening tone of his viewpoint. That is not the Navy I know and trust.
GHERRY J. TAYLOR