Letters to the Editor

Titles not as important as abilities

Re Nancy Player Burton letter, "Earned military title should be used," March 11:

Dear Ms. Burton,

Your husband is retired from the military, and it is no longer mandatory for people to refer to him as "colonel" or "sir." I am retired military and proud of my and every other military member's service to our country. Your letter, however, begs the question: When should we, as retired members, exploit our military service? The following is taken from the Web site eHow: "The Department of Defense (DoD) permits retired officers to use their military titles and status under certain circumstances. Such use is regulated, however, to ensure that the conduct of retired personnel neither discredits the service nor implies that the DoD is endorsing any nonofficial commercial activities."

As for your husband being referred to as sir, every military member is required to address a superior ranking officer as sir. Some earn that respect and others receive it simply as a condition of employment. Most civilians are not as familiar with ranks and titles as those of us who are career military. I would submit your husband is not always addressed as colonel, even though he earned the rank, for the same reason he is not always addressed as commissioner even though, as your letter would suggest, he was. He is no less a commercial airline pilot than a commissioner, a colonel or, for that matter, a mister. All of these things are commendable, and I believe he brings a lot to the table. Not because of his retired rank, but because of his experiences and leadership abilities.

He has every reason to be proud of his accomplishments and would be remiss if he did not explain how they all add to his qualifications. At the end of the day his qualifications are far more important to his obtaining the title of senator than how he is referred to in some news articles.

The writer lives in Longs.