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Editor:

Lt Col. USAF (Ret) Glen Shepard.

Thank you for your input.

I do not know the author of this editorial published in the Air Force Association Magazine.I can only assume he states his opinion as he sees it.You assume, wrongly, that I am a supporter of the action on our Capital January 6.I do not know how you can make that assumption.Nowhere in the piece did I mention the incident.I do stand by my statement that we witnessed a disgraceful RETREAT from Kabal, particularly when we had a more secure place at Bagram airfield.It is my opinion that the 2,500 man/woman detachment should have stayed as our intelligence eye.It is a fact that no American Serviceman was KIA in 18 months period before May of 2021. I cannot think of any possible excuse for leaving $85 billion of various military equipment behind.The pictures I saw indicated to me that the small arms were in working order, now in the hands of the Taliban to either arm them or sell the equipment on the black market.You assume wrongly that I do not take the oath as a new 2ndlieutenant seriously.It is my belief that there is not statute of limitations on that oath.As I have celebrated my 80thyear on this planet I have only love, affection and loyalty to our founding documents and our Nation.I take it personally that you insult me in that way.By the way I served during our tragic war in Vietnam I lost friends and acquaintances in that conflict.There is an air tanker crew that died in our crew's place, and I still see their faces, although faded to this day in the dark hours of my sleep.

Regards,

John Stiegelmeyer

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Darrin Lindsey December 7, 2021, 1:56 pm Stiegelmeyer, it's refreshing that you don't support the attempted insurrection on January 6. But, will you support our legal system, when the people that organized and funded that attempt, are brought to justice? Law and Order, along with our democracy in whole, are the ultimate victims of what took place on that day. Our democracy is only being attacked by "one side of the aisle". The other side is doing many things to try to save it. As it keeps becoming more clear, that the Moderates on the left of center, and the TRUE Conservatives on the right of center, are fighting the, much further right, followers of the most recent past president. Democracy requires a lot of hard work, to keep it moving. It cannot survive on auto pilot. Democracy, by definition, requires both, a Liberal Party and a Conservative Party, doing that hard work, for the citizens that employ them. I am not oblivious to the self proclaimed " Progressives that partially populate the Liberal sect of Congress. I'm also not oblivious to the, sometimes, misunderstanding of the purpose of those "Progressives", by those 'much further right' persons. Those that use the terms "Socialists" and "Communists" without understanding the characteristics that those two terms require. There ARE definitions for the term "Social", that don't come anywhere close to the requirements of "Socialism", as it refers to a type of government. A government is meant to protect and otherwise, take care of, it's citizens. Our Democratic Republic is built on the notion of self rule. There can be a compromise between Conservatives and Liberals, on how that self rule works between the many economic classes within that "self". Without taking a lot of time to think about many different scenarios, I'll end with this example. An ideology that panders to the wants and needs of the ultra-wealthy, while not wanting to make any effort to support the "Self's" (I know) at the other end of the economic spectrum. That's doesn't show any effort for compromise or fairness. There can be compromise and fairness in this example, with adequate requirements from both ends of the economic spectrum. Good Day!
Betty Thorsvig December 7, 2021, 4:11 pm Dear John Stiegelmeyer, I thoroughly enjoy what you have to say every time you put your thoughts on paper. The other day I was thinking, I wish you would write a column in this online newspaper; on a daily basis. Thank you for your service.
Glen Shepherd December 7, 2021, 4:39 pm Sir, I apologize for hurting your feelings and deeply respect your years of service. I know you served during the war in Southeast Asia you make it a preamble to all your opinion pieces. However, I have to stand by my assessment of that particular piece. You took an avowedly non-partisan organization’s editorial, associated the facts it pointed out with misinformation and partisan rants and used them to blame the current administration and our military leaders for not preventing the inevitable. I’m curious where your concern was when we were handing over the keys to MRAPS and weapons to the Afghans while the previous administration was planning the de facto surrender to the Taliban (without any input from the Afghan government)? While also ignoring and undermining the intelligence community when it made assessments counter to what the former POTUS wanted to hear? We’ve always written off immense investment in infrastructure and weapons at the end of a conflict. When I was stationed at Vandenberg AFB in California there were portions of the beach that were closed to personnel. Why? Because when it was Camp Cooke, at the conclusion of WWII, we buried tanks, ordinance and other materiel in the sand and scuttled them off the coast. The Space Wing’s EoD personnel still deal with abandoned ordinance on a monthly basis. This time, with any luck, our former weapons will be used by the Taliban to kill ISIS fighters. Keep a force there to be intel sensors? If the Afghans won’t fight for themselves and their families, why should the kid that just graduated from high school who lives down the block from me have to go do it for them? To me, that just shows how the civilian – military divide shapes too many people’s thinking. It’s always easy to gamble with other people’s money. Your oath? Anyone who spews the same partisan nonsense that is also used by those who instigated the big lie and the insurrection against our democracy is walking a thin line reference their oath to defend the constitution. I agree the oath is for life and I believe an honorable officer shuns partisan misinformation especially when its use threatens the very constitution we swore to protect. Stay well and happy holidays.
john Stiegelmeyer December 8, 2021, 6:34 pm Col. Shepard, Thank you for your comments. You have me at a disadvantage. I have no knowledge of the problems you brought up. As I said I do not know the author of that editorial. I did read the letter to editor of the previous edition -- (Air Force Society) Mag. they were not complimentary to either Gen Milly or Sec Def Austin or the "retreat". This was from retired USAF officers as well as senior NCOs. There is no doubt in my mind that this withdrawal was disgraceful in nature and humiliated or disgraced those that fought in these battles and those that lost limbs and mental capacity. I do not trust the current administration - just as I did not trust the Johnson Administration during the disastrous Vietnam conflict. I suggest (if you have not read) Three Star General H. R. McMaster's book "Dereliction of Duty," he lays out the miscalculations and the lies told to our public during this long battle. As you know our forces did not lose a battle, even though outnumbered, but we still lost the war. The Army did not get its "mojo" back until the 100-day War of '91'. May God save us from fools. Regards, John Stiegelmeyer - only a Company grade USAF Captain
John Stiegelmeyer December 8, 2021, 6:41 pm Lindsey, You are not as smart as you think you are. You make suppositions that are not grounded in fact. You are indeed part of the "woke" mob that has as its objective to destroy our Republic and replace it with a Marxist/Socialist lie, that will make all us us subordinate to at dictatorial government, denies property rights and make us all poor. Good Grief. Regards - reluctanly
John Stiegelmeyer December 8, 2021, 7:35 pm Dear Betty Thorsvig, You do me the honor I do not deserve. Thank you for your kind words. I know there are many others who think as you do, but are afraid to vent their views, probably because of the "cancel culture" that has invaded our mist in these past few years. We must have the courage to vent our views against this anti-American culture. best regards, John
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