To the Editors of The Crimson:
I wish to add my comments on the ROTC program to those of other interested alumni. Harvard is famous for providing talented people for government service all the way up to President of the United States. The ROTC program is another opportunity to respond to President John F. Kennedy's famous quote, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."
The students involved in the ROTC program are giving of themselves a little more than other students. This is what our country needs--people who think of more than themselves and are willing to perform a service for their country.
About two-thirds of the active duty officers in the Armed Forces are ROTC graduates. Why should Harvard deny this opportunity to undergraduates? Through the financial aid which the ROTC program offers, many students are given the opportunity for a college education. This helps both the college and the student.
I have heard the argument that because the military discriminates against homosexuals, ROTC should not be supported. But there is truly no place in the military for homosexuals! Imagine what it is like in a living compartment where the bunks are two or three levels high with 20 to 50 men in a compartment, or in a barracks with a comparable number of men.
In civilian life, a person's preference is his own business as long as he or she does not force his or her ideas on others. Military life is a completely different form of living where the individual must do as he is told and must subordinate his feelings for the good of the service.
The benefits of a military career which stresses leadership, integrity, trust, loyalty and responsibility cannot be found in most civilian organizations. I strongly feel that the opportunity for a military career should not be denied to Harvard students and that the ROTC program should be encouraged. Conrad H. Carlson '38 Commander, U.S. Navy (Retired)
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