DEAR ABBY: I read with interest the letter from the 25-year-old man who's considering joining the military, and whose family and friends think he's lost his mind.
I'm a retired Army colonel and think how fortunate this country would be if more people had that young man's attitude.
My strongest recommendation to that fella -- or anyone joining the military -- is to make absolutely sure of what you are signing up for. Read the DD Form 4, Enlistment Contract -- every word. If a recruiter promises something, have that promise put in writing on the DD Form 4 or it is not considered binding. Also, don't let a recruiter tell you "now or never." He may say that only to fulfill a quota. Yes, there are restrictions and qualification factors, but a good recruiter will lay out all of those openly and work with the applicant to satisfy the individual's need as well as the military's. -- COL. MM, HUNTSVILLE, ALA.
DEAR COL. MM: You have written an important letter, and I hope that "Not in Boot Camp Yet" takes it to heart. I'm sure it will help not only him, but also any high school senior who is unsure about what to do after graduation. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: This is for anyone who's considering joining any branch of military service. Even if you are sure which branch you want to join, talk to recruiters from other branches -- and also different recruiters in the branch you are considering. Some recruiters are more knowledgeable than others, and an inexperienced recruiter's ignorance can cause new recruits to miss out on opportunities such as bonuses, tuition and initial entry rank. -- PROUD AIRMAN, JACKSONVILLE, FLA.
DEAR PROUD AIRMAN: That's valuable advice for anyone considering a stint in the armed forces.