Frank Deford's article on Major Pete Dawkins, "the most highly regarded young officer in the Army," was unquestionably one of the finest pieces of journalism in SI's history. Of course, I must admit to a bit of prejudice, being a young Army captain presently serving as an adviser in the Republic of South Vietnam
Major Dawkins, I feel, accurately refutes the myopic views of the civilian world in regard to the Army with one comment: "The military is never so evil as some would have it, nor so gallant as others."
Countless young officers serve their obligatory two-year stint in eager anticipation of separation day only to find that most, if not all, restrictions imposed in the service exist in private industry as well. Haircuts, mandatory social functions and bureaucratic procedures are hardly exclusive to the Army.
I think far too many of us nowadays live in a dream world where war is nonexistent and only peace, love and tranquillity abound. Major Dawkins lies somewhere in between the idealist and the realist. Undeniably, he is an asset to the Army, significantly more so today when we are fighting to establish our identity. Unfortunately, many fellow officers look upon his effort as nothing more than personal aggrandizement. Fortunately, their number is rapidly diminishing, and the day of the enlightened officer, diametrically opposed to the crew-out robot, the epitome of the Army officer of the '50s, is in sight.
ASHLEY B. COLE
Bien Hoa, South Vietnam