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Letter from an alumnus about ROTC drawbacks enumerated

I have just read with interest Samuel W. Gelfman ’53’s letter (Nov. 17) concerning PAW’s Oct. 6 feature on Donald Rumsfeld ’54.

I too was an ROTC student in the early 1950s, and voluntarily signed up for the Air Force program in 1951 for exactly the reasons Mr. Gelfman enumerates in his second paragraph — safety, comfort, Korea, draft, money, etc. I went on to three more years of commissioned active duty and then five more years in the inactive USAF reserve. On balance I have no regrets.

I disagree with Mr. Gelfman when he says the drawback was a longer tour of duty. For me, far and away the biggest drawback was that the ROTC required one full course each semester, taking up 20 percent of my course schedule freshman and sophomore years, and 25 percent my junior and senior years. I therefore sacrificed a significant percentage of my Princeton educational opportunity to a standardized educational manual that originated in the Pentagon, delivered by USAF captains and majors from World War II who were just serving out their time.

B. Beck Fisher Jr. ’55
Atlantis, Fla.

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