I am a Coast Guard recruiter in Miami Lakes, and after reading your article on recruiting ["Uncle Sam really wants you," Sept. 8]. I was wondering what the Coast Guard recruiter told you; or was the poor ol' Coast Guard left out of all the reindeer games as usual?

Our recruiting has certainly seen a spike, especially after Hurricane Katrina. We are the fifth and smallest armed service of the United States. Myself, I am a prior-service Army person. We do have several hundred personnel in the Gulf, but they serve a purpose similar to the Navy. We have seen an increase in recruiting too because of Iraq. Kids come in our office with their parents because they don't want to go to Iraq and they feel we are pretty safe. We don't have to lie or promise bonuses, because the Coast Guard sells itself. However, we do offer some bonuses.

I was just curious. This was a good article. Thanks.

Harry C. Craft III, Miami Lakes


I would like to respond to your article on military recruiting ["Uncle Sam really wants you," Sept. 8]. As a military recruiter I can tell you that although we make mission every month, articles about recruiting seem to be popping up all over. Do you ever print articles about the good things that your local military recruiters do? Have you ever printed articles from the proud parents or family members of the kids we enlist? Have you ever sat down with some of these kids to ask them what they have now compared to what they had before they enlisted? Did you know a typical recruiter gets hung up on 10 times a day and gets told to kiss someone's ass at least five times?

Talk to his spouse or children, who don't see him because he works 13-hour days, and that includes weekends. Now that you have gone undercover, how about coming out of the closet and finding out the real deal. Go back and face those same recruiters you deceived and ask them to tell you about a typical day or week they have. Finding young men and women to enlist these days is hard enough without the local newspapers condemning what we do, as well as putting their personal opinions out there about our president. I love my country and I am proud to serve it and until I am finished with recruiting, I will do my job to the best of my ability. But don't ever call me desperate, because the lives that we support and defend may one day be yours.

Kevin Odermatt, Titusville


Thank you for printing "Gonzo goodbye" [Sept. 8]. I feel it would serve our society well to consistently receive articles, not only from this author, but also on the topics brought up in the article. For example, "The lines between advertising and journalism have never been more blurred." This idea is just one that can be further explored. In addition, it needs to be explored and exposed to the public. I find Mr. Stolzenbach's perspective sophisticated, thought-provoking and enlightening. When I read his work, I want to read more. I am requesting that Mr. Stolzenbach be given space in Orlando Weekly routinely to bear the brilliance of what needs to be expressed in words.

Kyla Webster, via the Internet


Hunter [Thompson] could write in a way that extracted emotion ["Gonzo goodbye," Sept. 8]. Love him or hate him, you simply could not dismiss his insight and exposure of the darker side of our people and culture. A generation of the curious or the unsettled found him fascinating (myself included). He didn't portray Americans with the chamber of commerce "spin," but with his own often drug-enhanced perception. Could it be that his continual disappointment in humanity was one of the contributors to his demise?

Thanks, Issac. You are quite a good storyteller. Hope to see more of your work.

Lisa Williams, via the Internet


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