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At home and abroad:
Two views of gulf crisis

(Editor's note: The Tech received a copy of this open letter addressed to any student in the Class of 1992.)

What's up?

I'll admit right off, I don't know how to start this letter. I will, however, give it the best that I can.

My name is Chuck Lewis, I'm 19 years old, and I graduated from high school in 1988.

I didn't do too badly in school. I passed Calculus II with a B-, which wasn't bad. I played a few sports, mostly soccer and track. I played left fullback and did the polevault, and a few other sports, but was by no means a jock.

I wasn't sure about college. I sort of wanted to go, but I didn't know if I should.

So, right out of high school, at 17, I left my girlfriend and joined the army.

I didn't want to be a grunt, but, I didn't want a soft job either.

I went military intelligence, which I later learned at times is a contradiction of terms. But for a thrill, and the fact that the picture on the wall looked cool, I went airborne.

So, almost a full year from starting basic, I wound up in the 82nd Airborne Division, with a pair of jump wings and a new girlfriend, my old one having left me.

Well, I stayed in North Carolina for seven months, and all was quiet, except for a couple of jumps into exercises that weren't the smoothest, and then one cold day in December, we had an "exercise," and when we jumped after an extra-long flight, it wasn't too cold anymore.

It was dark, and it was hot.

Welcome to Panama.

Eighteen years old and jumping into combat. Why? Couldn't I have been in college? I guess so.

Anyway, I turned 19, in Panama. Dec. 24. Oh, well, next year, right? Wrong!

Okay, a little over half a year goes by, and here I am again. Only this time, it's the Middle East.

My birthday coming soon again, all I can say is, next year, right?

Good things have come out of the Army though, not the best of which is all the stories I have now, and I'm still only 19.

Other things are I've met a lot of great people, learned to surf and a couple of other things.

I guess I told you all that so you can answer the following question with a little bit of knowledge of what could have happened to you if you had made my choices:

Are you glad you went to college?

What do you and your friends think about what happened in Panama and what may happen in the Middle East? Are they for

or against military action? How do they feel about this political bullshit that's going on in Washington?

I really would like to know, and if there's anything else you'd like to say, say it, or something you want to know, ask it!

I hope this gets to someone.

If you do get this, please write back.

Thanks a lot.

Spc. Chuck Lewis->


D 00 313 MI BN->

82nd ABN DIV->

APO NY 09656->