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The Washington Post
September 9, 1995
Op-Ed, Page A15
Snooty Recruit

I was disappointed that you would print a piece as disingenuous as Stewart Ugelow’s tale of his recruitment by the U.S. Navy ["Bombarded by the U.S. Navy," Outlook, Aug. 27]. While Ugelow professes that his story is told out of some benevolent concern over wasted tax dollars, it appears that he is doing nothing more than relating an elitist joke.

Many high school and college students are flooded with recruitment mail from various branches of the armed forces. I am a senior at Swarthmore College (certainly as unlikely a launching pad for a career in the military as Yale) and despite the fact that my PSAT scores are nothing more than faded numbers in my academic past, I am still the recipient of this peculiar military version of junk mail. I lump it in with the credit-card offers, magazine-subscription solicitations and sweepstakes announcements that commonly litter the mailboxes of those my age.

Ugelow, it seems, is not so much concerned about the tax dollars spent on his recruitment as he is amused by the supposed naivete of the military. After all, Ugelow implies in a thinly veiled subtext, only cretins enlist in the armed services, and Ugelow is no lowbrow, having, as his accompanying biography mockingly explains, "two years remaining on his four-year commitment to Yale University."

If Ugelow wishes to engage in the elitist conception of the military as nothing more than a refuge for academic non-achievers, he should do so honestly and openly without falling back on the tired ploy of feigned civic concern.

– Jason Gray Zengerle