Blindness And Military Service


Blindness And Military Service

     "I represent the military. Is this...?”

     Telephone solicitor, I thought. "Yes.” I answered back and I don't know why, but held on.

     "We want you to be aware of two recent changes relating to serving in our military. First a change in the criteria for joining any branch of this countries military. What we now look for is ability. This includes persons with one or more disabilities, because we know ability is still there. We have part and full time positions."

     "What's the second?"

     "The draft in time of war will include all citizens of appropriate age."

e-mail responses to

**1. “This thought provoker is one that has a personal interest to our family.
Our oldest son is graduating from high school and is entering the regular
Army in June. He has Retinitis Pigmentosa and they still accepted him. We
are very happy about that because that is what he has wanted to do for
years. So for him, it makes him feel that he is considered a normal person
with the ability to serve his country if he so desires. That has given
him a better chance for a future doing what he wants to do. That freedom
should be there for us. There are so many things that people with
disabilities can do, that we are limiting our armed forces and our country
and our people if we do not allow them to contribute their talents.

The second part of the thought PROVOKER is more of a political question
that one of disabilities-vs-abilities. If we are going to go to war and we
need the numbers of people that would be necessary for an offensive force
to protect our country and the freedom of people, then a draft is also a
necessity. If we are not going to war and we need only a defensive force,
than we do not need the large number of people that a draft would produce.
It would not be economically feasible.”

Rory Conrad (Dunlap, Iowa, USA)

2**. “20 years ago I tried to join the Air Force after graduating from the top
ten percent of my high school class. All I got was a "Canned Answer”

Why didn't they allow this then? Now I'm too old to be considered.
There are allot of things disabled people could do in the military. Maybe
we wouldn't be on the front, but if you really consider it, nowadays, the
most important jobs in the armed forces are not "on the front".

I salute anyone who serves this country.”

Bud Manuel (Blindad list)

**3. “Yes, the government is finally becoming ADA compliant. (I wish) I'd take a
job instantly. As far as the second item of taking anyone of the appropriate
age, what happened to ability, and I am assuming this means both sex's? I
would really like to see this happen, although I wonder where they would put
people that have a disability, I bet it would not be front line, and there
is a good chance that it would not be desired positions? So do we get to
make brooms, maybe!”

Mike Wardin (columbia, Missouri, USA)
Personal Web Page @
Chouteau Grotto Web Page @

**4. “I agree that many of the jobs in the "new" military are not front line
positions. But how many of the important positions still require
high-speed reactions and visual access to equipment such as tracking &
monitoring systems? Even monitoring sonar equipment requires visual
access to computer-generated data.
I'm not saying there are not other, highly valuable, positions; nor am I
saying that the above positions are completely impossible to hold for a
blind individual. I am simply raising the point that getting into
positions where people's lives, and mission success, depend on a person
who is disabled in any way, is going to be a hellishly uphill business,
and it strikes me as unrealistic to think we would be placed into such

Of course: that is under a military controlled by the military. With
affirmative action type programs, and political correct pressures, such
things just may happen, regardless of military opinion. If that were to
happen, it may be considered a victory by some of us, but in the long run
I think it would be a very unfortunate thing all around.

Just pondering concepts out loud...”

Luke Davis (Blindad list)

**5. “A most interesting scenario, a way to look at our Military. Where
it's main objective is to break things. We are not talking about a
social club here. We are talking about the safety of the United
States. So what kind of Social Equality Judgements will
be made for the act of being fare. For my two cents worth, the blind
can do many things. But, in the basic structure of the military where
the first thing the leaders do, is to mold everyone the same. How would
you make everyone the same if the rules were not changed? Now I have
never spent any time in the military, nor wish to. So, what kind of
Social Engineering does one have to do so this scenario would play out?

It is the same bad reasoning behind women in the military. Don't get me
wrong, I think that there is a place in the military for women. But,
their upper body strength isn't as great as a man's. Now I'm talking
about an average, not an individual. The only reason why I bring this
up, is look at the standard's of how they have been lowered to
accommodate women in the military. Now I sound like a sexist which I
don't think I am. But, reality is
sometimes a bitter pill. Don't take my word on it. There is
enough documentation on this subject to find out for yourself. Now
women would and are a better marksmen than men, but the overall picture
is the same.

The only reason why I brought women up in the military is a case and
point. Why would you want a blind person in charge of life's? If, the
recruit was not in that roll, and delegated to a subservient position.
What future does the recruit have in the military?

There are so many issues here that I could bore you to
incoherence. But, I think you get my point. That the blind in the
military is a bad idea. Not because, I don't think that a blind person
can be a valuable asset. But, for the simple reason of the access
issue. What kind of accommodations will need to be made?”

Robin Rush (West Point, Nebraska, USA)

**6. “I find this question an extremely interesting one. I have no reason to be interested in the military for personal reasons, but I would find the idea of financial aid for college highly useful. It is frustrating to know that I am not allowed to serve my country as a member of the armed forces. Do not get me wrong, I don't really want to go drive tanks around and shoot people, but I would like to do other military jobs. I feel that it would be an excellent way for me to improve my character and personality. I know that for me, that level of organization could be an excellent way to round out my personality. However this avenue is closed to me because I am blind.

I truthfully have one more reason to be interested in the military. I know that it may sound silly, but to me it is valid as any other reason. Most, if not all, astronauts have military backgrounds. I have dreamed of trying my hand at such a career since I attended Space Camp a few years ago, but I know that because I am not (and can not) be involved with the military, my chances to even apply for such a position are slim to none. This is doubly frustrating because I know that with the correct training, (I emphasize "correct training") blind people can do this job. I have seen a group of half-trained, half-sleep and food deprived visually impaired and blind teenagers pull off a successful simulated mission. I see no reason that we could not all do it, in real life. Thanks!”

Amy Mason (Cedar Bluffs, Nebraska, USA)

**7. “In these days of declining numbers in our military, I believe that blind
people should be permitted to serve. I don't believe that it would be
safe for us or anyone else, however, for us to be in a combat situation.
But, there are plenty of other jobs we could perform equally well as those
sighted people currently holding the positions. I don't believe that the
military is any different than private employment when it comes to
non-combat positions. My knowledge of military service is definitely
extremely limited. But, I do know that every post has to have offices and
personnel who never shoot a gun or operate other equipment. So, we could
serve and receive the benefits just as well as sighted citizens.”

Cindy Handel (Willow Street, Pennsylvania, USA)

**8. “It seems realistic to me to recruit on the basis of ability rather than
disability. Though some people with disabilities might have trouble in boot
camp! I was recruited for the air force, then rejected because my eyesight was
poor. It seems it didn't matter what it was corrected to, just that before
it was corrected, it was poor.
Oh well.”

Lori Stayer (Merrick, New York, USA)

**9. “I would have loved to join the military when I got out of high school. Of
course that was before I got married to a guy in the Army. I think I am too
independent for the military. I don't like people telling me what to do all
the time. I would have probably ended up peeling potatoes for the whole

Rhonda Samply (Omaha, Nebraska, USA)

**10. “I got several of these calls when I turned 18. They would start with this
long spiel about all the benefits of (name of branch here) and then ask if I
was interested. I would usually at this point tell them that I am legally
blind and that I would love to join. At this point I got anything from
"Sorry, sir we do not have any positions for you" to the person just hanging
up. After each recruiting office in the area called at least three times
they got a clue.

The hard part at that point was that I really wanted to join. I wanted to
get the experience in the Navy on Submarines. I had already thrown out the
idea of flying a plain. I think I would have been happy just working a desk
state side with computers. Also they were and still offer lots of money for

Why should a branch of our government be able to discriminate against such a
large segment of the total US population? When the government says that a
regular employer can not do this. Another thing I just thought about is not
being able to get into the military also keeps a lot of good people out of
NASA and the CIA.”

Shawn Djernes (USA)

**11. “This is an interesting question to pose to someone of the Sixties
mentality. I have come to the stance that one should probably pay the
government in a way that suits each individual. Some are capable of
killing, fighting and harsh conditions, and others are not. Some have
varying interests and capabilities that would suit many slots. Why can the
government not take these issues and personality quirks into consideration as
much as an employer would? Of course, there is the issue of having the
government, A.K.A. Big Brother, know more than it needs to. But we must
remember that we are blessed to live here, too.”

Pam McVeigh (Ruston, Louisiana USA)

**12. “Look at the resolutions of NFB for 1980, 1982 and 1991. The last caused
quite a debate but passed!”

Mike Freeman; (BlindLaw list)

**13. “When I first saw this posting, I had to stop and really think about it. You
see, my father is a retired Command Sargent Major, and my ex-husband and I
were in the military for twenty-three years. He is a retired E-8. So, for
forty-three years I was connected to the United States Army.

I lived in occupied Berlin for four years, having moved there two months
after the wall went up.

I was In Germany when they did the Olympic bombing, and all the military
posts went on high alert.

It was during this time that women in the military were just coming into
their own. But it was rough. The men didn't want them, as they didn't fill
that they would be capable of full military preparedness. They didn't want
to have to have their lives depend on whether or not a woman had the where
with all to defend them.

I also know that during a period of our history blacks were not well received in the military and life was made very rough for them. Even after
serving their country in Viet Nam, they came home to the same old bigotry
and prejudice.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this. Although I fully believe in the
competence of the disabled individual, I think that soldiers, and their
leaders, would balk at having a disabled member of the military. I think
it would have a tremendous effect on the confidence of non-disabled soldiers,
simply because they are not educated to the fact that having a disability
does not mean one is incapable. The same old attitudes would be present in
the military as in the civilian world.

Having said this, let me point out something. There was an officer in a
specialized unit of paratroopers who did exhibitions for the military. A
few years ago there was a mid air accident and his partner was killed, and he
lost both of his legs. After recovery, and artificial limbs, he has
managed to stay in the military.

I really do not know if a blind soldier would ever be accepted. I think
this is one of those things we will never know until it's done.”

Jimmie Ray (BlindLaw list)

**14. “When I was in high school, I wanted very much to be in the military.
Actually, I wanted to be able to pay for college and was willing to serve is
that were possible. I was born blind, so obviously, it was not. I have
since changed my tune, and am not very enamored by the military. They are just not the most progressive thinking
people in the world. I suspect that like blacks and women, blind people
will go in against the will of the common soldier. If not, it will be that
soldier that keeps them out of service.

I recall many people complaining in the Gulf war days that they never
thought they'd have to go off to a place like that and fight. They did not
ever think they would have the risk their lives in battle. That was not a
prospect that would have excited me in high school either. However, it
always seemed fair. I would have been willing to enter the military; give
it my very best shot; and hope I was not asked to go to a hot spot.
However, if that happened, that seemed the risk of joining. Well, that was
a chance that was absolutely not available to me.”

Jim McCarthy (BlindLaw list)

**15. “Don't forget the vast majority of military positions are non-combat so if we
decide that combat is out like flying a plane is out, we need not accept that
the military as a whole is out.”

Patti Gregory-Chang (BlindLaw list)

**16. “As for those who volunteer, I am most proud of them, and certainly advocate
such opportunities for blinks and other handicaps.

Its the slave draft I object to for anyone.”

Jim Stevenson (Blindad list)

**17. “I just wanted to add, it better be a good day to die as you never know when
you will, so hope every day is a good day to die because I don't think it
would be fun to die on a bad day.”

James Ruby (Blindad list)

**18. “I for one will not put my selfish desires above the welfare of this nation's
sons and daughters. If they create civilian positions for them to fill, I
will applaud the services, for you see I believe blind people are just as
capable as sighted folks, given the proper tools to over come their
limitations. But, I am not naive enough to think that everyone who puts on
a uniform may be asked to give her/his life for their country, so you who
favor the blind in the military need to ask yourselves, IS IT A GOOD DAY
To DIE!!!”

John Fitzgerald (Muse, Oklahoma, USA)

**19. “I was responding to John's post and his experience in having been in the
Navy and then blind. The military itself was designed as far as I read it
to protect the U-S from other national powers and protect our freedoms by
doing so. I agree that peace keeping is not our job and currently we are
talking about N-A-T-O who last time I checked isn't the U-S but might as well
be based on the fact that it is mostly the United States that has armed
To operate two wars at the same time is not in the framers plans when
developing for a national defense. In some ways the National Guard was the
correct approach since at the time of our founders the average person owned
a gun and it was more like untrained army's that fought.
The numbers being reduced in the armed forces has more to do with money
not spent and lack in interest by young Americans than any other reason.
Persons are not going to choose a military career if they have better higher
paying choices out of the forces. Either way, I still hardly believe that
their will always be a number of military persons who will not ever pick-up
a weapon and fight. Weather it's women, food services, office clerks,
medical personnel or whatever you could never supply the number of jobs
needed in the military if you insisted that each one have the skills also to
fight and win a war. For that reason you have multilevel of forces such as
National Guard who numbers have only been reduced by 20% where the military
has been reduced by nearly 50% over the past6+ years.
My point therefore is basically, that jobs for blind are there in the
military and that it's a lack of vision on the government’s part not to tap
those reserves for helping with the national defense. That doesn't mean to
me that you must know how to "fight" and carry guns to be a service member.
I can hardly imagine doctors and nurses in military hospitals putting down
their gloves and grabbing a gun to go fight on the front lines. Those who
are enlisted to fight and be in battle are trained to do so and those who
have other skills needed by the military in order to function will also do
their jobs and never even see battle. Your not going to take a f18 pilot
and have him drive a tank because that's not where his skills are. In the
same way you're not going to take a doctor and put him in a airforce fighter
because that's not where his skills are. In the same way ground troops
aren't not going to be sent to the pentagon to work on next years military
budget and figure how to balance the costs of doing business because that's
not where their skills are!”

Mark (Blindad list)

**20. “There are plenty of non-combat positions we could do. Even if that means not leaving our home soil. I could also see a need to change the training phase too.; not the same exact boot camp, but still some training in the use of weapons.”

**21. “I too do not approve of war generally but I do believe preparation for
defense and occasionally there are causes which justify war from what
history has shown me. I think respecting a person with disability’s
choice in the matter is the greater principle here. I would not opt for
involvement myself but I believe others may and would feel differently so
they should have that choice. You often must have something because it is
better than the alternative even when it is not a desirable thing. I
believe no one should be abused by others but since people abuse and even
murder one another you must have laws to penalize those who do these things
and they must be enforced. I feel the same way about the military. I
would prefer there would be no need for such a thing for anyone to be
involved in, but that is not realistic and the Hitlers, Amins, Melosovich
and the like cannot be allowed to simply destroy people because of their
nationality, religion, geographic inconvenience and so on without paying a
penalty for their actions by those who believe it is terribly wrong. War
is wrong but occasionally it is the only option that will work and is
preferable to the alternative.”

Lisa (Blindad list)

**22. “The phrase "Blind men can't shoot", does not hold true. Some of us are
quite able in all manner of combat areas. That does not negate the fact,
however, that we're not front line material. We are also not back of
line support technical material, as that sort of thing still requires
vision. I do not see any real circumstance where blind personnel would be
involved in any combat unit.

I know one who used to (perhaps still does) run computers (programming was
his mission, if I recall) for the Navy. That may be as far as we get.

Perhaps the paper pusher sort, but you have to be around for a while in
other aspects to be placed in anything other than a low level position of
that nature, and if that is your goal, than go sign on with a
corporation--you'll get better pay.”

**23. “Sorry, gang, I'm compelled to weigh in on this one. As a peacenik with
roots in the '60's, I have no desire to see the military try to embrace
the ADA!

Des anyone remember the poem that Harold Krensch wrote when he got
drafted? Only two lines stayed with me:
"...but of course you must furnish a Braille M16." And, "I guess I'll
just fire when I hear something move!”

Max G. Swanson (Blindad list)

**24. “I am retired military, and now blind. And, if I had the opportunity to
serve again, I would not!

First and foremost is that the present peacenik lead and run administration
does not have the moral, ethical or authority to make the necessary
decisions required to keep our sons' and daughters' safe, or to guarantee
that those who lost their lives did so in the service of their country, not
to divert the news media away from some potentially damaging news story.

Secondly, I respect and value the lives of my fellow shipmates, and do not
wish to put any of them in harm's way. At sea everyone is dependent upon
his shipmate for his/her life, I do not want to be responsible for the loss
of even one single life.”

John Fitzgerald (Blindad list, Muse, Oklahoma, USA)

*25. “Hi all, I advocated involvement of blind persons and other persons with
disabilities even during Vietnam and it has been denied on the grounds
then at least and even up until recently when I spoke with a general from
the Marines that each person is expected to be battle ready so if you are
not going to be able to physically fight you cannot serve.

Certainly, I think in the current military the nature of the wars
often means that many individuals will never physically engage in combat
as their expertise and role would exclude it and blind persons certainly
should be considered for those positions if the individual wants to be so.”

Lisa Carmelle (Blindad list)

**26. “This subject is important and interesting because it seems to me that
for many persons including those of us who are blind a entire system of
"some" jobs are closed for our consideration. This effected me directly a
number of years ago when I was first graduating from a MSW program and at
that time was contacted by the military via telephone to request me to
consider working for them as a therapist helping families cope with the many
troubled conflicts of their life in service. At that time I did indicate my
interests in considering working in the services and wanted to follow-up on
their generous offers for enlisting.
Well you can imagine how that this recruiter was just beside himself
because they were unable to get persons from the helping professions
interested in working for the military. He was able to go as far as
indicate how that I would have this high rank for education, wouldn't need to worry about
boot camp and even could have freedom in choice of my first 4-years tour and
where it would be stationed.

Well that's the end of the good news, because when it was then
understood that I was also blind that immediately ended my military service
before it was even started. It was clearly indicated how that the armed
forces were unable to offer careers to persons who also were blind even
though the job did not require vision for any type of combat.
For that reason, I do believe that their are hundreds of good military
jobs which have little or nothing to do with combat and yet could be made
open to persons who are blind or otherwise disabled. I don't buy the
argument that all military must be ready to or able to fight for the reason
that it has been many years that women have served and yet in combat
fighting roles women have not yet been directly deployed into battle. It's
for that same reason that many jobs could be held by blind military and not
have the need to do battle or fly a F18's into combat just in order to be a
useful service member.
Now I'm to set in other areas of practice to any longer consider a
military career but I sure would have like to have had that choice when I
was first looking! The funny thing now is that many of the families I now
work with are from the military base near where I work and because I accept
their insurance I treat the service personnel that I would have work with
any ways if I had been enlisted in the first place! The only difference now
is that I can charge a higher rate to see them as not being military that it
would have cost them if I had treated them as a military therapist. Go
figure? The armed services haven't been the great example of cost
containment any ways have they!”

Mark (Blindad list)

**27. “Anyway, I was interested in the topic of blindness in the military. Since
the person who called you said the military would consider some
disabilities I'm wondering how we'd be accommodated?

I'm sure there are many duties that we can perform quite well, but I'd
personally have to draw the line at combat and at such things as being
pilots and the like. I think we should strive for inclusion, but we should
also use common sense. I'm sure there are vast opportunities for folks who
have a knack for computers or for languages.

Just some thoughts.”

Liz Campbell, (Fort Worth Texas, USA)
p.s. I have to say hello to all of the Nebraskans! I'm an ex-patriot
living in Texas.

**28. “Having been in the army, my opinion is that the military is heavily geared
toward conformity. To manage hundreds of people in an area without any chaos,
there are standards of behavior that simply don't allow for individuality.
They allow for rank and position, but that's about it.

I just don't know how mobile and ready a military organization would be if
they started allowing for individual needs and requirements.

Of course, the flip side is: there are people who'd probably be doing topnotch
jobs who aren't currently accepted into military service.

Mind you, I think the military mindset is bizarre, so anyone who wants to go
join it ought to be welcomed in.”

Brett Crow (California, USA)

**29. “As a blind person and child of a military family, I must disagree with
those who see a possibility of the disabled assuming roles in the armed
forces. As a youth I dreamed of being in the military. However, logic
soon took over. The need for a mistake free military is so great that
anyone who can pose any risk of making even a simple mistake must be
excluded from service. Some one told me once that the disabled could
perform clerical work. I looked at this idea and came to the conclusion
that the armed forces run on paperwork. A simple misspelling can have
grave consequences for those who are being shot at. Although a perfectly
sighted person can make such a mistake, the probability of a sight impaired
person making the same mistake are greater. Some may disagree with me, but
I believe that most have the courage to admit that the sight impaired do
stand a better chance of making a mistake then the fully sighted.”

Josh Smith (BlindLaw list)

**30. “FROM ME: A response to the previous message.

“I think the assumptions you are making about yourself and the rest of us are
negative self fulfilling prophecies. Blindness might create some
limitation. It is probably more correct to say that blindness combined with
a lack of training leads to limitations. I think it is not good to limit
ourselves though before even beginning.”

Jim McCarthy

**31. “FROM ME: An answer to the above message.”

“I do not mean to say that a blind person cannot do the job. What I am
saying is that I would not be offended if I were applying for a military
job and I was put under extreme scrutiny. However, in any other job, I am
certain that every blind person deserves not to be put under such scrutiny.
The military, I believe, is different however.”

Josh Smith (BlindLaw list)

**32. “FROM ME: In response to the above exchange of messages.”

“There is no such thing as a mistake-free military. Lest you doubt this,
consider that British Swordfish aircraft out to bomb the Bismarck bombed
their own cruiser -- the Sheffield, instead (no hits so that, too, could be
considered a mistake). Consider Bull's Run off late. Consider Pearl
Harbor -- both our lack of air patrols and the fact that the Japanese
didn't bomb the oil tank farm. Consider the horrible accuracy of the
paratroop drop during the Normandy invasion. Consider McArthur's
assumption that the Chinese wouldn't attack in Korea. Consider Mogadishu
in October of 1993 (though that wasn't all the military's fault).

There is no question, but that it would be unwise to have a blind person as
point in a grunt patrol -- unless said patrol was being used to clear land
mines as the Russians used to do it during WW2 wherein troops linked arms
and crossed terrain, clearing the land mines the hard way! (A blind
person could be blown up just as easily as anyone else.) But there may be
circumstances -- both in combat and out -- where a blind person would
function just as well as a sighted person. I don't think there's a blind
patriot who would risk the lives of others just for his/her own
gratification. But some of us resent the fact that we were not given the
opportunity to serve.

I'm not saying that we *can* do the job; I merely assert that we don't
know we can't until we've been given a chance. And if we use the
prejudice of others as a reason not to try or be given the chance, we
would have never gotten out of our rocking chairs. Contributory
negligence, anyone?”

“We must remember that during World War Ii, blind Frenchmen took an active
part in the Resistance -- running guns and acting as spies. It is in part
due to the gratefulness of the French people for this service that French
persons who are blind were given a pension!”

Mike Freeman (BlindLaw list) Internet: ; Amateur Radio Callsign: K7UIJ

**33. “I believe that the disabled could be an integral part of the military. Though combat would be a bit much for most of them, working on planes, maintaining equipment, data entry, shipping and distribution, working on new technology for military use, counseling, the armed forces radio services, service in military hospitals, entertainment, and a number of other things would be open to them. In the case of large scale warfare, the disabled could take essential non-combat related jobs freeing up the more able-bodied for other aspects of military service.

Blindness only affects a person's ability to do tasks requiring visual acuity. It has no bearing on whether they are physically fit, able to do complex tasks, or are able to make competent decisions that affect the lives of others.

As to whether or not they should be drafted, I don't think anyone should be drafted. Military service should be a choice BUT if the draft is to include all over the age of majority, the disabled with stable conditions should be counted among them.
We want the same rights as other citizens, we must live with the same responsibilities.”

Alyzza H.

**34. “Ladies and gentlemen:
I am sorry to burst the bubble of the discussion surrounding any possible
role of blind individuals in the military.

It is not going to happen.

Military history aside, IE those times when non-combat personnel were
required to fight on line, it is not practical and, given the wide
diversity of disabilities out there, is simply impractical.

We, those of us who are blind, will be employed to our needs and potential
before that happens.

The only observation I would make is to repeat one that I overheard some
weeks ago in an unrelated forum. "If any part of the military is needed by
those with disabilities who are not veterans, it is the benefits level.
Match the non-veteran with a disability with the same benefits of the
veteran with a disability, and you will have really done something.”

"Done something?" You bet they will have. The disabled veterans earned
every benefit they get and then some. Interesting proposal though, don't
you think?

If you are not a disabled veteran, were born with your disability - and
have not been able to land a job, join the service or otherwise make ends
meet, perhaps you should be worth a bit more in the eyes of the Federal
Government for potential employment? Would expanding that idea to modify
outside of the service-connected issues be in order?

Do any of you think that Social Security benefits are enough to live on?
Do any of you think that the disabled veteran is entitled to anything less
than what he or she currently receives??

Is there a middle ground?

Remember that this is an election year. The news is filled with "If you can
breathe, you can find a job" stories. Anyone out there have the statistics
on employment of blind people? I genuinely do not know what they are.

Think about it.”

Ross Doerr (BlindLaw list)

**35. “What a great time reading all the thoughtful responses. It seems that I agree with most of the people that there are many positions in the military that visually impaired personnel could handle. (Not making brooms either!) With the computer applications like Jaws and the retractable Braille keyboard, there are numerous responsible jobs that blind people are capable of.

The submarine as a case of point would be an excellent choice as long as the claustrophobia issue didn't enter in. However in reality, the military is one big combine that can chew you up and spit you out where it wants you. There probably is a tough chain of command attitude and there is a history of hazing and there certainly is a prejudice against gays in the military. The message is don't be too different and if you are don't tell anyone or the wrath is upon you.

In my opinion the Pentagon would be a good place for allot of visually impaired personnel. Why can't they strategize and plot military air strikes as well as the next person. I say, if you let them in then allow them to rise to the top too. It would be nice to send a blind woman astronaut into space as a scientist or what ever they are qualified to do. Space camp would be a tease for those who dream of doing that in real life. Personally I wish we would not have to send our youth to war. Definitely approve of an all volunteer army over a draft. But the final thought is, the choice should be there for all in a totally free society.”

Suzanne Lange (California, USA)

**36. “OK, guys....time to interject my feminine two cents worth into the

I am the one who responded that there were possibilities of the blind
serving, but highly unlikely unless attitudes change. I firmly believe that
there ARE areas we, as blind citizens, can perform equably with sighted
military personnel. This would not, nor should be, in the area of combat. I
was speaking to the areas of admin and legal; after all, our brains do

I must, however, point out a rather interesting fact. There is no
hesitation what so ever in taking the dollars of the blind taxpayer to
support our military services..... Hmmm.

The disabled vet deserves every benefit and more that they receive. They've
defended our freedoms, our country and have experienced things that most of
us would never be able to handle (I'm not just talking about the blind here).

As to the blind, employment and social security there are no definitive
answers. Allot depends on circumstance, environment and personal
determination and mindsets.
Granted, there are some things we cannot do. Period. Accept them and go on.
Granted, there are employers who cringe at the very idea of employing a
blind person. So find another employer. Granted, social security does not
meet our total needs (It wasn't intended to. It was set up to subsidize.)
We'll just have to adapt like every other sighted person on social security
has too.

The best way to limit our prospects in the business arena, and in our lives,
is to limit ourselves in our minds.”

Jimmie Ray (BlindLaw list)

**37. “This might be somewhat off-topic... but in several of the responses
I detected a note of "relative unworthiness" if a (blind) person
was not "on the front lines".

This strongly reminded me of several people who I have met at the
dialysis unit over a period of time. When I meet someone new
there, I ask whether they are a fellow patient, or part of the
staff. Many of these new people have responded "oh, I'm just part
of the cleaning staff.”

I always tell these people that they are as necessary as the nurses
and doctors, which they are. They are part of an organization or,
to make it more of a metaphor, they are part of an organism. They
are _needed_.”

David R. Sky (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)

(+1) (604) 687-6898

**38. “FROM ME: Here again is the mother who in **1. Wrote that her teenage son with RP has been accepted into the army.”

“An addition, I wrote that my son is going into the Army in June. He has RP. I
believe that he will be an excellent soldier. He has the maturity and the
abilities to be one. He is not blind or legally blind at this time so he
could go into combat if that was what he was asked to do at this point.
However, he is also preparing for a computer position with the Army that
will be his job once he is through basic training. If the military, who
are picking the right young people to serve our country, have confidence in
his abilities over his disabilities, than we should be grateful and
thankful. He will be able to use the GI bill and further his education
after he is out of the service. He may not stay in until he is blind, but
he will have that option, and he will not be placed in a position that
would be dangerous to himself or our country. One of the gentlemen who
wrote in did so eloquently state that people would be placed where their talents would be best used. That is the way it will be. To think
that they would put a blind person as a tank driver or on the front lines,
is ridicules. There are many non-combat jobs in the Army and I am glad that
it had the foresight to see that a person with a potential handicap can
also have a potential benefit to all of us. I am proud that my son is
going to serve our country and if all the young people who are in the
service are as capable as he is, we have nothing to fear.”

Rory Conrad (Dunlap, Iowa, USA)

39. “I found your posting very interesting as military service was
something which I was always interested in. I think this was partly due to
the fact that I lived near an airforce base and have always had a love
for flying, technology, etc... In addition, via amateur radio, I met quite a few
military folks on the base, some of whom took the time to explain what
they actually did, show me around, etc... The more I saw, the more I
realized that there were a lot of jobs which I would probably, or could
probably be qualified to do. I realized that I couldn't be a pilot, but
why not work with communications, or the various computers? One of my
friends was basically a system administrator, he monitored a group of
systems and, if anything happened, restored them as quickly as possible.
In my mind, anyone with sufficient computer skill could have don his

Knowing that the military does not allow anyone with a disability to
join, I asked a friend of mine, an officer, if there was a way around
this. Perhaps some type of loophole I thought. Although his
responses were rather vague, he seemed to indicate that if one was
really good, extremely good in a specialized field, a waiver for
disability could be obtained. Unfortunately for me, that officer was
transferred to another base before I was old enough to start pursuing
how to go about this and I haven't been able to get any similar
information from anyone else since.

As far as discrimination goes, I am sure blind folks would be subjected
to a lot of it. Nevertheless, as you pointed out, it would be well
worth the opportunity to serve one's country. What are some other
thoughts on this list?”

Steven M. Sawszyn

**40. “The military sure provoked my son and I - his senior
year he got 5 military
scholarships - all that said they would give him a
vision waiver since he
didn’t want to be a pilot (Annapolis even sent down
someone to interview us
and PROMISED him a vision waiver). He has RP - and if right his vision was then 20/30. One week before
graduation he had his government physical - a Cuban doctor in Miami tested
his vision not even for
5 minutes and declared him legally blind! And this
young man had a 4.2 GPA,
was CO of his ROTC Unit with enough medals from
competitions that included 3
first place ribbons in Individual Drill (swinging a
12 lb rifle all around
and in the air) and enough other ribbons that the
whole left side of his
shirt was full (had to put a special backing 6"x6"
under his shirt so they
would hold) We had an inch thick stack of tests from
the Miami branch of the
Scheie Institute that gave ALL the info on his eyes -
and they all backed out
of the waivers and scholarships this young man had
busted his butt for four years so he could have a good education! And it was
too late to apply for
any other scholarships! Three guesses how he felt and
three more guesses what
I wanted to do! Bless his heart - he worked hard for
a year and with money
he saved and grants and loans went on to college and
will graduate with
honors next year with TWO majors. I thumb my nose at
the Military.... and
hope he takes his time paying back the federal
loans!!! (yeh - it makes me
grumpy - what can I say?)”

Darlene Bernard-Curl (RPlist)

**41. “FROM ME: This comes from the same list, in response to the above response.”

“I too would feel righteous indignation and total fury
at such a situation. Maybe because I'm not his mom,
I can see the blessing in what happened, as your son
managed to do. The blessing is, your son has managed
to make a wonderful thing out of a bad thing. Life
gave him a lemon and he made lemonade, lemon pie,
lemon cookies and everything else sweet. Graduating
with not one, but TWO majors? I'd bust my buttons
with pride if that were my son, just as I know you
are. And PTUI on the military that rejected him.
They didn't know what a good thing they had.”

Carolyn (Rplist, Clearwater, Florida, USA)

**42. “It scares me when we give so much deference to the Military. That's why we
put Japanese-Americans in prison camps during world war II.”

Patti Chang (Blindissues list)

**43. “I feel compelled to add my thoughts to this one.

When I turned 18 in the late '60s, I failed to register because I thought
I did not have to register because I was disabled. My disability at that
time was a hearing impairment which I was able to overcome to some degree
with a hearing aid. I finally went in about 2 months after my 18th
birthday and was subsequently given the highest rating (I guess it was
1A) which I thought was hilarious. Later they reduced my status to 1Y and
finally, after appealing to the board, 4F. I really didn't want to serve.
I'm glad I had a disability at that time preventing me from serving.

I was diagnosed at age 24 with Usher Syndrome (Retinitis Pigmentosa and
nerve deafness combined) and after going through a 10-year denial, dealt
with my legal blindness. If the political climate was different when I
was 18 and we weren't fighting someone else's war, I might have
considered the military as an option.

For the individual with RP who has been recruited by the Army and will be
going in June, I hope all goes well with you. (Response # 1) My guess is
that the RP has not progressed to a point where it's posing problems yet.
I've been lucky, I'm nearly 50 but still have some usable vision but of
course, I don't know for how much longer. Remember, I was diagnosed at 24
and didn't really come to grips with it till my mid to late 30s. I've
also encountered those who don't think I'm not really blind, because I
don't look blind and don't act blind, whatever that means. My concern for
the new RP recruit is that his superiors will not understand his
limitations and expect him to toe the mark like anyone else. I've
experienced, and still experience situations wherein people still don't
understand how to work with me and help me, even though they know I have
a serious vision impairment. Anyway, I wish that young man good luck,
show them what we're made of!

As for the individual with the MSW (response # 26), it looks like he was
blatantly discriminated against, assuming the armed services are not
allowed to discriminate on the basis of disability. Perhaps an EEO
complaint or grievance would be in order on that one? Sounds like it
turned out good for that person in the long run, being that he can charge
fees that allow him to make a decent livelihood.

Just my "shoot’n from the hip" reaction.”

Steven Cook (Tacoma WA)

**44. “One more thing on this subject, there are hundreds of blind, and other
disabled employees who work for the Defense Department. It seems to me
that the step between being a civilian employee and in the Military itself
is relatively small.

The civilian employees do the same kinds of things that people in uniform,
in support roles do, so competence isn't an issue.”

David Andrews (BlindLaw list, USA) >

**45. “If you have read, or if you were present and heard, the banquet address by Kenneth Jernigan called: "Blindness: is history against us", you will recall the name of Ziska. He was a highly regarded general who led his army in many great victories back around the seventeenth century. There is a statue of him in the main square in Prague. He was a blind man and, unless I am mistaken, Appius Claudius, the Roman senator, who performed in a similar role was blind. Now, the military today is much more complex and filled with innumerable roles that a blind, or otherwise disabled person, could fill. Interestingly, the examples from the past show the blind individual in the highest levels of command and leadership. I suspect that, even if the military unbends and recruits blind persons, they will probably recruit us for the specialized technical roles rather than the ones where we have, historically, demonstrated that we can perform at the highest level of leadership, strategy and command.”

James S. Nyman (Lincoln, Nebraska, USA)

**46. “In reading over the responses to the military thought-provoker, it strikes
me that many people may feel that going into the military means picking up
a gun and shooting at the enemy. This couldn't be further from the truth.
The military includes such things as radio communications, computers,
clerical jobs, legal work, custodial duties, and many other jobs that
blind people are perfectly qualified to do. Since I seem to be repeating
what many others have already said, let me simply address this final point
to those of you who firmly believe blind people will never get into the
military. I hate to burst your bubble, but blind individuals serving our
country is inevitable. Unless I am wrong and the military is above the
law, it cannot discriminate against a blind person if he or she is
qualified to do a job. It is only a matter of time before a blind person
attempts to serve in the military. I have no doubt the military will be
very resistant to this idea and it will make for interesting headlines.”

Ryan Osentowski (Lincoln, Nebraska, USA)

**47. “I feel the comment that sight impaired people are more likely
to make mistakes than sighted people is absurd. In my life as a visually
impaired person, I have encountered sighted people who have made more
mistakes than I have. It seems to me that the military, just like any
other place of employment, should be regulated by the Americans With
Disabilities Act, which means that they should be required to hire any
qualified visually impaired person.”

Abbie Johnson (Sheridan, Wyoming, USA)

**48. “Can I add one more piece of wood to the fire? I've personally observed
both sighted and blind individuals reactions to making mistakes and draw
this conclusion, however broad and general. When a sighted individual
makes a mistake and realizes it, the reaction is along the lines of "Big
deal, let's correct it and I'll endeavor to do better next time." When a
blind individual makes a mistake and realizes it, the reaction is along
the lines of "Whoa,! how did that happen? Man, I'm such a dummy, I'll
never get anywhere in life!”

Remember, this is just an observation and generalization, not documented
or anything. I'm suggesting that the sighted downplay most mistakes they
make and the blind sometimes beat themselves up when they make mistakes.”

Steven Cook (Tacoma, Washington, USA)

**49. “I think disable people would be better off putting their energies into
making society give them fuller opportunities to regular jobs. First things
first, both in terms of what disabled people should do for themselves and
what society can require from a group (i.e. being drafted) when it won't
give those people jobs.
I don't see that being a disabled person becoming a soldier during the
Vietnam War would have been good for the individual, the disabled community
or the country.
Working on issues such as this would be more advantageous to disabled


**50. “I am interested more about what is offered for younger persons with a
disability. I have a son who is nineteen years old and finished high school
with an " I.E.P." Diploma. The Navy was here and tested him. To my surprise
he passed, just barely. They suggested he loose twenty pounds or two inches
on his waist. Also to study a book to upgrade his scores. . He is a hard
worker and could do great in many jobs. Now he is a " film Transporter" for a
local hospital. I feel a military experience for him would be great and he
would be proud to wear a uniform of any branch.”

Lee A. Stone (Blindissues list, Texas)

**51. “I fully agree that we as a nation are losing mightily by the way we tend
to warehouse folks because of their disabilities instead of building on
their abilities. This is dramatically true in the case of the armed
forces where there are often as many in support capacities in war time as
there are those who will face fighting or war zone dangers.

I think the process of educating the able majority will be a long one and
that we're now entering into a period where perhaps many more voters will
be receptive to listening. This is so because we like many modern
advanced nations now have an aging population where disabilities are bound
to be more numerous and where the funding for such things as Social
Security and Medicare will become much tighter. So I think if we keep
recommending that all those with disabilities be considered for our
abilities in spite of our infirmities that we may have some more receptive
and willing mainstream citizens.”

Will Smith (Blindissues list)

**52. “I find myself heaving a sigh of relief that I'm too old to be drafted. It's
all well and good to expand opportunities for the disabled. The military is
a large employer, and I'm sure there would be appropriate jobs for blind
people if they would let us in. However, we'd then be subject to the draft
if there were a declared war of any magnitude. Do we fight to the death,
literally, for equality? I don't know, and, like I said, I'm glad I'm too

Abby and Mellow Yellow Mills (Blindissues list)

**53. “I remember reading that in the WWII draft anyone was
accepted into the army if he had "an arm and a leg."
Nothing about eyes.”

Carolyn Gold (RPlist,

Clearwater, Florida, USA)

54. “My Dad had Infantile Polio. Right arm was not functional except for holding
something down with his paralyzed fist. He, also, had a shorter right leg due
to the effects from the polio on his right hip. WWII, Dad practically begged to
be admitted and be put into anything that he could do - such as administrative
work...He was told that he was not in a desired condition (physical) to be

So that post isn’t true in this case. (See following quote)

"... Remember reading that in the WWII draft anyone was accepted into the army
if he had "an arm and a leg." "Nothing about eyes."

Haugen (RPlist)

**55. “I don't know about that.. My dad had RP and was even working but, he was
rejected for WWII draft because of his eyes.”

John A. Dixon (RPlist)

**56. “I would tend to believe there are many persons with a "
hidden" disability currently in the military or those who have retired
because of a disability. In years past the Army in particular as well as the
Marines used to take in the " problems" sentenced by the courts to do
military service and one was a person whom I knew. He never finished school
in the 60's and somehow came back to a hometown with a different attitude and it was there that he finished high school. It is not for everyone, but I
do believe the choice should be if one wants to enlist then the option
should be there.”

Lee A. Stone (Blindissues list, Texas, USA)

**57. "As for the military, I have to agree that there is some social benefit to
some youngsters in a period of national service, but I cannot agree that
it comes from the training in weapons handling, nor in the participation
in the organized fear mongering that involves planning for all possible
vicious enemy attacks from all conceivable enemies. A humane national
service could do a better job at benefiting the lives of youngsters if it
made that its goal, instead of arriving at it as an unintended by-product
of training for conquest, destruction, and violent control. The Peace
Corps is just one example of such a possible national service, but of
course it lacks the huge demand for military hardware and weapons research
that the military carries with it, so it will never do as a replacement
for the latter. These are some of the reasons why I cannot get excited about blind folks
serving in the military.”

“From 1969 to 1994 I was a blind professor at the University of Kansas. One
of my graduate students (a sighted person) became an Army psychologist
after getting his degree, and worked at Walter Reed in DC, where he became
friendly with his superior officer, an MD, who appeared to have a serious
visual problem. He did not drive, had great difficulty reading,
recognizing people, stumbled into things, and the like.
Mark, my former student, told the man about me, and the man and his wife
actually flew out to Kansas from Washington to meet with me and get my
advice about what he should do.
I gave him my best advice, which was something like -- "you had better
start learning a little bit about alternative techniques for doing thins.
It is not necessary to be a danger to yourself and others -- use a cane,
at least; there is nothing to be ashamed of in doing that. Then there are
low vision aids that might help the reading problem, you could even learn
Braille. Shape up -- life is not over -- there is a lot you can do for
yourself that you are not doing!"
The man was grateful at first, but then became sad, remained silent for a
long time, and finally admitted that my advice was wonderful advice for
somebody else, but he was a Captain in the Army, and if anybody learned
that he had a visual impairment he would be mustered out on a medical
discharge quicker than you could shake a stick.
He was not willing to risk his army career by acknowledging his need to
learn to be blind.

I wonder how many other members of the armed forces are in a similar
position? That is pretty scary to think about.

I regard myself as a patriotic American too, but am not an enthusiastic
supporter of the military war machine. I think everybody should refuse
service and turn to something constructive instead.”

Regards Chuck Hallendeck (Blindissues list)

**58. “It never ceases to amaze me that so many blind people still
believe that a person who has sight automatically can do a
job better than a blind person. Just stop and think for a
moment about some of the sighted people you know. How many
of them would you like to trust with your life? How many
would you believe could make quick accurate decisions that
might hold the fait of the world in their hands? Probably
not a whole lot, unless you know smarter people than I do.
I know many blind people who I wouldn't trust to tie their
own shoe-laces, but also the same for some of the sighted
people I know. My point is that the amount of sight isn't
nearly as important as the level of training, dedication,
intelligence, commitment and willingness to work hard.
There are many blind people who I would rather trust my
life to than some sighted people.”

Elaine Morgan (Texas, USA)

Visit My WebPages

The Blind Leading the Blind

Where the Blind Help Each Other

**59. “FROM ME: I wrote this gentleman and asked.

“Currently we have some blind people working as telephonists or radio
operators in the Military and possibly also in computer programming. I have
no idea what feelings about greater involvement would be. I haven't given
this much thought. I suppose I'm a bit anti. Here in Africa there are so
many wars and squabbles and faction fights and political unrest’s, that I
think most of us are a bit sick of matters military. I rather suspect that
most blind people are quietly thankful that nobody has given thought to
conscripting or employing blind people.

Sorry, I don't think this is very helpful, but I'm a bit fed-up with
violence, etc. And with our coming elections next month, I'm expecting an

Christo de Klerk (Alberton, South Africa)

**60. “Excellent conversation. I admit there have been many times I have
let myself be driven nuts by topics of 'We are all the same'.
I'm Ex-Navy, Operations Specialist. This was a time frame for me of
good vision. I served 6 years solely on War Ships.
About 12 years ago I had a stroke that resulted in damage to my
optical nerve. The result is Cortical Blindness.
Its is probably easier for me to have the views I do because I
did have good vision up until I was 30. Then in the blink of an Eye....
That is my brief Intro, Hi.

Service the military: Hard to imagine for a person who is blind or
VI who cannot correct the vision to 20/20. I can only comment on the
branch I was in, the Navy, and only on a small segment of the entire
Navy. The majority of my time was in Battle Group Alpha that is
homeported out of Yokoska, Japan.

Going back to my memories and playing what-if I was blind or
uncorrectable legally blind while I served, their is no way a person
could perform the job of an OS. Might there be other jobs/rates a
person who is blind could perform in the Navy?
Probably, but I would imagine they would not be combat roles.
Think about this. The basics are certainly about team work, confidence
in the ability of those you serve with. It is 1 thing to practice in
simulators and quite another in real life.

Thanks for the topic.”

Blake Scruggs (Blindissues list, Houston, Texas, USA)

**61. “When I was a young man I wanted more than anything to go to West Point. I
later felt that to serve my country I could perform tasks not requiring
violence. Over the years as a medical social worker I have worked with so
who had been physically disabled while in the military.”

David Stayer (my address is
2704 Beach Drive
Merrick, New York, 11566-4507
USA, phone 516-868-8718
fax 516-868-9076)

**62. “I just wanted to express a couple of thoughts on this one. The military has
always been the slowest element of society to change. Oh yes they are
embracing the benefits of computer and laser technology, but this is not
what it appears to be on the surface. The military mind set has for many
years been to either reject anything new, until the other side is aiming it
at you on the battle field, or create a technology that is so advanced and
complex that your enemy is simply overwhelmed by it. Of course just as
often your own personnel are overwhelmed by it as well, in regard to
managing it to its fullest potential. The military is designed to work with
its personnel in one systematic manner, and those that do not or cannot be
made to fit relatively closely to the desired model are not likely to be
accepted or retained. Those that bring forward new ideas can and often do
face serious damage to their military careers, especially if such ideas
strongly break with long standing paradigms. Many of the early military
aviators were harshly criticized and had their careers brought to a
screeching halt for proposing that airplanes could be used for more than
observation and delivering messages. At Pearl Harbor, the Japanese attack
force was detected by a new radar system long before any of the planes were
near the harbor, and when this was reported, it was assumed that the
equipment wasn't working properly. Also the airplanes stationed at Pearl
Harbor where placed out in the middle of the field to protect them from an
attack on the ground, and no thought was given to the possibility of an air
attack. Well a lot of important lessons were learned from this
experience, but the basic system for exploring and understanding new ideas
hasn't changed. Blind people in the military? Well it could happen, but
not soon. Of course, should the military decide to accept us, well they
would undoubtedly perceive our needs as being very complex, and requiring very
complex solutions. Can you imagine a white cane designed by the military?
If this is what we truly want, then we are going to have to prove our worth
from somewhere outside the military system. I am not sure I know how we
would go about doing this, and I am not sure enough of us would really want
to do it. Maybe by the time the military decides to let us in, there won't
be a real need for the military anyway.”

Jeff Altman (Lincoln, Nebraska, USA, )

**63. “I first of all thank you for your very informative site for discussions on
issues related to blindness.

I was rather intrigued about this topic and can offer a unique
perspective. A little background might be necessary.
I have spent a lot of years in the movement to fight for equality for
members of oppressed communities which the blind can and should be
included. Some of the responses have drawn parallels between women in the
military as well as gays. As a fighter for equal rights for all among the
oppressed it is, I believe, a different question when it comes to the
military. It is of a political nature that my opinion is based. Although
I am apposed to unequal treatment of the blind in any aspect of society, I
also happen to appose any use of men and women in the service of those who
would launch wars on those not unlike ourselves in other countries around
the world. They are rich men's wars and ever since the American Civil War
they always have been. For this very fundamental reason I cannot, in good
conscience, demand a place for any brothers or sisters to become members of
this government's killing machine. I remain resolute, however, that if the
blind are ever drafted or volunteered into military service they should not
be discriminated against on the basis of their visual acuity. So much for
my thoughts on the matter.”

Maurice Peret (Rehabilitation Instructor,
Blind Industries and Services of Maryland,
Blind Industries and Services of Maryland
2901 Strickland Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21223 USA )

**64. "This is to share with you all that the Israel's Defense Forces (IDF)
started recruiting a few years ago totally blind and low vision
youngsters. In Israel military service is obligatory to all (male and
female between the ages 18-21. Three years for male and 18 months
service for female).
However, the blind youngster are recruited as volunteers although they
are in military uniform and obliged to all the same rules, restrictions
and salary. However, IDF is keeping blind and vi soldiers under
"volunteers" category as they wish to protect itself from legally

So far over 25 high-school graduates B and VI were recruited for full
term and placed in jobs such as computer programmers, intelligence work,
clerical jobs, technical jobs, sound studios of the army's radio station
and various other relevant jobs.
Most youngsters who were recruited were very pleased to be treated like
the general young population doing the military service which aside of
offering a great experience it also a great transition from dependency
as a child to adulthood and is an excellent preparation for employment.”

Nurit Neustadt-Noy

Consultation and Rehabilitation Services

for Blind and Visually Impaired Persons

Netaim 76870, Israel

Fax # 972-3- 966-8337

Phone # 972-3-966-4567


**65. "When I was younger and in better shape, I tried to get in the army. I have always been a blind guy, and they wanted no part
of me. I had a good electronics background for the day and for my age, and I was a pretty good mechanic with industrial
school training.

Today things are different, more jobs, better equipment, most of which is computer driven, and there are still the mechanical
things. There is no reason we can't serve in non combatant positions. There wasn’t then either. If there is anything
I can do to help, call me at 520-624-7208 or post some thing here, or e-mail me at”

Lee Kerr (USA)

**66. “I believe it is unfortunate that blind and visually impaired people are
not permitted to serve in the military in this country. The argument
could be said that, because blind people would be unable to do
many things which military service requires like handling a machine
gun or flying military aircraft, we should be excluded from the
armed services. It is interesting that, despite the fact the blind
aren't allowed in the military, we are required (at least the men are
required) to register for the draft when we turn eighteen. I believe
blind people could serve in the military in areas such as
intelligence or the design of weapons and other war materials. I
should say I have never had an interest to join the military and
couldn't imagine myself doing so. But I do think we should be able
to if we want.

In Israel, a country where all men and women are drafted and
expected to serve, there is actually a small group of people with
disabilities. They aren't soldiers but they perform service projects
for the army and do other noncombatant activities. In Israel, as
here, there are laws exempting disabled people from military
service. But because of that country's historic and political
situation, there is real pressure and incentive to join the military. I
believe our military, which is the largest in the world, should allow
blind and disabled people into noncombatant jobs in its services.
Thanks for an interesting PROVOKER.”

Michael Alvarez (Monmouth,
Oregon USA)

**67. Is this true about rp and the military? I tried to enlist right after high school back in 1999 and the recruiter said that they could not except me because of that. Being in the military was always a dream of mine, I even wrote a letter to the marines when I was twelve.