Letters To The Editor

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 Welcome Back
I gave up my subscription in the recent past and felt like firing three volleys and sounding taps. Some difference now.  Opening up the Winter 2008 issue was like answering the front door and seeing a long lost friend standing there, smiling. 
—Dale N. Davis
Portales, NM
 
As one who grew up reading the white hardbound American Heritage and was a subscriber for more than 25 years, I mourned the cessation of the publication earlier this year. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to go through the mail and see my dear old friend!  
—Donald Atkinson, M.D. 
Sewickley, PA
 
Women Warriors
As a female war veteran, I was enraged when I read your article, “Women at War.” You need to go reread your history books if you believe that this is the FIRST time women have fought alongside their male counterparts! 
I was involved in my first military conflict in 1983 as part of Operation Silver Eagle in Grenada. This was no rear detachment; I stood at parade rest on the airport runway, right along with the men of my unit. Eight years later I was recalled to active duty for the sole purpose of being sent to Desert Shield and Storm. We received live fire just like the men. Admittedly there are more women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan now than ever before, but to say that they are the “first” is not only insulting to those of us who have served, it is also blinding the American public to the fact that women who have served have a more difficult time receiving veteran benefits because the government wants to label all of us as non-combatants.
 —Nakima Redfox Geimausaddle
Walters, OK
 
Being a retired Navy helicopter pilot and having a wife getting ready to deploy to Iraq, the article “Women At War” caught my immediate attention. Unfortunately, the author did not fact-check the aerodynamics of powered or unpowered helicopter flight. The collective is not lowered to slow the rotor blades, in fact, just the opposite. The collective is lowered in unpowered flight to maintain or increase rotor speed.  
—Michael Connelly 
Jacksonville Beach, FL
 
Editor’s note: The writer is correct. The point of autorotation is exactly to keep the rotor speed up so that the rate of descent of the helicopter in powerless flight can be controlled by trading energy in the rotor’s speed for reduced rate of decent.  Keeping the rotor speed up as the powerless helo descends allows the pilot to use the energy in that rotor speed by increasing the pitch and slowing the rate of descent, thus 
permitting a controlled landing.
 
 
Well, shouldn’t we be proud of ourselves! Now mothers, daughters, wives, and sisters can be missed, maimed, or killed right along with their male counterparts. Congratulations America, we’ve trashed over 200 years of our culture, traditions, and standards. We have more than enough service-aged males available to defend the country. 
—A.N. Gandia
Freedom, NH
 
It is only a logical progression to involve women in combat given the capital-intensive warfare that typifies the American style of waging war. Women in combat are especially necessary in this global war on terror. Islam’s Achilles’ heel is its abysmal treatment of women. Nothing will better exploit that weakness than well-trained, well-armed women. These women are not showcase soldiers, but highly motivated combatants—no veils, sans genital mutilation, without the escort of husband or male relatives. Women carrying firearms represent the ultimate expression of empowerment, and that will have a devastating impact on our enemies. 
—Eugene P. Podrazik, M.D. 
Casper, WY
 
History Matters 
I completely agree with David McCullough in “Perspectives” that we, as a nation, must know where have been that we may know and map the route where we are going. Our youth need this magazine to a great degree. 
—Ernest J. Gardner
Boiceville, NY
 
I was devouring and hugely enjoying the Winter 2008 edition of American Heritage when I discovered in “Perspectives” by David McCullough that you misidentified Hillsdale College as being located in Phoenix, Arizona, not in Hillsdale, Michigan.  We in Michigan are tremendously proud of the institution, both for the quality of education it provides and because it accepts NO federal funding.  
—Ruth Foust Wayer
Big Rapids, MI
 
Editor’s note: Yes. The speech was given in Phoenix, Arizona, organized by Hillsdale College, Michigan.
 
What Does It Take to Get a Cup of Joe Around Here? 
In connection with your History News article, “Strong Enough to Float an Iron Wedge,” I thought you might be interested to know that coffee was so important in the Civil War that a Sharps Rifle was issued with a coffee grinder in the buttstock. These are called “Coffee Mill Sharps.” The story was that the soldiers used their rifle butts to smash coffee beans before brewing and thus in some cases, damaged their rifles.  
—Rich Scudero
Putnam Valley, NY
 
Civil War Terrorist or Hero?