Retired Servicemembers Representing the Spectrum of Ranks Speak Out Against Smear Campaign

The following letter was sent to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation by a recently retired multiple-star Admiral or General in the United States Armed Forces (name withheld)

Mikey ~

I have watched the recent vicious and vindictive dialog regarding you personally, and more generally, throttling your and MRFF’s communication with the Pentagon, with much incredulity. As a retired, multiple-star, senior officer (General or Admiral) you know that I was asked by the Chief of Staff of my military Service (a 4 star General or Admiral and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) to be my Service’s direct day-to-day interface with you. During those three years, and specifically because of that relationship, my Service avoided countless (I believe in excess of 3 dozen) events of potential Constitutional breaches of religious civil rights – which we were able to resolve quickly, and quietly. Mikey, when you revealed these potential abuses by officials in my armed forces Service, I contacted the Command Section of the responsible agency (usually 3-star Generals or Admirals) who took actions to fix the situation. Many times that “fix action” was accomplished in hours….not weeks. As a result we were able to avoid/fix situations which could potentially have been seriously detrimental to military good order and discipline, ensure we were in compliance with the oaths we all swore to protect and defend the United States Constitution, and avoid what would have otherwise clearly been negative media exposure.

It was the continuing relationship between you & me (thus, my branch of the armed forces) that precluded embarrassing situations because, in many cases, we could quickly implement fix actions to the problem MRFF first identified and swiftly brought to our attention. Further, as a direct result of this relationship, we had military Service-wide policies written/documented for our entire Service to follow!!

I’m stupefied by suggestions of severing a relationship which worked so well for my Service. As you know, we were not able to fix everything MRFF identified…but the most senior DoD leadership was sensitized to ensuring we were being true to…”support and defend the Constitution of the United States” which every officer of the US Armed Forces swears as an oath. I’d be glad to discuss this with mutually-approved, and appropriately high-level, decision makers….to convince them I’m not a ghost manufactured by MRFF.

It was an honor to help my branch of the Armed Forces and to be your General Officer or Admiral contact in my armed forces Service branch.

(Recently retired General’s or Admiral’s name, rank and Pentagon title and position all withheld)

The following letter was sent by a Vietnam veteran and retired Airman

The Honorable Chuck Hagel
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000

Dear Secretary Hagel,

First, I want to congratulate you on becoming the Secretary of Defense. I’m sure, as a Viet Nam veteran, you will do honor to your new job and our country.

I am also a Viet Nam veteran, as a member of the US Air Force serving at Pleiku Air Base from December 1967 to December 1968. What I want to write you about is how I came to volunteer for Viet Nam service.

After Basic and Tech School I was sent to my first duty station at Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, MS, in 1967. I was working in the Base Equipment Management Office. I enjoyed the base and being a military member. In the office that I worked the lower enlisted personnel came under a staff sergeant who assigned the various duties for cleaning and maintaining the work space. We would rotate these duties. On a number of occasions he asked me to come to services at his Baptist church. I told him I was Jewish, went to services every Friday at the local Reform Congregation and declined his invitation every time. Then one day he came to me and assigned me to clean the office latrine. I did not think about it until he came into the latrine while I was working and told me that I would be assigned permanently to clean the latrine unless I came to church services with him. Again I told him no. After the harassment by this staff sergeant I went to the base personnel office and volunteered for Viet Nam.

I am sharing this experience because I have joined and support the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) in their work to remove extreme religious activities from our military establishment. Mikey Weinstein’s work is vitally important to improve the morale of military members who are being harassed as I was, and probably worse from what I hear and read. The only purpose for religion in the military is to support and console, if necessary. There is no place for harassment and proselytizing, especially by superiors upon subordinates. Please give Mikey Weinstein and MRFF a chance to protect and preserve the integrity of our service members.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Perry S. Levin

Share this page:

Commenter Account Access

  • Register for a commenter account
    (Not required to post comments, but will save you time if you're a regular commenter)
  • Log in using your existing account
  • Click here to edit your profile and change your password
  • All comments are subject to our Terms of Use

No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this article!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *