Weight rules are inadequate for measuring troops; promoting geothermal power

Monday, February 7, 2011; 6:03 PM

Military weight standards

As a registered dietitian, I can assure you that it is very difficult for many people to meet the military weight standards ["Battle of the Bulge," Feb. 1]. Many people have abdominal hernias, which can be caused by a congenital defect in the abdominal wall, or excaberated by childbirth or other trauma.

It's unfortunate that so many trained soldiers are being separated from the service because the military branches are using these outdated measures to evaluate physical stamina.

Marian McLaughlin


I was one of those 24,000 Army personnel discharged between 1992 and 2007 for failure to comply with weight standards.

I've been overweight most of my life, but I did all those things mentioned in the article (laxatives, near-starvation) to keep and/or get my weight down, especially when a weigh-in was forthcoming. This was in addition to running almost FIVE miles a day!

As was mentioned in the article, there really needs to be an alternative to the "tape test." The tape test works best if you have a huge neck and a small to medium waist. If you have a small to medium neck and a large waist, you're history. And the real kicker is, a lot of quality people are discharged, when their only problem is not being supermodel rail-thin.

Timothy E. Parker Centreville

The energy tax credit

As an international energy consultant, I found "Going geothermal all the way" [Feb. 1] informative. I knew geothermal heating and cooling was very attractive, but I never have seen real numbers.

This raises the policy issue as to why taxpayer money is being used to subsidize such attractive technology. A more rational and cheaper approach would be to change building codes to encourage geothermal in new construction and some property tax abatement to reflect the added property value of the geothermal system.

Robert E. Batt


© 2011 The Washington Post Company