KATHLEEN CARPENTER, who was assistant secretary of defense for equal opportunity in the Carter administration, recently said that one of the problems of women in the service is "male NCOs simply do not feel comfortable performing their traditions, informal sex education role with the female troops as they do with the men." I must say that the male NCOs I have known have not seemed unduly reluctant to play an informal sex education role with females. But I am curious as to what Ms. Carpenter thinks that role has been with male recruits. As a former private in the infantry, the only guidance in such matters I can recall having gotten from the NCOs consisted of ribald remarks uttered after the veneral disease movies or during a monthly ritual known as Short Arm Inspection. always find it helpful to recall the latter experience for a moment or two when I have begun to be carried away by thoughts of man's essential nobility and higher destiny.

What worries me most about this admiistration is Ronald Reagan's ignorance of the issues and David Stockman's ignorance of the poor.

Reagan's hasty approval of the administration's initial Social Security proposal proved that he had not thought out for himself the number one domestic problem -- what to do about the government's income maintenance programs -- he will face as president. He failed to recognize both the policy and the political errors in the proposal.

If he thought seriously about policy, he would have known that across-the-board reductions adversely affecting the poor were the wrong answer. If he thought about politics, he would have realized that people have to be educated in the issues before they can understand and accept reform.

On "Meet the Press" not long ago, Stockman said in defense of his opposition to government-supported legal services for the poor, "Obviously there are a lot of ways to ensure that lower-income people have access to the legal advice or service they need. Many county bar associations provide that." that reminds me of a remark then-rep. Otis Pike once made about the combat readiness of our military resrves: "There may be a Reserve or National Guard unit somewhere that is fit and ready to fight, but I have never heard of it."

I've practiced law, written about law and known hundreds of lawyers, and I have never heard of a county bar association providing adequate legal service for the poor. Stockman doesn't know what he is talking about. Unfortunately, his awareness of what life is really like for the down and out is typical of the entire administration.

Since I have chided Alexander Haig, Richard Pipes and their associates for overplaying the menace of Soviet imperialism, it is only fair that I report to you the evidence reinforcing their concerns. The Soviets do appear to be up to something in Equatorial Guinea. God knows why anyone would want to be up to anything in Equatorial Guinea, but the Russian embassy there has a staff of 195, or, according to The London Observer, one for every 2,000 Equatorial Guineans. They could stage their own coup.

Here's another reason why working for the government can induce feelings of quiet desperation, Raul de Armas, an agent of the Internal Revenue Service, was hot on the trail of some crucial evidence and needed to make a rush trip from Miami to Spain. Even in the heat of pursuit, however, he was prudent enough to compare air fares and get the first flight that was not only the fastest but also the cheapest -- $791 on Iberian Airlines -- which saved the government $1,000 since other airlines were charging $1,800 for the same trip. He got the evidence, but he also got a bill for $791 from the government. It seems that the General Accounting Office, citing U.S. Government Travel Handbook Regulation 1RM 1746-413.3, said that he should have flown on an American carrier even though it was slower and cost more.

Thomas melady has been nominated to be the Department of Education's assistant secretary for postsecondary education. Melady has recently been president of Sacred Heart Univeristy. But from 1969 to 1972 he was u.s. ambassador to Burundi, a tiny Central African nation. There he was faced with a ticklish problem.

Burundi has a history of savage tribal disputes between the Tutsi and the Hutu. The Tutsi, while making up only 15 percent of the population, utterly dominate the Hutu. Burundi's Tutsi-controlled government worried that America would side with the oppressed Hutu. Melady, however, assured them no such thing would happen.

In May 1972, Burundi was plunged into a frenzy of killing. The Tutsi slaughtered more than 250,000 Hutu men, women and children. When Tutsi army units ran out of ammunition they used hammes and nails to continue the massacre. Melady was fully aware of what was happening -- truckloads of corpses passed the embassy every night.

Meladyhs reaction? He went out of his way to prevent U.S. pressure from being brought to bear against his Tutsi "clients." He cabled sanitized reports of the situation back home. He then sent the Tutsi government a bland letter saying American officials were "concerned with their difficulties." On May 25 -- when Hutu were being slaughtered at the rate of 1,000 a day -- Melady left for a new assignment in Uganda. He never spoke out on the horror.

This man of conscience is also, the White House said in announcing his nomination, a member of the boards of directors of the National Conference of Christians and Jews and the International League of Human Rights.

The legal profession continues to provide moral leadership for us all. Here's a roundup of recent reports:

Last year, an American Bar Association panel revising the profession's code of ethics announceda proposal to require pro bono work as part of the ethical responsibility of every lawyer. The reaction has been so negative, according to the lawyer who heads the panel, that the proposal has been eliminated from the draft code about to be released.

Federal appellate judges -- secure in their tenure and steadfast in their devotion to hunting, fishing and golf -- are notorious for the time they take to dispose of cases. The slowest court of them all is the D.C. Circuit, where it takes a minimun of six months for the court to produce opinions. Recently Judge Edward A. Tamm of that court suggested a statute that would deny salary to any federal judge who failed to dispose of a case within 60 days after the date of the hearing. Tamm estimates the chances for passage as "zero."

The Court of Claims recently awarded Arthur Lazarus Jr. and two other Washington lawyers a fee of $10.6 million for their work in obtaining $106 million for eight Siousx tribes. Lazarus may have done enough work to justify his fee, but when he was asked how much time he and his colleagues had spent on the case, he replied that he did not have the "slightest idea," explaining, "The court did not ask for that information and we did not develop it."

The Sioux aren't the only clients reaching for their wallets. Lee Iacocca told Chrysler's annual meeting that the company paid $21.6 million in legal fees last year. So stop blaming Toyota and Datsun or everything. The real villain may be Sullivan & Cromwell.

The profession's trend toward specialization continues. Stephen Rosen, for example, is advertising in the District Lawyer for "Stairway Fall Accidents" and "Slip and Fall Cases."