This former nuclear bomber (I spent four years as a weapon systems officer in an F-4 Phantom in Germany) must dissent from The Post's distinguished-flying citation for the mayor {"Capt. Barry's Bombardiers," editorial, Aug. 3}.

While the gypsy moth infestation may have been ameliorated in some areas, it was much worse in my neighborhood after the city's aerial spraying. Last year's merely serious infestation turned virulent this year.

At its height, I removed a quart of caterpillars per day, per tree (and missed many more), from my burlap traps on the stately 60-foot willow oaks that make Tennyson Street NW one of the most attractive streets in the city. At night, the sound of thousands of caterpillars chewing -- and their droppings raining down -- is chilling. Now that the adults have hatched, and the eggs for next year's infestation have been laid (they dot the bark all the way up), the formerly dense foliage of the trees is like a tattered lace handkerchief.

The gypsy moths seem to be highly localized; there are none only a block or two away. They could be extirpated by spray trucks using a more effective chemical -- at a fraction of the cost to the city of removing the dead stumps of the formerly magnificent arbor, which will line my street after another summer of this devastation. My neighbors and I tried to employ private contractors to spray at our expense, but they couldn't be lured away from their "regular" customers during the crucial weeks. MICHAEL B. JENNISON Washington