The June 4 editorial " 'Team Jesus Christ' " characterized reports of the religious climate at the Air Force Academy as "unsettling." If the environment is substantially as represented, "outrageous," not "unsettling," is the appropriate verdict.
During World War II the Air Force was part of the Army, but the Army's aviation cadet program was modeled on West Point's. The atmosphere in that program and at the air fields at which I was later stationed was nonsectarian. The commanding officer would advise us as to where we could find the Protestant, Catholic or Jewish chaplains. Period. It was up to each man whether to attend religious services, and no one took notes.
In 1944-45, I flew 35 missions in a B-17 over Germany with the Eighth Air Force. Our crew had two Jewish officers -- myself, navigator, and Lt. Morton Abrams, pilot.
The environment at the Air Force Academy is shocking, especially given how much religious tolerance has increased in the past 60 years. As the editorial also observed, the goings-on there are not only bigoted but also stupid in an era in which we have many more religions well represented in our country. Surely, we do not want to discourage Americans of all creeds and those unaffiliated from becoming Air Force officers.
The top brass responsible for this policy and any cadets who enthusiastically carried it out should be told, as we used to say, to "shape up or ship out."
ROBERT L. STEINER