To the editor:
I was very saddened to read of the circumstances surrounding the loss of Capt. Michael McCaddon.
Unfortunately, this situation is all too familiar to me dating back to my experiences in the military.
In the late 1960s, I was a chaplain and oral surgeon assigned to the 475th Tactical Fighter Wing.
Many service personnel confided in me their personal and emotional problems, which they desired to keep hidden from the military to protect their careers. As chaplain, they knew that I could not divulge their personal issues without permission.
An elaborate subterfuge was developed to treat these individuals. Utilizing a benign diagnosis such as chronic sinusitis, they were "medevaced" to a hospital stateside near their homes to get the emotional and psychological treatment necessary.
The medical diagnosis listed on the hospital cover sheet was benign and did not impact their careers.
This was the medical equivalent of "don't ask, don't tell."
I think that the time has come to face the issues directly and address the emotional and psychological needs of our military personnel.
I wholeheartedly support Mrs. McCaddon in her efforts to set the record straight. She unfortunately has fallen victim to a military establishment that views psychological problems as a character flaw impacting the future military careers.
In this enlightened age, we can do better.
Past Chaplain, U.S. Air Force