Fort Hood, Texas

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Fraternization is not Matter of Inequality

Editor’s note: This article ran in Tracks and Halftracks, Jan. 25, 1951.

An indignant your collegian complained about the "dual system of rank" in the Army in a letter to Lt. Gen. LeRoy Lutes, commanding general of Fourth Army.

Because of the young man's apparent "prejudice or complete lack of understanding of the reasons behind the separation of officer and men." General Lutes took time out to answer the letter.

Recalling that he had started in the service as a private in 1906 and was not a graduate of the Military Academy, the Fourth Army commanding general said, "I feel I can answer your letter."

"In the first place," General Lutes' reply read, "the reason that officers and enlisted personnel are not authorized to fraternize is not a social one. Nor is it any inequality or difference between them as men.

"The reason is a very simple one, i.e., that the officer plays no favorites … A commander must be impartial when ordering men to perform duty."

The reply went on to explain that it is impossible for an officer and non-commissioned officer to closely associate with some than with others — "at the expense of efficiency in times of extreme emergency."

"It is true that some officers may not live up to these standards properly, but the forgoing is the fundamental reason behind the separation.

"The thought may occur to you as to why so much emphasis is put on discipline. Any Army of any nationality is designed to do an abnormal thing, i.e., fight wars. Warfare is an abnormal way of life.

"It is most unfortunate that the human race has not evolved to the point where it no longer resorts to warfare. Such is not the case.

"As long as families of the people grouped together as nations feel the necessity to have Armed Forces to protect them, then armies will have to exit.

"Since they have to exit, the human beings in these armies must be organized and trained differently from normal ways of life.

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