Thursday, 22 July 2004

Pros and Cons of a Career in the US Military


From the New Yorker :
For years, the military has offered its recruits free tuition, specialized training, and a host of other benefits to compensate for the tremendous sacrifices they are called upon to make. Lately, many of them have been taking advantage of another perk: free cosmetic surgery.

“Anyone wearing a uniform is eligible,” Dr. Bob Lyons, the chief of plastic surgery at Brooke Army Medical Center, said recently, in his office in San Antonio. It is true: personnel in all four branches of the military and members of their immediate families can get face-lifts, nose jobs, breast enlargements, liposuction, or any other kind of elective cosmetic alteration, at taxpayer expense. (For breast enlargements, patients must supply their own implants.) There is no limit on the number of cosmetic surgeries one soldier can have, although, Lyons said, “we don’t do extreme makeovers in the military.”
Janis Garcia, a former lieutenant commander and jag attorney in the Navy, who is married to a retired Navy fighter pilot, says she grew up hating the way she looked. “I wouldn’t even smile in my own wedding pictures.” She checked in to the Naval Medical Center in San Diego for a nose job, a chin realignment, and a jaw reconstruction, free of charge. She also had her teeth straightened. “It changed my appearance drastically, and I became a more confident person,” she said. “It literally changed the direction of my life.” The doctors told her the work she had done would have cost her nearly a hundred thousand dollars.
The Army’s rationale is that, as a spokeswoman said, “the surgeons have to have someone to practice on.” “The benefit of offering elective cosmetic surgery to soldiers is more for the surgeon than for the patient,” Lyons said. “If there’s a happy soldier or sailor at the end of that operation, that’s an added benefit, but that’s not the reason we do it. We do it to maintain our skills”—skills that are critical, he added, when it comes to doing reconstructive surgery on soldiers who have been wounded.


From The Australian :
US food technologists have invented dried rations that a soldier can rehydrate by using dirty water or even his own urine, the British weekly New Scientist reports.

The ration is surrounded by a plastic membrane made of a nanofibre that, according to its inventors, can filter out 99.9 per cent of microbes and the most harmful toxic compounds, allowing only clean water to get to the preserved food.

So far, only one prototype - chicken and rice - has been tested, but the menu will be expanded to incorporate other down-home favourites if the concept proves popular.

The inventors are the Combat Feeding Directorate, part of the US Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Massachusetts.

Two years ago, their men and women came up with an "indestructible sandwich" that could stay fresh for three years.
I was under the impression that this type of sandwich had been invented by British Rail at their culinary training laboratories restaurant at Crewe some time in the 50's... and that specimens of the original batch are still being served on Australian Country trains. They were last time I travelled by rail, anyway.

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