Donald R. Jordan, Pioneer in Army automation and computer systems.

October 30, 2000

At a NDIA luncheon Gen. Shinseki is quoted as saying, " I had no idea retired Rangers were so computer literate." I personally found this rather degrading and offensive.

While many who are concerned over his Black Beret decree are not rangers I would assume he lumps us in his comment. To which I would ask the General just who the heck does he think brought the Army to its current level of technology - Bill Gates? I was one of what I would consider pioneers in the logistics field who cut our teeth on visa record cards, IBM punch cards, Fridden punch tape machines, Boroughs banking machines adapted for posting logistics records, teletype machines, etc., before the "real" computers came along. We took this type technology into the early phases of Vietnam.

It was this type of early technology that served as the gateway to current high tech systems used by the military. So when he makes a comment as he did, rather meant in jest or not, it leaves another bitter taste in many mouths. I sincerely hope this is not the way the total current leadership of the military views those of us who have gone before. "So soon they forget," that we were the pathfinders and quite honestly we were the "good people" those who aspired to flag rank surrounded themselves with on the way up. Has the General practiced that old adage of "open mouth, insert foot?" I am beginning to think so.

Donald R. Jordan