DEAR ABBY: Regarding the mother of the twins who have a current fascination for the U.S. military, I must reply. As a veteran of the U.S. Air Force (1974-84), I am deeply grateful for the opportunities, training and mentoring I received under the great NCOs and officers I served with. Lessons they taught me have directly contributed to the success I enjoy today as a manager in a Fortune 500 company. Their leadership, professionalism and pride in a job well done have been examples I will follow for the rest of my life.

Your advice to visit a VA facility and discuss the sacrifices that may be required by our service members is sound. I would also add asking the recruiters to arrange meetings with new service members to get a more realistic picture of day-to-day life, and to look at each service thoroughly.

- Wes M., Glen Allen, Va.

DEAR WES: I fully support our troops and veterans. But anyone who signs up for military service should understand the realities beforehand. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: Public high schools must provide contact information for students to military recruiters. This was a provision of "No Child Left Behind." In my community, parents may have a child's records withheld by filling out a form at the time the student is enrolled in high school.

- Troy in Freehold, N.J.

DEAR ABBY: When I joined the Navy in 1973, I was a college freshman. Vietnam was waning, and it was with my parents' blessing. Today I have a college education (paid for by the VA) and a wonderful family and career made possible, in large degree, by the life education and training I got in the Navy.

- Machinist's Mate and Proud of It