Letters to the Editor

John Ehlers a rare jewel for Hilton Head

The Lowcountry lost a humble and giving man with the passing of John Ehlers on April 22.

John started working in Sea Pines in 1969, doing all manner of chores from bike rentals to shuttle service to maintenance.

John was the director of maintenance for Hilton Head Plantation for over 17 years. His accomplishments in that position, which could never be measured in words or numbers, are overshadowed by his Southern charm, humility and altruistic traits.

John was your go-to-guy when a task absolutely had to be done a certain way by a certain time. What may not have been readily evident was his genuine concern for his coworkers, the residents of Hilton Head Plantation and those in need.

The pair of work boots, a warm jacket, the replacement of a dead battery, and the plane ticket across the country to permit a colleague to attend a loved one’s funeral are just a few of the many kindnesses John demonstrated.

Most service providers need training to hone their customer service skills. With John, no training was required. It was second nature.

Whatever Mother Nature threw our way John had the fix or the remedy long before most knew there was even a crisis.

John’s work ethic, properly cloned, could solve many of the world’s most serious problems.

John had a seeming endless list of bullseye colloquialisms that he could call up from memory and blurt out to the amusement to all in range of his voice. John was a true Southern gentleman.

Peter Kristian

Hilton Head Island

(Editor’s note: The writer is general manager of the Hilton Head Plantation Property Owners’ Association.)

Military still needs F-15s

As a retired Navy pilot, I was intrigued by state Rep. Shannon Erickson’s op-ed column in the Gazette on April 24.

She asks why the U.S. Air Force is requesting additional fourth-generation fighter/bombers such as the F-15 – in addition to the much more capable fifth-generation fighter, the F-35A.

Similarly, she could ask: “Why are the Navy and the Marine Corps also asking for (and getting) additional fourth-generation F/A-18s rather than the fifth -eneration F-35B (for the Marine Corps) and the F-35C (for the Navy and the Marine Corps)?”

The answer is complicated. The main role of today’s fighters is to carry bombs and air-to-ground missiles to hit guerillas and to protect our troops as well the troops of our allies. It is also crucial to be able to have the potential to engage in air-to-air combat against the coming fifth-generation of advanced Russian or Chinese fighters.

Since the F-15 and the F/A-18 are significantly less costly than the F-35, we can deploy many more of them (together with the F-35) than we could if we only built F-35s.

It makes sense to have a mix of these less expensive fourth-generation aircraft (to carry air-to-ground ordinance) while also building fifth-generation, air-superiority fighters — the F-35 in its many variations: the land-based F-35A for the Air Force, the short takeoff F-35B for the Marine Corps to support amphibious forces, and the carrier-based F-35C for the Navy and the Marine Corps.

Charlie Davis

Fripp Island

Hurricane floodwater often harbors harmful bacteria, most notably Vibrio vulnificus. If contracted, it can lead to serious infection or death.

Microbe study seems obvious

You had an interesting article on the front page of Thursday’s paper concerning a nasty microbe.

The study shows that old men (late 40’s or so) who are obese and out-of-shape, who have a fatty low-grade diseased liver, who have an open wound or cut, and who swim or fish in brackish water in the summer in and around the South Carolina coast (Lowcountry) may be susceptible to a microbe which can infect the open wound. This infection can be serious and make the person ill.


This study in part is attributed to researchers at the University of South Carolina.

What organizations fund these research studies? Who pays the salaries of the folks who do this “research”? My guess is that the culprit is the taxpayers.

Andy Carter

Sun City Hilton Head

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