Nation: More in Sorrow than in Anger

Reluctantly, many top noncoms are leaving the services

They have different talents and interests, but experienced noncoms around the country who are leaving—or considering quitting—the armed forces have common complaints about today's services, and a willingness to talk frankly about them. The views of four:

"STRETCHED TO THE BRINK"

Marine Staff Sergeant Michael Robinson, 26, works as a career planner at El Toro Marine Base near Santa Ana, Calif., charged with persuading first-term Marines to reenlist. Now, ironically, Robinson himself is leaving the service after eight years, passing up a $10,000 re-enlistment...

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