Kudos for the fine article on the Zumwalt destroyer program in the Feb. 2 paper, by Nathan Strout of The Times Record (“It was to be a juggernaut, but that ship has sailed,” Page A1).

I was struck by the author’s question buried deep in the second page of the article (Page A4), where he asks: “What exactly had the Navy gotten for its $23 billion Zumwalt investment?”

Some wag once said, “A billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.” Just to put this into some perspective, the entire budget for education in the state of Maine in 2018 was around $1.5 billion.

I found a sense of ironic poignancy in the associated photo on the front page, showing a man waving as one of these ships passed by en route to its vacuous mission. I wonder if he realized that he was also waving goodbye something much less tangible and much more significant than a multibillion-dollar boondoggle. What also sailed away with that ship was the equivalent of four or five years of educational investment in our young people. We are all left technically, culturally and morally bereft for its existence.

Tom Kircher


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