Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Regarding the Draft during the Viet Nam War

The MIlitary Draft remained in place from 1940 to ...

If you haven't read the above article it explains also a little of my experience then in the 1960s and 1970s when the draft was still in effect. I was 18 in 1966 in Santa Fe, New Mexico and ready to Graduate in May 1966 when I registered for the draft when I turned 18 there at a private boarding school.

However, even though I did what my father told me to I felt guilty that I got to stay home while others died in Viet Nam my age. Over time I realized God did this because he had other plans for me rather than dying in Viet Nam or getting PTSD and walking the streets talking to myself the rest of my life like many young men my age are till doing today all these years later.

So, instead of being drafted and Going and either dying in Viet Nam or having bad PTSD and shooting someone like many returning home from Viet Nam shot their wives and families then often themselves from PTSD, instead God had me go to college, get excommunicated from my childhood religion, go through a whole lot of stuff, get married in 1974 and have a son and start my first business when I was 28 here in California. So, I now can see the wisdom of it all but at the time I was still just trying to grow up and be a man in a very crazy strange world that California was then and now culturally speaking. Having grown up in a world in California which is sort of controlled Chaos in that we are a very inventive and experimental people willing to try almost anything new at least once, we also often are the future of the whole world in many ways too.

So, God saved my life from dying in Viet Nam or having PTSD and gave me an amazing life so I could survive to share all the things he shares with me here now in 2017 all these years later.

I think this is poignant today for me because a lady who is a friend of my wife's lost her father when she was 5 years old and he was a Sargent in the Army during the Viet Nam war and she talked with a man who was wounded the same day he was all those years ago yesterday on the phone to Louisiana.
This man knew her father and was an officer then and fought alongside of him when he died of his wounds that day or soon after. So, because of all this this is especially important for me today to share all this with you.

Partial quote from:

Conscription in the United States - Wikipedia

Vietnam War

President Kennedy's decision to send military troops to Vietnam as "advisors" was a signal that Selective Service Director Lewis B. Hershey needed to visit the Oval Office. From that visit emerged two wishes of JFK with regard to conscription. The first was that the names of married men with children should occupy the very bottom of the callup list. Just above them should be the names of men who are married. This Presidential policy, however, was not to be formally encoded into Selective Service Status. Men who fit into these categories became known as Kennedy Husbands. When President Lyndon Johnson decided to rescind this Kennedy policy, there was a last-minute rush to the altar by thousands of American couples.[citation needed]
Many early rank-and-file anti-conscription protesters had been allied with the National Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy. The completion in 1963 of a Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty left a mass of undirected youth in search of a cause. Syndicated cartoonist Al Capp portrayed them as S.W.I.N.E, (Students Wildly Indignant About Nearly Everything). The catalyst for protest reconnection was the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.
Consequently, there was some opposition to the draft even before the major U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War began. The large cohort of Baby Boomers who became eligible for military service during the Vietnam War was responsible for a steep increase in the number of exemptions and deferments, especially for college students. Besides being able to avoid the draft, college graduates who volunteered for military service (primarily as commissioned officers) had a much better chance of securing a preferential posting compared to less-educated inductees.

President Gerald Ford announces amnesty for draft evaders at the White House, Washington, D.C., in 1974.
As U.S. troop strength in Vietnam increased, more young men were drafted for service there, and many of those still at home sought means of avoiding the draft. Since only 15,000 National Guard and Reserve soldiers were sent to Vietnam, enlistment in the Guard or the Reserves became a popular means of avoiding serving in a war zone. For those who could meet the more stringent enlistment standards, service in the Air Force, Navy, or Coast Guard was a means of reducing the chances of being killed. Vocations to the ministry and the rabbinate soared, because divinity students were exempt from the draft[citation needed]. Doctors and draft board members found themselves being pressured by relatives or family friends to exempt potential draftees.[citation needed]
The marriage deferment ended suddenly on August 26, 1965. Around 3:10pm President Johnson signed an order allowing the draft of men who married after midnight that day, then around 5pm he announced the change for the first time.[51]
Some conscientious objectors objected to the war based on the theory of Just War. One of these, Stephen Spiro, was convicted of avoiding the draft, but given a suspended sentence of five years. He was later pardoned by President Gerald Ford.[52]
There were 8,744,000 servicemembers between 1964 and 1975, of whom 3,403,000 were deployed to Southeast Asia.[53] From a pool of approximately 27 million, the draft raised 2,215,000 men for military service (in the United States, Vietnam, West Germany, and elsewhere) during the Vietnam era. The draft has also been credited with "encouraging" many of the 8.7 million "volunteers" to join rather than risk being drafted.[citation needed] The majority of servicemen deployed to Vietnam were volunteers.[54]
Of the nearly 16 million men not engaged in active military service, 57% were exempted (typically because of jobs including other military service), deferred (usually for educational reasons), or disqualified (usually for physical and mental deficiencies but also for criminal records including draft violations).[19] The requirements for obtaining and maintaining an educational deferment changed several times in the late 1960s. For several years, students were required to take an annual qualification test. In 1968, educational deferments were dropped for first year graduate students. Those further along in their graduate study could continue to receive a deferment. On December 1, 1969, a lottery was held to establish a draft priority for all those born between 1944 and 1950. Those with a high number no longer had to be concerned about the draft. Nearly 500,000 men were disqualified for criminal records, but less than 10,000 of them were convicted of draft violations.[29] Finally, as many as 100,000 draft eligible men fled the country.[55][56]

End of conscription

During the 1968 presidential election, Richard Nixon campaigned on a promise to end the draft.[57] He had first become interested in the idea of an all-volunteer army during his time out of office, based upon a paper by Martin Anderson of Columbia University.[58] Nixon also saw ending the draft as an effective way to undermine the anti-Vietnam war movement, since he believed affluent youths would stop protesting the war once their own probability of having to fight in it was gone.[59] There was opposition to the all-volunteer notion from both the Department of Defense and Congress, so Nixon took no immediate action towards ending the draft early in his presidency.[58]
Instead, the Gates Commission was formed, headed by Thomas S. Gates, Jr., a former Secretary of Defense in the Eisenhower administration. Gates initially opposed the all-volunteer army idea, but changed his mind during the course of the 15-member commission's work.[58] The Gates Commission issued its report in February 1970, describing how adequate military strength could be maintained without having conscription.[57][60] The existing draft law was expiring at the end of June 1971, but the Department of Defense and Nixon administration decided the draft needed to continue for at least some time.[60] In February 1971, the administration requested of Congress a two-year extension of the draft, to June 1973.[61][62]
Senatorial opponents of the war wanted to reduce this to a one-year extension, or eliminate the draft altogether, or tie the draft renewal to a timetable for troop withdrawal from Vietnam;[63] Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska took the most forceful approach, trying to filibuster the draft renewal legislation, shut down conscription, and directly force an end to the war.[64] Senators supporting Nixon's war efforts supported the bill, even though some had qualms about ending the draft.[62] After a prolonged battle in the Senate, in September 1971 cloture was achieved over the filibuster and the draft renewal bill was approved.[65] Meanwhile, military pay was increased as an incentive to attract volunteers, and television advertising for the U.S. Army began.[57] With the end of active U.S. ground participation in Vietnam, December 1972 saw the last men conscripted, who were born in 1952[66] and who reported for duty in June 1973. On February 2, 1972, a drawing was held to determine draft priority numbers for men born in 1953, but in early 1973 it was announced by Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird that no further draft orders would be issued.[67][68] In March 1973, 1974, and 1975, the Selective Service assigned draft priority numbers for all men born in 1954, 1955, and 1956, in case the draft was extended, but it never was.[69]
Command Sergeant Major Jeff Mellinger, believed to be the last drafted enlisted ranked soldier still on active duty, retired in 2011.[70]
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Ralph E. Rigby, the last Vietnam-era drafted soldier of Warrant Officer rank, retired from the army in November 10, 2014 after a 42-year career.[71]

Post-1980 draft registration

On July 2, 1980, President Carter issued Presidential Proclamation 4771 and re-instated the requirement that young men register with the Selective Service System.[72] At that time it was required that all males, born on or after January 1, 1960, register with the Selective Service System. Those now in this category are male U.S. citizens and male immigrant non-citizens between the ages of 18 and 25, who are required to register within 30 days of their 18th birthday.
The Selective Service System describes its mission as "to serve the emergency manpower needs of the Military by conscripting untrained manpower, or personnel with professional health care skills, if directed by Congress and the President in a national crisis".[73] Registration forms are available either online or at any U.S. Post Office.
The Selective Service registration form states that failure to register is a felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment or a $250,000 fine.[74] In practice, no one has been prosecuted for failure to comply with draft registration since 1986,[75] in part because prosecutions of draft resisters proved counter-productive for the government, and in part because of the difficulty of proving that noncompliance with the law was "knowing and wilful". In interviews published in U.S. News & World Report in May 2016, current and former Selective Service System officials said that in 1988, the Department of Justice and Selective Service agreed to suspend any further prosecutions of nonregistrants.[76] Many people do not register at all, register late, or change addresses without notifying the Selective Service System.[77] Registration is a requirement for employment by the federal government and some states, as well as for receiving some state benefits such as driver's licenses.[78] Refusing to register can also cause a loss of eligibility for federal financial aid for college.[79]

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