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View Diary: How I Dodged the Draft: A Vietnam Story (142 comments)

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  •  My experience should anyone care (10+ / 0-)

    I actually volunteered. I had been a Viet Nam war protestor but came from a very, very conservative family. Fleeing to Canada did occur to me but would have subjected me to lifelong family banishment, for sure. My Dad didn't like the fact that I was one of those damned protestors but at least was civil enough not to make a big issue out of it.

    So, I enlisted in the Air Force, where I thought I would be the least likely to get shot at. Yeah, I was lending my hand to the war effort but I was still wondering, "does the government know more than they are saying. Is this indeed necessary". In time, we would find out the answer was a resounding "NO!".

    I took the battery of tests and scored damned near off the charts. basically, I had the choice of any career field in the military, to a degree of sorts. I selected electronics because I thought they would be far away from the jungle action. I then got to select which electronics path I wanted. I chose ground radio electronics repairman because it had the second longest training period, nine months. If they spend that much time training me, I thought, they aren't going to put me someplace where I will be expendable. I was right, they sent me to a cow pasture in Illinois!

    The only career field with more training, by two weeks, was avionics. I just didn't feel like getting shot out of the air.

    While still in training though, they came around and showed us a film and asked for volunteers to become a "combat controller". That involved slapping a 120 pound radio on your back and jumping deep into enemy territory to radio in the position of the enemy. They told us we would all get extra pay, hazardous duty pay,, jump pay and I think there was some other glorified pay as well. Then they very quickly mentioned that life expectancy in the field was something like 30 minutes. I am not making that up and boy did they hurry past that part.

    After the meeting one of my buddies was all gung-ho about doing this thing. I said, "are you nuts? Did you miss that part about the life expectancy in the field"? We laughed about it and went out and had a few beers. I thought that was the end of it.

    Several years after I got out, I heard from my friend again. He had volunteered for the idiots mission. He fucked up his ankle over there, broke it I think and is in permanent pain, though never complains. he is still gung-ho and still pretty right wing. I like him a whole lot in spite of the fact that he has bricks for brains sometimes.

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