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Old 12-29-2009, 09:17 AM
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Question They didn't serve...

I've done a fair amount of reading about the war over many years, but below is some interesting info that I don't recall reading anywhere else (probably just missed it somehow) vis a vis the 8,744,000 in uniform during that period vs. the ones who saw no service at all but were eligible.

It comes out of:

World Almanac Publication
Editor: John S. Bowman
page 358

"Meanwhile, about 15,000,000 eligible American youth avoided the draft by gaining student or occupational deferments; an estimated 250,000 simply didn't register for the draft; an estimated 1,000,000 committed draft offenses; some 25,000 were indicted for draft related charges, but only some 3250 spent any time in prison."

I found those numbers rather surprising.
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:38 PM
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jriley1349 jriley1349 is offline

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Default Feel a Draft?

I did a little research on this issue some years back for a paper. Below is the text.

Feel A Draft?
The conscription or “draft” of young men into the U.S. military began during the Revolutionary War and has been used at various times of history to fulfill the countries armed forces needs. During my high-school years [late 60's], the draft was a topic that almost every male had to consider regarding his plans after high school graduation.

The establishment of the Selective Service was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1940 during the buildup to World War II. It requires all males between the ages of 18 and 25 to register with their local draft board. The Selective Service “draft” remained in continual use with peaks during the Korean War (551,806 draftees in 1951) and during the Vietnam War (296,406 draftees in 1968).

The Selective Service draft kept the military war machine primed for the 10 year duration of the Vietnam War. During this period, 1,728,344 men were drafted into the Army and the Marine Corps drafted 42,633. By June, 1969 - my high-school graduation - U.S. involvement in Vietnam was in its sixth year with 475,000 troops serving in-country. U.S. casualties had exceeded 180,000 wounded and 42,000 dead.

Many young men that did not want to leave their fate in the hands of the Selective Service, enlisted before being drafted to acquire specific training. According to induction surveys, the majority did not do so for any sense of "the cause" but, when faced with an inevitable draft, did so to either conveniently time their entry into the military (before college, marriage, etc.) or to guarantee a more preferable job description. The reserves, National Guard and Coast Guard recruiting goals during those years where quickly reached and cut-off.

* In December 1969, a draft lottery was started that ended college student deferments and changed the order that young men were called to service to a random birth-date order. The highest lottery number called up for service the year after I graduated high school [1970] was 196. Since the number selected for my birthday was 104, I would likely have been drafted - had I not already enlisted.

In 1969, newly elected president Nixon began troop withdrawals from Vietnam and started a reduction in draftees;by 1973, the draft was halted. Also by that time, there were an estimated 70,000 draft evaders and deserters living in Canada.


* 1969 is when anti-war demonstrations gained momentum - partly due to reaction to the 68 Tet Offensive but also because of the impending halt in college deferments. Suddenly, those who could skate by just being in college could be drafted and it shifted the burden to middle and upper-crust kids - albeit, briefly.
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