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I was born in 1950, prime cannon-fodder for the Vietnam killing machine. Like most white middle-class kids though, I was “saved” by my college deferment at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Saved for most of my undergraduate years anyway, but my parents weren’t quite middle-class enough to pay for the whole thing. By the second semester of my senior year, January 1972, they’d run out of money and student loans and I was on my own. I had a bit of money saved from my bar mitzvah loot, so I took it on myself to pay for my last semester. I only needed seven credits to graduate though, so that’s exactly how many I signed up for. That was less than a full-time student workload, which meant my student deferment was no more.

This should have worried me. I had #14 in the draft lottery—Ernie Banks’ number, a supreme irony for a Cubs fan—so, even though the draft had wound down from its peak, that low number meant I was likely to be hearing from my draft board. There was no force on earth that could’ve gotten me into the army, but I figured I’d cross that burning bridge when I came to it. My parents were pretty apolitical, but they made it clear they would support whatever I decided to do: Canada, the underground, conscientious objector status. They didn’t want their oldest child to kill or be killed in a country they’d barely heard of.  I made no plans for any of those options; I guess I figured even the US Army wouldn’t be idiotic enough to want me. My opposition to the war machine wasn’t entirely under the radar.

Wrong.

Sometime not long after the semester started, I received a notice from the Selective Service System to report for my pre-induction physical in Milwaukee. I thought about blowing it off and just not showing up, but the consensus among my friends was that the physical was the wrong place to make a stand. Time enough to act in the unlikely event I actually was drafted. So I duly boarded the Greyhound bus for an all-expenses paid journey to the YMCA in downtown Milwaukee.

There were a few hundred of us there. Before they even took our names, we were all ordered to strip to our underwear. This pissed me off. I’m no more modest than the next guy, and in 1972 I was hardly modest at all, but this had nothing to do with being seen in my undies by a bunch of other guys. This was all about power. They were making it crystal clear who had power and who didn’t; all the power lay with those who were permitted to wear clothes. Naked power, so to speak. “You’re in the Army now,” even though we weren’t. I’m not talking about the actual physical exam, where of course undressing is normal and makes sense. This was the better part of an entire day without clothes; waiting in line, filling out forms, answering questions, disposing of whatever vile “food” they offered with the misleading description "lunch." You haven't really lived until you've sat on a molded plastic chair in your underpants, staring at a greenish-pink-on-Wonder Bread sandwich and some not-safe-for-Farmworkers iceberg lettuce. After a while, they even got around to a physical exam in the course of our pre-induction physical. Mostly though, we sat, mostly naked, and waited to be told what to do. As I said, it pissed me off.

After a while, finally, all that was finished. I demanded to speak to a psychiatrist. That inevitably involved still more waiting, but eventually I was summoned, still in my fucking underwear, into a makeshift office. Some pudgy middle-aged white guy wearing civilian clothes and glasses introduced himself as Dr. Mumble-mumble. A vision in grey. He had me fill out some more forms. I politely explained to him that there was really no chance at all I would ever try to kill some Vietnamese guy who was just defending his country and home, that honestly, I’d be a lot more likely to blow-up my own commanding officer and, all things considered, I probably wasn’t really great soldier material. Dr. Mumble-mumble clucked and tut-tutted and said “That’s very interesting, Mr. D—“ and all but patted me on the head.

So I spat in his fucking face.

This apparently came as a surprise to Mumble-mumble; at any rate, it left him with nothing much to say. My last view of the good doctor was a great glob of spittle dribbling down his glasses onto his chin. I didn’t really know what to expect next; none of my research had quite covered this. I figured I’d find out soon enough if I was going to be shot or arrested. So I left the office, gathered my clothes, got dressed (finally!), left the Y and walked, Army voucher in hand, to the Greyhound Station to wait for the next bus to Madison. No one ever said a word.

I have to think my “rebellion” was noticed though. Maybe they took my “threat” against my hypothetical officer more seriously than they let on. In any case, the half-expected draft notice never did arrive, so I didn’t have to choose my next move. Instead, a few weeks later I received a new, revised and much-improved draft card with my brand-new classification, one of the few not covered by Draft Dodger Rag:  

I-H, Registrant not currently subject to processing for induction.

The End.

Originally posted to PhilJD on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 05:05 AM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Policy Zone.

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Comment Preferences

  •  somewhere there's a file on you... (18+ / 0-)

    all it says is: careful, he spits.

    I shave my legs with Occam's razor~

    by triv33 on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 05:16:42 AM PDT

  •  Personally... (18+ / 0-)

    ...after having a nervous breakdown at Penn my freshman year (1966-67) trying to deal with various issues, I ran off to Haight Street.  I stayed on the move until I got married and had a child in 1969.  The Feds caught me in very early 1971, I was given the choice of two years in the Army or five years in the Oklahoma State Pen.  I chose the former, figuring I could always disappear again if they tried to send me to Nam.

    I ended up serving as a prison guard at Ft. Leavenworth.

  •  Sure beats what (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilJD, triv33, kharma

    shitty pants Ted did. He wouldn't have had the balls to do what you did....

    6% of scientists are republican. Scientists have no explanation why that number is so high.

    by fugwb on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 05:24:28 AM PDT

    •  That's a myth (7+ / 0-)

      As evil as The Nuge is, he's not quite that crazy. He got student deferments in reality.

      Certaines personnes disent qu'il y a une femme à blâmer, Mais je sais que c'est ma faute sacrément.

      by RamblinDave on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 05:32:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, we don't know if it's a myth . . . (6+ / 0-)

        as Snopes.com notes, after a high school and college student deferment, he was classified 1A and then, later, after a physical exam, he was reclassified as 1Y:

        1-Y classification denoted persons "qualified for service only in time of war or national emergency" and was generally assigned to registrants who had exhibited medical conditions that were limiting but not disabling.) After the 1-Y classification was eliminated by the Selective Service at the end of 1971, Nugent was reclassified as 4-F ("registrant not qualified for any military service").
        See Ted's record, here.

        Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

        by bobdevo on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 07:32:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No, it's not a "myth" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fugwb, OleHippieChick, AJayne

        It's a CONTENTION from Ted himself. Now, he could be lying, but that doesn't make it a "myth."

        Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

        by anastasia p on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 07:57:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  So "The Nuge" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OleHippieChick

        admits in an interview he did these things to avoid the draft. Snopes comes up with this:

        So, Ted Nugent did have a student deferment for part of the time he was eligible for the Vietnam-era draft, but he also did fail a physical examination and receive a medical exemption (which, as far as we know, he has neither acknowledged nor explained). But in the absence of more specific information about the results of that physical examination and the reasons for his medical exemption, it cannot be ascertained how truthful the account Nugent gave to High Times magazine back in 1977 might be.
        Read more at http://www.snopes.com/...
        So you say it's a myth. Do you have more proof? If not, I'm taking "The Nuges" word for it. Now, maybe "The Nuge" is trying to rewrite his own history. And quite frankly, fuck "The Nuge". He said it. That's what he did. After all, a man like "The Nuge" wouldn't lie now would he? Post some facts before you outright dismiss someone's comment.

        6% of scientists are republican. Scientists have no explanation why that number is so high.

        by fugwb on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 08:01:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I can only say the induction physical (19+ / 0-)

    process was a lot different in Boston when I went through it.

    Efficient would be an understatement. No waiting that I recall and certainly no time to sit down and have a meal of any kind.

    Then again the Army docs where there for one reason and one reason only and it wasn't to be army. It was to be in the Boston Medical community. And the  shrink I saw was about as nice as nice could be.

    The only really stunning thing was that after the intelligence test to Sergeant scoring the test called me up and asked it I wanted to consider OCS. My response: You mean to tell me because I know which one of these things is not like the other, can tell a screw driver from a wrench I am worthy of going to Officers Candidate School? If that is the case the US army has larger problems than I thought.

    Frankly, I’m getting more than a little tired of hearing from angry America. I’m also less than fond of knee-jerk America. And when you combine the two with the Internet, you too often get stupid America, which is really annoying.

    by jsfox on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 05:28:21 AM PDT

  •  "Pussy" (14+ / 0-)

    Thats exactly what my 15 year old self would have thought when reading this post.  I was fascinated with the Vietnam war at the time and thought for sure, if I was drafted, I would have answered the call.  Easy for me to think in the early 1990s.  Then I turned 18.  Although I knew there was no chance of being drafted, I finally started to get a glimpse  the horror of what it must have been like to be pressed into service and be forced to kill (or be killed) for reasons beyond my understanding.  I doubt I would have had the guts to do what you did however.

    It's odd.   I was fairly conservative (in a more old-school way, not modern tea-bag nuttery) when I was a teen.  Now that I'm older, married, have a mortgage and a good job, I've become quite liberal.  I thought it was supposed to happen the other way around...

    Fox News: We read the chain emails your grandma gets in her inbox out loud like they were true.

    by Pooter03 on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 05:43:53 AM PDT

    •  One guy's "courage" is another guy's murder. (9+ / 0-)

      Directed at your 15 year old self, not at you today. I get that your views have "evolved," lol. Thanks for the comment.

      When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

      by PhilJD on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 05:52:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thinking about my "evolution" (0+ / 0-)

        A few things happened that changed me.  When I was 15:
        -  I couldn't imagine what it would have been like to have my life ripped apart and possibly shortened because someone/a bureaucracy needs cannon fodder*.  When I turned 18 and registered for the selective service, it finally registered with me.  Hit me in the face like a ton of bricks.  I wanted to go to college and start my life.  I certainly didn't want to kill or be killed.  I probably would have had a full blown panic attack if we still had a draft. :)
        -  I KNEW that we were right and the NVA was wrong.  
        -  I was sure I would have survived, despite the fact I'd never been in a fight in my life.  There's a reason why armies conscript young kids/teenagers after all.

        The education system taught me that all of our actions in all of our wars since at least World War I was just and right*.  We never committed war crimes or mistreated prisoners etc etc.  Sure, there were some incidents like My Lai, but they were rare and the cause of a few bad apples.  When I was older and started learning about how we really did foreign policy (helping depose Mosaddegh, the truth about the Golf of Tonkin Incident, propping up brutal 3rd war dictators only because they weren't Communists, etc) taught me to view most claims, historical or other, skeptically.  Things simply are not as simple as they we learned in school.

        *Which I believe is one of the reasons why we have so many chickenhawks today.
        *
        Another reason why we have so many chickenhawks.

        Fox News: We read the chain emails your grandma gets in her inbox out loud like they were true.

        by Pooter03 on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 06:07:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  #50's Here and Analagous Story: Maybe an Answer (7+ / 0-)

    for you.

    Having a checkered academic so-called career, I was dumped into the active draft pool during one hiatus or another.

    My first indication was a letter with the infamous opening "greeting" but it said I'd been passed over. With a 50's number this was impossible so I phoned the draft board.

    I was clever. I did this decades before caller ID was going to be invented.

    A young girl answered; I explained my number and the curious letter.

    She asked for my social name so that she could look up my specific case. On a hunch I asked her how old she was, she said "19" and I asked if she had a boyfriend. She said yes.

    I said "so you'll understand if we keep this conversation theoretical?" She very much did.

    Best she could figure was that, as the war was beginning to wind down, I had by dumb luck been put into the Selective Service active pool during a time when the military wasn't calling for any new draftees.

    Otherwise it was some kind of clerical error and we weren't going to risk learning that.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 05:46:33 AM PDT

  •  he should have kicked your ass (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jasan, Otteray Scribe, Neuroptimalian
    So I spat in his fucking face.
    Your lucky that wasn't me.

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 05:58:19 AM PDT

    •  He could have tried. (12+ / 0-)

      When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

      by PhilJD on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 06:05:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Meaning? nt (0+ / 0-)

        I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

        by Wayward Wind on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 06:09:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  So may people think there were no spitting hippies (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rduran, Neuroptimalian

        And what a bunch of dumbasses they are.
        How can anybody think there weren't people out there rude and uncouth enough to spit on people?

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 06:13:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How can anybody think there weren't people (16+ / 1-)

          out there rude and uncouth enough to kill babies?

          When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

          by PhilJD on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 06:15:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That is way over the line (7+ / 0-)

            and you only demonstrate your ignorance by making the comment.

            I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

            by Wayward Wind on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 06:18:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Tell that to the 6,000,000 (16+ / 0-)

              dead SE Asian civilians we killed in a war as bogus and based on lies as Iraq was.

              And what happened to the baby killers that got convicted. e.g/. Lt. William Calley?

              After being convicted for the deaths of 350 Vietnamese civilians including women and children . . . . he served his entire (reduced) sentence in his own bachelor quarters on base.

              Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

              by bobdevo on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 07:25:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I have, on many occasions, (11+ / 0-)

                since first returning to Vietnam with medical supplies 30 years ago, and on many such trips since then. I have broken bread and drank whiskey with them, laughed and cried with them, honored their war dead, built and funded clinics for the disabled, homes for their veterans, and schools for their children.  

                I've also made the pilgrimage to My Lai on several occasions, met with some of the survivors, and arranged medical care for those in need from that area.

                Care to tell me what you have done, or hazard a guess as to what the diary author has done, to help the Vietnamese overcome the horrific destruction that we rained on their country?

                The Vietnamese unquestionably suffered a tremendous injustice, one that never should have happened. Even through all they have suffered, they maintained the ability to distinguish between the soldiers who came, and the geopolitics and policies which sent the soldiers there, an ability that many Americans have never seemed to grasp.

                I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

                by Wayward Wind on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 07:49:11 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  This - (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  fcvaguy, bobdevo, AllanTBG, Dburn, exlrrp
                  The Vietnamese unquestionably suffered a tremendous injustice, one that never should have happened. Even through all they have suffered, they maintained the ability to distinguish between the soldiers who came, and the geopolitics and policies which sent the soldiers there, an ability that many Americans have never seemed to grasp. [emphasis added]
                  That's what's been missing in so many of these diaries.

                  Thank you.

                  Out with the gloomage - in with the plumage!

                  by mikidee on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 08:22:17 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  You wouldn't have needed to go there (6+ / 0-)

                  if more young men in the US had told the government to go fuck themselves.

                  Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

                  by bobdevo on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 08:41:20 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Did you do so? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    exlrrp

                    I have all the respect in the world for those who stood and said no, even more for those who actively pursued an end to the war, and those who assisted others to make an informed decision.

                    I have no time for those whose sole focus was keeping themselves out, with no effort to end the madness and/or help others avoid the draft.

                    I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

                    by Wayward Wind on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 02:23:08 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  How many babies did that psychiatrist kill? (6+ / 0-)

            I notice you weren't vindictive enough to spit in the face of an actual soldier who might have taught you better manners instead of some wuss psychiatrist.  
            Nothing justifies your blatant uncouth rudeness.
            Like I say, next time someone says there were no spitting hippies, JUST. COUL. NOT. HAVE HAPPENED> I'll ref them to your diary.

            Happy just to be alive

            by exlrrp on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 06:24:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah, he was just a poor schlemiel... (10+ / 0-)

              backed by the armed might of the most powerful military our world has ever known.

              Hardly a victim.

              When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

              by PhilJD on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 07:16:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Quit bragging about a physical assault!! (5+ / 0-)

                They should have taken you out in handcuffs!

                I want to be clear about this: you physically assaulted someone in the most rude and revolting manner, someone who'd never hurt you or never really done anything harmful to you at all. By your own account, he had been civil and friendly to you.
                And you unexpectedly, without warning, physically assaulted him in a truly obnoxious, revolting manner. And now you want to brag about it, justfying it with on dead Vietnamese children.
                Still on the same page with that? Is that an accurate description of your assault and later braggadocio? I think it is.

                But what zips you up from just revolting and obnoxious---someone who'd brag about this--- to truly craven is pretending to justify this really obnoxious behavior by justifying it on dead Vietnamese children, as if to pretend that this helped them or anything else at all.
                Please don't lecture me  on how bad the Vietnam War was or about the might of the military, I was in it, the war and the military, and you only watched it on TV and read books about it.
                And as a Vietnam War Protestor, people like you give us a bad name.

                What's truly mind boggling to me is your bragging about this revolting behavior like it was some noble deed. (And I see you're getting recced for it too,  not surprised but disappointed) That's incredible to me----this is something I would be ashamed of doing and if anybody in my family, many of those who participated in demonstrations I would be ashamed of them too.
                Just some poor little government shlmiel who'd done nothing to you and you spat in his face and excused your behavior by what happened to Vietnamese people.
                This is something that  I would only relate it I followed it by, "and then I said to Hitler and Himmler....."

                So did you spit on soldiers, too? Thats easy to believe, someone who would spit on some little shrink would spit on a soldier. Or maybe he wouldn't have the balls to.
                So, were you brave enough to spit on a soldier too? Or was spitting on the psychiatrist your big move?

                thanks for this diary in that sense. really!! I always knew there were people who would spit on people and then pat themselves on the back and  justify that by their feelings about the war. REALLY!! There were people like that!!

                I'm outta here, this is really bad

                Happy just to be alive

                by exlrrp on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 08:57:29 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  the fuck? (14+ / 0-)
              Nothing justifies your blatant uncouth rudeness.
              I disagree. If someone told me I was gonna have to kill people, and that I didn't have a choice in the matter, I'd spit in their fucking face, too.

              Now THAT's rude.

              If I turn into another, dig me up from under what is covering the better part of me. -- Incubus

              by Colorado is the Shiznit on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 07:22:13 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Actually, his cowardice is apparent (5+ / 0-)

              in that he chose the psychiatrist, but, essentially he spit in the face of everyone who served in any capacity during the Viet Nam Era - that includes my cousin who died in ''66, my uncle (who died from Agent Orange related cancer), my brother, obviously yourself and the thousands of others who served, including me.

              I am saddened and horrified to see there is such hate-filled, shameless hostility here.  

              Out with the gloomage - in with the plumage!

              by mikidee on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 07:42:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oh please. (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                PhilJD, TracieLynn, Aunt Martha, JesseCW

                Not every act of protest relates back to your cousin, for Chrissakes. What a crock.

                "You are not even aware of what is possible. The extent of their capabilities is horrifying."Edward Snowden -6.62, -6.92

                by CanyonWren on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 10:21:11 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Excuse me? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Neuroptimalian, exlrrp

                  What is it about "and the thousands of others who served, including me" that you don't understand?

                  Spitting your bodily fluids at someone is seen as more offensive than hitting them"," says Ross Coomber, a principal lecturer in sociology at the University of Plymouth, who admits to an unlikely professional interest in the sociology of spitting. "Spitting in someone's face is probably considered one of the worst things you can do. It's obviously a form of violence, very confrontational, perhaps the most violent you can be against someone without actually hitting them. You do actually make some form of contact with them, in a way that you know they would really not like, but you haven't actually struck them. And they feel insulted by it, so you have achieved what you wanted."

                  Spitting, literally, dribbles contempt, and it is the noxious, viscous disdain of the act that makes it such a powerful and intimate insult. Other bodily fluids may be more unsavoury, but applying them into someone else's face requires a degree of effort which, the spitter is effectively saying, the spittee doesn't even merit. The appeal of spitting is the effortless momentary disrespect it conveys, while the person on the receiving end must experience the full humiliation of the splash, the dribble and the ungainly wipe.

                  If you can't/won't understand that spitting on someone as a form of protest is intended as an deeply offensive insult to all the "spittee" represents, well, then dog help you.

                  Out with the gloomage - in with the plumage!

                  by mikidee on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 11:12:19 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  This comment is yet another example (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                PhilJD, JesseCW

                of how the word "hate" on this site has unfortunately become a cliche.

              •  I'm sorry that your cousin, your uncle, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                melfunction

                your brother, and yourself couldn't find a way to avoid participating in a war crime.

                Welcome to the Whole Foods of the blogosphere.

                by JesseCW on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 12:01:17 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  This might be a foreign concept to you, but my (0+ / 0-)

                  family has a long and honorable history of military service, starting in 1862, again in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and then during the Viet Nam Era. Not one of us is/was a "warmonger," but neither are/were we pacifists. Only one - my uncle - was career military, but his service started when he was drafted for the Korean War.

                  Both my brother and I enlisted - the draft and the hostilities had ended by the time we joined (except the Mayaguez Incident, which is technically the last official battle of the Viet Nam War). There's a reason we enlisted when we did.

                  The vast majority of people I served with were, like my family, good and honorable people. While my personal politics were to the left of most of my friends and my family (I voted for Gus Hall in 1976 - what can I say - I was young and stupid), not one of them deserved to be spat upon - ever.

                  Long story short - you have no idea what you're talking about.

                  Out with the gloomage - in with the plumage!

                  by mikidee on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 12:33:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  My family is very ashamed of having served (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    PhilJD

                    in the Vietnam Era.

                    My Dad, four uncles, my Father in Law.  All of them are quite clear that what they did or helped do to the people of Vietnam is nothing to be proud of.

                    In short, you seem to think the world is comprised of "good honorable people" and "bad dishonorable people".

                    It isn't.  It's comprised of good and bad actions.  

                    Trying to force young men to go kill people in a war of naked agression is not just a bad action - it's almost infinitely worse than spitting on someone.

                    Welcome to the Whole Foods of the blogosphere.

                    by JesseCW on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 01:05:41 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Not going there with you, dear. (0+ / 0-)

                      No one said anything about "pride." My objection is to ever think it's okay to spit on someone - whether my family, your family or a fucking psychiatrist evaluating potential draftees - for their service.

                      You want to protest? Fine - Desecrate a flag (been there, done that). Go to rallies (been there, done that). Work for and elect better and more Democrats who don't rush to war (doing that for a very long time).

                      See ya.

                      Out with the gloomage - in with the plumage!

                      by mikidee on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 01:23:31 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You think it's a-ok to take a check for sending (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        PhilJD

                        young men to participate in a war of naked aggression.

                        You insist those who disagree with you are somehow lacking in honor and goodness, which is the trademark of those who agree with you.

                        You seem to be extremely confused about the point of the diary.

                        PhilJD wasn't protesting.  He was refusing to murder some other mothers son for no damn reason.  He was refusing to support an ongoing crime that was killing millions of real live human beings.

                        I'm not big on trying to declare who is or is not a good person.

                        Going to Vietnam and killing people was an extremely bad thing to do, much worse than spitting on some shrink who was trying to send men to do it.

                        Welcome to the Whole Foods of the blogosphere.

                        by JesseCW on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 03:12:17 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Oh fucking stop. (0+ / 0-)

                          You know I never said this -

                          You think it's a-ok to take a check for sending young men to participate in a war of naked aggression.
                          I never said the psychiatrist was innocent - no more than I said my family or yours was innocent.

                          And I wasn't the person who characterized PhilJD's conduct as "protesting" -

                           Oh please. (4+ / 0-)

                          Not every act of protest relates back to your cousin, for Chrissakes. What a crock.

                          "You are not even aware of what is possible. The extent of their capabilities is horrifying."Edward Snowden -6.62, -6.92

                          by CanyonWren on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 12:21:11

                          For some one who's "not big on trying to declare who is or is not a good person," this comment
                          Going to Vietnam and killing people was an extremely bad thing to do, much worse than spitting on some shrink who was trying to send men to do it.
                          is pretty revealing.

                          We disagree - period. I believe spitting on the psychiatrist is spitting on the troops, and I think that is wrong. You believe it's okay.

                          I'm done.

                          Out with the gloomage - in with the plumage!

                          by mikidee on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 03:35:37 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

            •  Look,really is a different situation here (0+ / 0-)

              He's not talking about a civilian spitting on a veteran returning home.He's talking about an unwilling potential recruit acting in defiance of an authority. An authority that is going to potentially send him out to kill people and is ignoring his concerns.

              You can see the difference there, right?

              "Think. It ain't illegal yet." - George Clinton | http://ideaddicted.blogspot.com

              by jbeach on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 10:48:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  That HR should require no explanation. (0+ / 0-)

            I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

            by Just Bob on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 07:27:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  asdf (13+ / 0-)

       photo 1970517_614663051933673_836925733_n_zps422f68d5.jpg

      Tyrion Lannister: "It's not easy being drunk all the time. Everyone would do it if it were easy."

      by psychodrew on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 06:09:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  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.

  •  Fascinating story. (10+ / 0-)

    I'm glad you spoke your mind.

    Tyrion Lannister: "It's not easy being drunk all the time. Everyone would do it if it were easy."

    by psychodrew on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 06:02:30 AM PDT

    •  So, do you know who served instead of you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jack 1966, rduran

      and what happened to him? After all, your draft board didn't say, "Oh gee, we're one short this month," they picked someone else who essentially got drafted in your place.

      •  I was born after the war ended. (13+ / 0-)

        But if somebody resists, that's his choice. If somebody chooses not to resist. That is his choice.

        Tyrion Lannister: "It's not easy being drunk all the time. Everyone would do it if it were easy."

        by psychodrew on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 06:56:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  and if he said "NO!" (15+ / 0-)

        ... and the next one did as well?

        Suppose they gave a war and no one came.

        When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

        by PhilJD on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 06:58:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But you didn't just say "no." (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mikidee

          You could have stood on principle.  Instead, you contrived to argue your own unfitness, and when you perceived that didn't work you spit on someone.  Not that it would have mattered.

          •  I think you're misapplying Ali's experience (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PhilJD, TracieLynn, JesseCW, melfunction

            Ali was older, richer, a cultural and sports hero.  Phil had far fewer resources and was trying to squeak through college on his last few dollars.  And were his principles so different from Phil's:

            Ali said:

             “I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong.”

            Phil said:

            "there was really no chance at all I would ever try to kill some Vietnamese guy who was just defending his country and home"

            Where is the big difference in principle there?

            After a day of humiliation Phil talks to the one guy he might think would listen to why he can't kill Vietnamese and the guy just patronizes him.

            I've got friends who dodged the draft and I've got friends who served.  I don't judge any of them for their decisions.  What I say is this:  18-20 is a damned young age to be confronted with these life or death choices.

            I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

            by Satya1 on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:34:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's surprising how many people seem to have (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Satya1, JesseCW

              skipped the diary and gone straight to the punchline. Thanks for reading the whole thing, lol, and for getting it.

              When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

              by PhilJD on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 10:01:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks again for writing the diary (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                PhilJD, JesseCW, OleHippieChick

                The irony is also not lost on me.  The one guy whose job one might think would be interested in your feelings and principles on the matter, only appears to want to screen you.  He's there to make sure you're not too crazy to disrupt your unit, but just crazy enough to go along with the idea of killing other people even though by that date the ratio of Americans that oppose the war to those who support it is 2:1.  And the doctor's (psychiatrists are MDs) first duty is to the military and not the "patients".

                I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

                by Satya1 on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 11:28:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Nope, read through the whole thing (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Neuroptimalian

                The punchline just ruined it for me.  I imagine a number of others feel the same way.  Hey, it's your story, and it's from a lifetime ago.  Nobody's so hard up that they're pulling out pitchforks over it, but man to man that act was the very definition of "being a dick."  I hope if you met Dr. Mumble-mumble today you'd have the decency to apologize.

            •  Not saying the principles were different (0+ / 0-)

              But unless we're talking about a child prodigy here Phil's only a couple of years younger than Ali was in 1966.  And for what resources Ali had at that point in his career--two years after he took the heavyweight championship--he was still an African American classified as 1-A, was convicted and lost every stage of his appeal until the Supreme Court.  A good number of Black dissenters--Walter Collins and David Bell, for example--weren't as lucky, but they didn't assault anyone either.

              •  LOL (0+ / 0-)

                You're still overreaching.  I find it amusing that you go from the specific "spitting" to the vague and hugely more violent "assault".

                Ironically, all along ignoring the crime which is greater by many orders of magnitude.  You clearly don't understand the context of the times.

                I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

                by Satya1 on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 08:04:22 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Because that's what it was (0+ / 0-)

                  Assault.  That psychiatrist committed no crime in evidence nor was he an accomplice to •any* crime in evidence.

                  Explain to me how the context of the time excuses assault against--by all accounts--a completely innocent man.

                  •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

                    and using the word "assault" instead of "spitting" clarifies the facts so well because spitting is the first thing we think about when one mentions "assault".  It's just another rhetorical trick to project your own narrative.

                    You project all kinds of "facts" that you choose into this narrative and 1) you weren't there, 2) probably weren't alive at the time and don't understand the experience at all, 3) deliberately overlook the greater injustices done to Phil and others like him.

                    I'm not going to do the historical research you need.  I'm done.  Your continued projection of your own version of "facts" for which you cannot know ("a completely innocent man") betrays a mind that operates with multiple layers of self deceit.

                    I sincerely wish you a good life.

                    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

                    by Satya1 on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 07:20:36 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  No one was drafted after Phil (0+ / 0-)

        Specifically, no one was drafted after Command Sgt. Maj. Jeff Mellinger.  Lotteries continued until December 1972 for 1973 inductions, but those orders were never cut.

  •  This is a remarkable diary (8+ / 0-)

    I can't imagine how hard it was for you to assault a guy twenty to thirty years older than yourself for just doing his job.  I'm equally impressed that you can so fondly recall such an heroic act decades later.  I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't be touched by your story.

    •  Hello Ted Nugent (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rduran, mikidee

      I do not fault him for not wanting to go, I fault him for being such a dick like Ted Nugent.  Like Ted, he is tough as hell to an old man that was doing his job.

    •  Calling something your job can't make it right, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      melfunction

      Boss.

      Welcome to the Whole Foods of the blogosphere.

      by JesseCW on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 12:04:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Doesn't have to (0+ / 0-)

        Dr. "Mumble-mumble" didn't do anything to Phil.  His only job was to provide a psychiatric evaluation, and in this particular instance he was made available at Phil's request.  And when he didn't respond to Phil's plying the way Phil wanted, Phil spat on him.  Ultimately Phil got what he wanted (despite the fact that he was never going to be called up in the first place) in exchange for his assault, and apparently he's very pleased with himself.

  •  I got my draft notice in 1966 (8+ / 0-)

    I served.  

    E-5, Honorable discharge.

    Your story does not entertain me.

    Orwell was an optimist.
    My Home Page

    by RepackRider on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 07:13:29 AM PDT

  •  I absolutely love this story. (7+ / 0-)

    I am not even kidding. I wanna marry it.

    I'm really glad you didn't end up in Vietnam, Phil. And I'm really glad you spat in that dude's face. :)

    If I turn into another, dig me up from under what is covering the better part of me. -- Incubus

    by Colorado is the Shiznit on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 07:14:29 AM PDT

  •  By 1972, the war was practically over. (9+ / 0-)

    Bravado was easier at that point, with much less risk of consequences, is all I'm saying.

    Strange to see a post like this, all these years later. I was no hawk, didn't want to serve. But I was drafted, and made no effort to avoid it. Figured if I managed to get out of it, someone else would have to go in my place, and I couldn't convince myself that I was worth more than that person. So the latter-day spit-bragging rings a little, what, stuck in the past. Or something.

    While I was in Vietnam my wife attended anti-war rallies and worked for the McGovern campaign. She was in SDS in college; when I graduated I wore a peace sign and a beard. I think it was the stupidest and most senseless war we fought, until Iraq. And it snuffed a lot of young lives, for no good at all.

    But at this point in my life, I'm glad I served and saw it first hand. Vietnam changed our country forever, and it was the seminal even of my generation. Don't mean to sound holier than thou. But my reaction to this post is, at best, that it's a relic of past time, and surprising that it appears now. Maybe I missed something.

    •  I read this as an example of not accepting (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CanyonWren, PhilJD, JesseCW, melfunction

      a drafting into military service for "meat grinder" wars as an automatic fate, although the method of demonstrating such seemed . . . unorthodox.

      "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

      by wader on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 07:46:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Even more over than you think (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader

      https://www.sss.gov/...

      The lottery drawing held February 2, 1972, determined the order in which men born in 1953 were called to report for induction into the military.

      This lottery was conducted for men who would have been called in 1973; however, no new draft orders were issued after 1972.

      Put simply, Phil wasn't going anywhere he didn't want to go regardless.
  •  Dr. Mumble-mumble, who was probably a civilian (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CanyonWren

    psychiatrist, saved your ass.  Keep that in mind.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 07:43:39 AM PDT

  •  Despite the uproar upthread, it was perhaps an (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilJD, jbob, JesseCW

    unintentional? brilliant play on your part--great instincts with the perfect result--non-induction. The psychiatrist duly noted your comments and took your violent outburst as a serious threat to your fellow inductees.

    "You are not even aware of what is possible. The extent of their capabilities is horrifying."Edward Snowden -6.62, -6.92

    by CanyonWren on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 07:46:27 AM PDT

    •  I certainly didn't go in with the intention (6+ / 0-)

      to spit or do anything else. I had no "plan" at all.

      It seemed like the right thing to do at the time, and I have no regrets, 42 years later.

      When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

      by PhilJD on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 07:56:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I, for one, understand your reaction. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilJD, JesseCW

        Pitch-perfect for that time. Anyone who accuses you of just kicking the draft down the road for the next guy clearly has 'loyalty' issues, and totally disregards this fundamental question: Where was the loyalty to young men and women by our military during that war? Is the only honorable act serving with your 'brothers' and dying? It's such a fucked up mindset.

        "You are not even aware of what is possible. The extent of their capabilities is horrifying."Edward Snowden -6.62, -6.92

        by CanyonWren on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 08:09:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Spitting on some poor schlub who (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilJD, mikidee, CanyonWren, NYFM, melfunction

        is just doing his lousy job is over the line for me.

        I resisted thew draft by refusing to register. I also turned down an appointment to West Point.

        I'm no hero for doing this, unlike someone like Meteor Blades. I knew that the US Attorney for Northern Illinois was not prosecuting people for resiting the draft.  

        I also knew that I would never pass the physical. I had scoliosis and I was almost legally blind. I had actually pointed these facts out to the Lt. Colonel who came to my house to recruit me. He told me that the doctor who does the medical exams for West Point is an Army doctor and army doctors see what they are told to see.

         I continued to refuse registering until a few years later, Aafter the war was winding down. a pair of FBI Agents contacted me and instructed me that if I didn't register in 30 days, they would be back to arrest me.  I caved after 27 days and registered. I was never called up. The draft was much, much smaller than at its peak.

        Here's my take on it - the revolution will not be blogged, it has to be slogged. - Deoliver47

        by OIL GUY on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 08:58:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm glad that others are using this diary (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CanyonWren, Aunt Martha, JesseCW, OIL GUY

          as a venue for relating their own draft stories. Thanks for telling yours, and for your principled stand... even if you disapprove of the choice I made.

          When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

          by PhilJD on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:01:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It was the PSYCHIATRIST. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PhilJD, JesseCW, melfunction

          He was the perfect person to show disrespect in order to avoid being drafted. Good lord, that little tidbit is lost on intelligent folks on this thread, you included.

          "You are not even aware of what is possible. The extent of their capabilities is horrifying."Edward Snowden -6.62, -6.92

          by CanyonWren on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:38:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  So, you were undraftable and really didn't (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PhilJD, OIL GUY

          have to face the choices PhilJD did.

          Welcome to the Whole Foods of the blogosphere.

          by JesseCW on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 12:08:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I resisted in the best way I could. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW, PhilJD

            I could have registered, and if I was called up, I would have failed the physical which would qualify me for a 1-F classification - meaning I would never have been called up.

            I chose a path with some risk. It was a 5 year sentence for refusing to register. I had some sleepless nights about Nixon replacing that US Attorney. But in the end I caved in.

            My biggest regret was turning down West Point. That was a childhood dream. I know that I did the right thing, but I do sometimes wonder how my life would have been different.

            I don't intend to denigrate Phil's decision in any way. It was a tough derision. I have friends who went to Canada, pulled all kinds of stunts to beat the physical, and even one that deserted.

            I also know a number of guys who went. Only a few of them saw combat.

             We all did what we thought best for us. Some of us were ideological, others were merely trying to keep their asses from getting blown off.

            As I said, I was no hero. My refusal to register did not change the course of the war. I did it because I thought it was right. Maybe because I share a birthday with Mohammed Ali and I was following his example. maybe it was because I was very involved in the anti-war movement in Chicago.

            Here's my take on it - the revolution will not be blogged, it has to be slogged. - Deoliver47

            by OIL GUY on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 03:02:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I got lucky (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilJD, JesseCW

    I was in the last year of the draft and drew a lottery number high enough to avoid getting called up.

  •  Spitting? Really? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilJD

    I can't say I approve of that, but I don't know what I'd have done under duress in that situation, so I'm trying not to judge. I cleverly dodged the draft by being born in 1962.

    The Bush Family: 0 for 4 in Wisconsin

    by Korkenzieher on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 08:12:58 AM PDT

  •  I'm not going to blame any 18 year old for (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilJD, AJayne, BigAlinWashSt

    the decisions they made when faced with involuntary servitude.  No 18 year old knows enough to have an informed position, and the societal pressures brought to bear by Them are considerable.

    When I was 16, I wanted to join the USMC and kill commies for Jesus.  By age 20, things had changed.

    I've got 4 Vietnam stories to tell, besides my own.  I passed my physical and was 1A, but then the lottery came and I got No. 175, which spared me making the hard decision.  The only dead folks I saw were the ones the NationaL Guard waxed at Kent State when students protested the illegal invasion of Cambodia by Nixon

    Jimmy W. went right out of high school.  He was a grunt in 'Nam.  Every morning his platoon would go out on patrol, come back around noon, start smoking the doobies.  One day, the the second louie tells them they're going back out on patrol in the afternoon. So Jimmy's sitting in the chopper spacing out and he looks out the open door and thinks the green of the tree tops is the ground, so he step out into the treetops, falls like a pachinko ball, and winds up with a busted ankle.  He gets Medivacced, the platoon lands in a hot LZ and they all get killed.
    Don B. flunked out of college and got drafted.  He was a big strong kid and they had him toting a machine gun for his tour.  He gets back to Ohio safe and sound, and two weeks later he's riding his motorcycle out Rt 5 to the pool hall in Kent and a farmer pulls out in front of him in a beat-up Ford pickup truck.  One of our mutual buddies, Gary, was two cars back and saw Don fly thru the air and land like a sack of potatoes.
    Ron Y. was a fly boy, complete with leather jacket and silk scarf. One night at a party there was a vet there who said he served on the same carrier as Ron.  His job was to schlep the ammo from below decks up to the flight deck and load the planes.  It's a crazy hot day (100 degrees down in the hold) so this guy gets on an officer's only escalator and he's halfway up when he hears a voice say: NO ENLISTED ON THE LIFT.  He looks up and sees a flyboy outlined against the sky, and as he steps off the escalator and carries the heavy ammo up he notices the name tag saying Ron Y. When he gets on the flight deck, the first plane he's gonna service has Ron's name on it, so when he loads the machine guns, he pops the first few starter slugs out of the belt, which means the guns won't shoot.  Ron never came back from that flight.
    BJ was airborne, Death From Above, the whole deal.  He spent his days jumping out of airplanes or choppers and killing as many VC or ARVN's as he could.  At night, he would go out in the boonies to these little hutches where you had to leave your weapons outside,  He'd check his firearms, go in and buy opium and smoke it with the VC.  Everyone would carry a hand-grenade in with them so there wouldn't be any hijinks.
    What do the stories tell us?  I dunno?  Life is precious, war sucks, old men lie, young men die.
    Forget it, Jake; it's Chinatown

    Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

    by bobdevo on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 08:15:18 AM PDT

    •  Always the old who lead us to the war, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobdevo, JesseCW

      When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

      by PhilJD on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 08:23:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What do the stories tell us? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mikidee

      Your stories tell us you're not the best fiction writer of war stories.  Hardly anything you've made up would be believable for those of us who were there.

      Fictional story 1:  Assuming "Jimmy" got so fucked up he couldn't tell tree tops from blades of grass, falling from that height with combat gear would do a hell of a lot more damage than a broken ankle.

      Fictional story 2:  Well, OK, this could have happened because motorcycle accidents occur on rural roads in the U.S.  Not sure what this has to do with Vietnam.

      Fictional story 3:  I'm trying to figure out how "Ron Y." was at a party after he was killed by a shipmate.

      Fictional story 4:  There was only ONE large unit combat jump during the entire Vietnam war; it was done by the 173rd Airborne brigade in the late 1960s.  Killing ARVNs was frowned upon.  

      You are either as gullible as they come or you have an active imagination.  The war was bad enough without you making shit up.

      TEA PARTIES: Something little girls do with their imaginary friends.
      (-6.75 -6.51)

      by flygrrl on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:23:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They're all true, they're not fiction and (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BigAlinWashSt, PhilJD

        you don't know what  you're talking about.

        1.  He fell thru the trees and the the tree limbs breaking cushioned his fall, all he got was some scratches and a broken ankle.

        2. Duh, let me eplain what it has to do with Vietnam: They guy survived 'Nam to die within two weeks back home safe.  It's both true and a comment on the vagaries of life.

        3.  "One night at a party there was a vet there who said he served on the same carrier as Ron. "  Learn to fucking read, it would help your reading comprehension.

        4. This guy was 101st airborne rode in helicopters. My understanding he also did jumps from planes.  ARVN is a typo - I meant NVA.  

        None of this shit was made up - you weren't there - you didn't know these guys - I did.  If you don't like the stories say so - Otherwise, fuck off, they're true and you're clueless.

        Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

        by bobdevo on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:45:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually I was there (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bobdevo, Otteray Scribe

          July 1967 - July 1968.  Charlie company, 1/327th Infantry, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division.  The 101st had only one brigade in-country until the beginning of '68 when it brought the other two over and declared them to be "Airmobile."  Before the Airmobile thing happened someone decided I had a mission-critical MOS (43E2P -- Parachute Rigger) so they pulled me, anyone else in a line unit that was equally blessed, and sent us all to Cam Ranh Bay, where I only got mortared once during the remainder of my tour.

          I apologize for doubting the veracity of your stories, but they did push credibility a bit, despite all the weird shit that happened during that time.

          TEA PARTIES: Something little girls do with their imaginary friends.
          (-6.75 -6.51)

          by flygrrl on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 11:38:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Ron Y's name? (0+ / 0-)

          The Wall lists several individuals with a first name of Ronald and a surname beginning with Y - none of whom carry the rank of a naval or Marine aviator.

          Sounds like a war story....

          I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

          by Wayward Wind on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 03:16:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You calling me a liar? (0+ / 0-)

            I'll send you an e-mail with a link.  Then you can go get fucked.

            Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

            by bobdevo on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 06:31:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, what I said was that (0+ / 0-)

              it sounded like a war story; that or the guy telling you the name got it wrong.

              Turns out that the name you PMed was indeed a KIA USMC pilot; however, since he died in a crash caused by a mechanical problem while ferrying an OV-10 from Da Nang for redeployment. No carrier involvement.

              So the story that you relayed was exactly what I said it sounded like - a war story...

              This conversation is over...

              I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

              by Wayward Wind on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 08:52:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  A cousin of mine, now a dean at Dartmouth, (7+ / 0-)

    Planned to write his Ph.D thesis while spending time in the Federal pen after refusing to be drafted.  He and a friend, rather than burning their draft cards, mailed them back. Much to his surprise, his draft status was reclassified and he wrote his thesis somewhere other than Leavenworth.  While this was going on, FBI agents went to the high school where his father taught, pulled his father out of class and asked him if he knew what his son was doing.  His answer: "Yes and I'm damn proud of him!"  Thus ended the FBI interrogation.

    If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? When I am only for myself, then what am "I"? And if not now, when?

    by betorah on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 08:22:12 AM PDT

  •  I saw the title of this diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flygrrl, Dburn, Otteray Scribe

    and thought "Hey! Who let Dick Cheney post here?"

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 08:26:05 AM PDT

  •  Good for you Phil (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilJD, JesseCW, OleHippieChick

    after the mistreatment they put you through.  I also think of Arlo and wonder at how the military then needed psychiatrists to make sure we were sane enough to go kill a bunch of people because of ...  well, communist dominoes.

    I went over to the sargent, said, "Sargeant, you got a lot a damn gall to Ask me if I've rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean, I mean that just, I'm Sittin' here on the bench, I mean I'm sittin here on the Group W bench 'cause you want to know if I'm moral enough join the army, burn women, Kids, houses and villages after bein' a litterbug." He looked at me and Said, "Kid, we don't like your kind, and we're gonna send you fingerprints Off to Washington."
    I had a draft number too but at that time we didn't know how fast the war was winding down.  Maybe the winding down of the war and draft was the reason for the status change.

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 08:36:28 AM PDT

  •  A friend of mine, a photographer, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilJD, Satya1, JesseCW

    got his draft notice, went straight outside and stared fixedly up into the sun until it burned a hole in his retina. He figured a lifetime of partial blindness was preferable.

    Another friend used a VERY unique method of creating blood in his urine. Too lengthy to go into here, but quite creative...and effective.

    I'd back anyone who used any means to get "out of the draft."

    Rick Perry doesn't think there should be a minimum wage
    and Ted Nugent doesn't think there should be a minimum age. Merica
    ---> @LOLGOP

    by smileycreek on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 08:57:09 AM PDT

  •  My dad (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilJD, Satya1, JesseCW

    born in '49 ran out of money for college deferment after his AA.  Thought he would get a technical job in the Army like his dad did (radar op seebees).

    he went into the general draft.

    to Mekong

    to the DMZ boarding Laos

    stepped on a landmine

    Lost his leg and most of his left hand

    became a fishing boat captain

    Suffers from severe PTSD to this day.

  •  Friend of mine went on a starvation diet (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilJD, Satya1, JesseCW, OleHippieChick

    Ate nothing but sauteed cabbage for weeks until his physical when he was rejected for being underweight.  I think he had to report back in a couple of months for a recheck but kept on his diet and was even lighter then.

    In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. - George Orwell, 1984

    by Ammo Hauler on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:26:19 AM PDT

  •  I'm a vet, but it doesn't matter except when it (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilJD, Agathena, JesseCW

    matters, i.e., it doesn't matter to them except when it matters to them and it won't matter to them if it matters to me.  That's the way it is.

    "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:55:02 AM PDT

  •  In 1965 I was on a football scholarship (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM, PhilJD, wasatch, 2strange, JesseCW, Satya1

    at the University of Oklahoma, but through a series of happenstances, mostly of my own making, by June 1966, I ended up in South Lake Tahoe working in a service station and playing in a rock and roll band and without a student deferment.  
         In August 1966 my Uncle Sam came calling and invited me back to Oklahoma for a draft physical.  Being very conservative, being embarrassed by screwing up at OU and wanting to make amends, having a father and many uncles who served in WWII, and believing that Communism needed to be stopped, I joined the Army and volunteered for service in Vietnam.  I was still 18.  
    After all of the tests it was determined that I was officer material.  I graduated from Infantry OCS at 19 as a second lieutenant in the Infantry.  I turned 21 in Vietnam in 1968 and in February 1969 was wounded for the third time and evacuated.  Spent a few months in hospital and then back to active duty.  After 4 years in the Army, I went back to college on a football scholarship at Southwestern Oklahoma State (was considering pharmacy school and SW had a top notch one).
         The physical wounds were a minor hindrance, but the mental wounds (undiagnosed PTSD) and undiagnosed alcohol and drug addiction precluded me from playing more than one year.  By 1970 I had turned against the war and once out of the Army joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War and became a card carrying liberal and remain that today.  I salute those who had the courage to join and fight in that awful war, as well as those who chose not to do so, many of whom showed as much (or more) courage to resist as those who chose to fight.  I am also glad those who chose to resist the draft for other reasons did so—we had enough young men and women come home in a box, whether that box was physical or mental.  
         In 1982 I got sober (AA) and began dealing with PTSD. My life is truly blessed (not in the religious sense). Not all combat vets are as fortunate as me. I will close with a story of three combat vets with whom I shared a house while at SW.  All three were named Mike, all had been wounded in Vietnam, all had been exposed to Agent Orange (as was I) and all were members of VVAW.  
         The first Mike to die, committed suicide while we were still in college; the second Mike died a few years later of cancer from Agent Orange poisoning; the third Mike died over 40 years later from Hepatitis C from blood transfusions received in Vietnam.  All died because of their service in Vietnam, yet their names will never be on the Wall. Although I know it’s not rational and I have successfully dealt with survivor guilt for many years, I feel guilty because I survived and they didn’t.  And to those combat vets from any war who still suffer, there is a way out.  Contact a Vet Center or even the VA—these are generally good people who want to help.

    •  As you know far better than I do, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, Satya1

      there are far too many stories like yours. Thanks for telling it.

      When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

      by PhilJD on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 10:39:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And thank you for (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilJD, Satya1

        your story and for starting the discussion.

        •  I was housemates for awhile with a Vietnam vet. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, Satya1

          He was actually Canadian so he didn't face the draft, but he volunteered for the US Army because he believed in the "cause" of fighting communism.

          He showed me a picture once taken over there of maybe eight GIs. He pointed to himself in the photo and said softly

          I'm the only one still alive.
          I didn't know him before he served, but mutual friends who did know him "before" said he wasn't the same guy at all. For sure, the young and hopeful man in the photo looked 20 years younger than my agonized friend, even though this was only three or four years later.

          When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

          by PhilJD on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 11:10:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  thanks for sharing your story (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilJD, psychodrew, OleHippieChick

    I am glad you were not drafted and I don't blame anyone for trying to get out of being sent to Vietnam. It was a horrible war and the draft was a terrible policy.

  •  People were doing anything possible (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Satya1, PhilJD

    to get out the draft where I lived in Queens NYC. 1967-68. We hung with musicians and assorted minor criminal types
    They tried to get OHD five times to Ft. Hamilton Bklyn. We teased guys' hair, made them up, if they wanted to come on as gay; we were ingesting tremendous quantities of drugs, so OHD was a bit crazy the whole time.
    Some guys wore no underwear, shot up wine or stabbed themselves on the bus to Ft. Ham.
    K-reist, they were ugly times. I had just given my fingerprints to the FBI in order to work at punching Addressograph plates for Morgan Guaranty Bank on Wall St., of all disgusting places.
    The fifth time at Ft. Ham, OHD, busted out of the waiting room for the psych by climbing over a multitude of folding chairs; he had on cowboy boots with no socks, took three trains and a bus and walked home to our Queens pad; he thought he was followed the entire way and his blistered feet and fried mind were total wreckage. Man, we really had to dry out after that one.
    OHD finally went to the Quakers in Flushing, NY, for advice. He wrote the draft board that what they saw was what they get. If they called him up again, he would be in exactly the same condition he'd been the five times they Ft. Hammed him. He got some ultra weird classification that I don't remember.
    He knows he would have died in VN from OD. Some China White would've come his way and.....blue flame. The thought of his going was terrifying for us both.
    We were 18-19, ffs. I'd already seen firstie guys from high school come back in 1966-67 who were very damaged, the war spit them back out into real life. I find no fault spitting on the psych. Every person did what they had to do, whether stay or go.

    "He went to Harvard, not Hogwarts." ~Wanda Sykes
    Teh Twitterz, I'z awn dem.
    Blessinz of teh Ceiling Cat be apwn yu, srsly.

    by OleHippieChick on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 02:30:31 PM PDT

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