Thursday, August 02, 2007

Three Bad years-Vietnam

http://www.archives.gov/research/vietnam-war/casualty-statistics.html
Very few of my college classmates joined up , some became school teachers and my fellow EE classmates got defense contractor related jobs to stay out.Most of my working class neighborhood friends ended up going in for one reason or another.The National Guard and Reserves, another great place to hide, got all types from various economic classes .Gee our current Gung Ho President took this route I believe and still has not completed his part-time six years. (From RG - marine)
... From me- Navy... I was from High School Class of '67 and my class had a high percentage to go. I was a latecomer because I worked and sold off my cows and eventually muddled through 4 years of college - but joined after the #8 draft lottery (Navy-Reserves) so I could go the officer route - thinking I might even want to make it a career but later figured out I was not great military material.
It was almost a fluke I wound up in Vietnam at all. Most of my buddies from HS let the draft take them so they could get out of it over with in two years. All in our area were lower economic strata. The route Bush took was earlier than mine but if you wanted to FLY, maybe his was not a bad choice. Alas, he was in "thunderthuds" which were really meant for a nuclear bomber support fighter/bomber. These were heavy and not agile and did not have great "recycle value" after a few trips over N. Vietnam. As the war wound down Bush was becomming eligible for this type combat flying -- but the "thuds" were ALREADY out of use there and in fact by that time, ALL the forces were encouraging people to leave early to thin out the cost structure. They were probably very happy to encourage him to fly less and hurry his exit. My brother did 2 years of college (which was expensive for the family) and joined the Navy in 1968. By luck of the draw - he became a stateside based operating room technician instead of an assignment to the fleet marines. Today he is a Capt. in the Medical Service Corps - USNR. So much is fate - but for sure the draft could be avoided more easily by those with money and connections.
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