Avoiding The Draft

I wish I could hate Trump for his draft avoidance. I dislike pretty much everything else about him.

Trump is a few years older than me. I brilliantly dropped out of college at the height of Vietnam. The lottery happened just as I became eligible.

I will not lie. I plotted ways to beat the physical. Word was if you rode between cars on the LIRR from Downtown Brooklyn to Jamaica (nearly all tunnel) your hearing would be impaired for a few hours or longer.

Yes, I tried it to see if it worked. It did. I would have used it had it been needed.

In December ’69 America was strongly divided on the war, but its support was on the wane. We didn’t have the Internet or cable TV to fan the flames, but 500,000 marched on DC at the Moratorium, including me. I was and still am dovish.

I didn’t want to head out to Asia and get killed in a war we had no business being involved in. I thank those who did serve and probably didn’t want to go either. I was never angry with you. There but for the grace of god go I.

December 10, 1969 was the day. I was late getting home as the draft lottery began.

At the time I was living in the WRYT transmitter building in the Lynn Marsh in Saugus, MA. The building was on stilts. You crossed a rickety boardwalk to get there from the road. There was an actual pipe organ inside (driven by a converted vacuum cleaner).

The first twenty or so dates had already been picked when I tuned in. They hit 100… then 200… I was getting fidgety. We hit 300. I still hadn’t heard my birth date. July 26 came in #303.

Saved.

My mom’s birthday was #1.

We don’t have a selective service draft today. We don’t pull kids off the street and send them to fight. Our military is different, more professional. Fifty years ago it was grunts in the field with minimal protection.

If drafted I would have served. There was never a thought of Canada. I was lucky to get my wish without having to cheat. I would not have been above cheating, trying to throw the odds more in my favor.

If my dad had been rich or had connections I would have asked his help.

Don’t judge Donald on this if you weren’t there. Everything else, open season.

5 Responses to “Avoiding The Draft”

  1. Shirley says:

    While I’m definitely NOT a Donald fan, you’re assessment of that time is spot on. I agree that we shouldn’t condemn him for doing what so many others did, or would have done. The thing about The Donald is that we don’t have to judge him about his draft decision because he comes up with new, contemptible things every day!

  2. KE4GNK says:

    Yeah, but The Donald is fun to watch–I hope he wears mint-flavored shoes, since he has one foot or the other in his mouth a lot…

  3. KE4GNK says:

    And yeah, I’m a plankowner in the Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club..and I didn’t want to be a member either. It beat the alternatives…

  4. Neil S says:

    I vividly remember that time in our history as well. I had a Senatorial appointment to the Air Force Academy and a lottery number of 310. Being of a liberal bent then as well as now…..I chose not to go to the USAFA, while also knowing I wouldn’t be drafted. I have always respected those who chose to serve, and those who served via the draft. They were, and continue to be the true heroes who served for all of us! I salute all those heroes who came home as well as those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and did not.

  5. KE4GNK says:

    That was a turbulent, scary period.

    Imagine the response we got, being in uniform in San Francisco at the height of the protests. The Navy wisely (unusually so) allowed us to keep and wear civilian clothes off the ship to gain a little camouflage…shot at several times going on and off the base. Spat upon, and k=called a baby-killer. Lovely folks.

    The peace-lovers could get dangerously violent at times. (What irony?)

    Won’t talk much about the 19 sticks of dynamite bomb found on our ship just a few feet away from where I was on watch, the sabotage, and the multiple crashed airplanes and pilot deaths caused by more “peace-loving’ sorts active at the time…just glad I survived the experiences and remained more or less sane…althoug sometimes I feel sanity is overrated (grin).

    Glad all that is behind us now, mostly.

Leave a reply