Army Veteran. Specialist 5th. Class
No lottery when I got drafted in '67. Johnson ordered a massive build up of ground troops then. If you weren't a full time student and could breathe, your options were: to go in & make the best of it, or evade the draft & flee to Canada, or get a a few years in Federal prison. I chose to make the best of it and go in...fortunately I lucked out. After basic I did my AIT in offset printing and did the rest of my service in Japan at a U.S. Printing Ctr.
The problem is the Military Industrial Complex that Eisenhower warned about did indeed take over. We've been involved in perpetual wars as long as I've been alive and it won't end - too much money to be made and the military needs them to remain in a position of power. Things came to a head in the sixties with Vietnam (I was in the '70 draft lottery) and the public finally revolted. The government realized they couldn't keep the war machine going without public support so they ended the draft and went to a volunteer military. As long as enough people volunteer the war machine will remain viable and we'll keep initiating wars. It's simply an ingrained business model now that people have been conditioned to accept. As far as the draft, I saw first hand what it did to the country during the Vietnam era. Nope, I don't support a draft.
what Im saying is...............................
If I was born in 54 lottery number 69.................
and I wasn't drafted.................
they how could anybody born in 55 have been drafted?
let it go bro.....................................................
what Im saying is...............................
If I was born in 54 lottery number 69.................
and I wasn't drafted.................
they how could anybody born in 55 have been drafted?
let it go bro.....................................................
I see what you are saying. And it only took you 3 posts over several days to get there.

An intelligent contributor would have provided that information in their first reply, to point out that they have relevant experience/information.

But I guess that wouldn't have been as much fun for you. Must get boring watching the grass grow.

Gee you are such a clever old man.

I was never speaking in absolutes. Read my post ("I think I read that....")

Let it go, "bro".
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Obsessed Member
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I read a while back (can't recall the source) that 90% of the infantry who were in the Vietnam war were "drafted" and their average age was 19 yrs. old.
That is a myth. The average age of an army grunt in Vietnam was 22 years old. But there were many 19 year olds. I was 20 when I got to Vietnam (Army 11B-infantry), 21 when I got to leave the country.

This is fairly accurate, but many (most?)of those who volunteered would have never voluntered if they didn't know for sure they would be drafted soon anyway. I was such. I went in ONE day before my draft date. No way would I have been in the army back then if I had any reasonable choice in the matter.

"Fact: Assuming KIAs accurately represented age groups serving in Vietnam, the average age of an infantryman (MOS 11B) serving in Vietnam to be 19 years old is a myth, it is actually 22. None of the enlisted grades have an average age of less than 20. The average man who fought in World War II was 26 years of age. "

-Don- Reno


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I was born in early 1953 and my draft number was 260. That year they only took people up to 100 if I remember correctly. We had one person I went to High School with who had number 100, but he was already in college so he never got drafted.
Tom, (who died of cancer a couple of years ago--we were a legally married gay couple) was born in 1953. He was NOT a US citizen at that time. He got the low lottery number of 17. This was a few years before we met in 1974. Anyway, they stopped the draft just days before they probably would have called his number.

I was drafted before they even talked about a lottery system. But they did talk about an all volunteer army while I was in the army and I never believed a word of it until it actually happened. We hear perhaps mostly BS while in the army. This was around 1970 when they started talking about the changes to an all volunteer US military.

Back then, 1969, when I was drafted, they took everybody possible. Being in college didn't stop them from drafting anybody then. I went in the largest draft call ever for Vietnam, just after Nixon said he would build up the forces in Vietnam so we can let the ARVNs fight the war for themselves.

Nixon did end the war as he promised. But I doubt anybody who has been to Vietnam would believe that the ARVNs (South Vietnamese Army) could fight the war by themselves without suffering a very fast loss as happened.

And if you told them you're gay (way before DADT) they simply called you a liar and got drafted anyway.

If you joined and told them you were gay, the standard answer to that was "we won't tell anybody."

If Tom got drafted, we never would have met. We had a great 42 years together simply because he never got drafted. We first met a few years after I got out of the army.

Tom told me that he was already packed up to go back to Hong Kong if he got a draft notice. He was then an "Overseas British Subject" and could go back to Hong Kong (where he was born) at any time.

He became a US Citizen after we met in late 1974.

Tom is the Chinese guy in my Avatar. That photo was taken in Gulin, China. I am the other guy. That photo was taken in 2007.

Ho Chi Minh died the very day I got to Vietnam. I wonder who told him I arrived.;)

Vietnam was supposed to be settled by an all-Vietnam election in 1958 as mandated by the 1956 Geneva Convention.

When we discovered that the north could win even an honest election (more patriotic in the north as well as a higher population than in the south). So we decided to kill them instead. But not even that worked.

So we fight against democracy in Vietnam, where our enmey wanted such. And then many years later we try to force democracy on Iraq whre they do NOT want it (Muslims believe all law must come from God, not people).

The leaders of North Vietnam understood their enemies a lot better than we ever did:

Ho Chi Minh told his military leaders:

"We do not have to win any military objectives against the Americans, we only have to fight them until the tire and leave."
-Ho Chi Minh

He told us "You will kill ten of our men for every man we kill, but in the end, it will be you who tire of it"
-Ho Chi Minh

-Don- Reno
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Obsessed Member
Forum Supporter
This thread should be about beer!
Okay . .

In Vietnam, beer (3-2 beer, lower alcohol ) was free to us grunts in the field. So were cans of coke, as well a cigarettes by the carton (as well as in our C-rations). Back in those days, the army seemed to encourage smoking. That has changed over the years.

But just about everybody in my infantry company would trade three beers for a single can of coke.

The main reason was a warm coke tasted a lot better than a warm beer.

I can only remember one guy in my infantry company who still preferred warm beer to warm coke.

This would change when we got to a basecamp (very rare for us) where there were bars and we could get cold beer. Then many would drink beer and other types of booze.

Any age could drink then in Vietnam. They only had one rule about booze on the basecamps. That one rule was that ONLY the rank of E-6 (Staff Sergent) or above could buy the booze. He could share it with anybody, regardless of age. And that includes buying the booze in the bars, just as in the PX.

But that also meant that the E-6 was responsible for anybody he got booze for.

Any of us getting booze was rarely a problem of any type.

While in the field, all of us could get all the beer (free) we wanted when our supply helicopters came in. Rank then did not then matter.

If we can get a helicopter in without being shot at, there was no enemy solders around. Helicopters got shot at more than anything in Vietnam, was my own experience.

They would not fly in while we are in a hot area. If they get shot at while coming in, they leave and we get no supplies. It was our responsibility to provide a safe LZ for the choppers. This has been a problem at times. I have gone a couple of days a few times with no food.

They also would not fly in the rain. And some months are very wet in Vietnam.

-Don- Reno
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1911 pistolsmith
Staff member
Military used to have lots of booze. Stories from WWII where drop tanks on P47s and such were replaced with kegs.
Long history of booze especially in the Navy where Rum would last a lot longer than water so you "needed" it to survive.
I think if the politicians had a spin the service men and women would still have access to such refreshment in country. Kind of messed up to have to play by the countries' rules when they harbored people who attacked us.
Cigarettes are a bit different, everyone is against them now (with reason), but I know my brother in laws "needed" chew, energy drinks and what ever to stay awake on many missions.
If I were a politician and went to visit our guys in Afghaniraq during the wars I know what I would want to bring with me to give out.