Project 100,000

Initiated by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara

I first became aware of the Department of Defense ‘Project 100,000’ when it was posted on the Charlie Troop 1/9th Message Board the other day.

I often wondered how some men I was in boot camp with got into the Army with either their physical or mental shortfalls; now I know. I just hope they fared well in Vietnam and later in life.

Project 100,000 was initiated in October 1966 during American involvement in the Vietnam War and ended in December 1971. It was Considered part of the Johnson’s Great Society by giving training and opportunity to the uneducated and poor.

The men recruited or drafted under this program did not receive the same training as other recruits and draftees after Basic Training was completed. Mr. McNamara and his “Whiz Kids” insisted that these men had to be put into virtually all fields, and this was a disaster.


Filed under Vietnam War

12 responses to “Project 100,000

  1. Hank Thomas

    A special friend made me aware of your blog. I was in C TRP in 67-68. I have some photos that I hope to post later. I’ll be busy reading your posts.
    Cavalier 35

  2. usastruck

    Welcome Home Hank! Always great to hear from another Charlie Trooper.
    Looking forward to your photos…

  3. Gus bryant

    What a shame for these usof a I was in the air force at that time and was not aware of any such happenings. I am so very sorry that our goverment did such a thing, it just makes me wonder how many other things like this our leaders did or are doing. I am about fed up with our leaders if one can call them that, I feel so ashamed. GOD speed,

    • I was a Technical Instructor @ Chanute AFB from 1972 through 1976 & once had a 4 man class (yep all male) that had AQE scores similar to the following: 9, 11, 7 with a 40 in mechanical aptitude. Forty was the minimum possible score to qualify to be a vehicle mechanic. Somehow those scores look just a weee bit fishy. I don’t think those guys were smart enough to write their own names, but get exactly 40 in that 1 score??? They were all Project 100,000 guys who I failed 3 straight times. Before the third exam of the 2 week block of instruction I even had them to my house for dinner and a study session. When all 4 again failed the exam, they were given another instructor who passed them all the first time.

      • Disgusted

        Just now saw this. I was an instructor in an electronics course at Chanute. It was easy to tell who Project 100,000s were by behavior or lack of success. DAILY afternoon Remedial Instruction was a certainty, as was inevitable washout and reassignment to lesser skilled AFSCs. I’d be very surprised if any got through and made it to aircraft maintenance units in the field. I certainly hope not, and I never saw evidence of it when my instructor tour ended and I returned to the field. Project 100,000 was just another reason I have had an unending hope the Johnson and McNamara are rotting in hell.

  4. John L.

    I enlisted in USAF in a hurry in May/June of ’68 and found out when in Vietnam that recruiter got me in under Project 100,000, right after I graduated from Pittsburg State University. I was simultaneously signed up for an OTS and pilot training slot. Made it through second round. Was put into Security Police School and then medic school and straight to Saigon. How I found out about 100,000 was when I had to report for a test on Tan Son Nhut…an I.Q. test. Confused the heck out of them when I told them I had 17 years of education.

  5. hgregory316

    Hi, Rob, I like your blog and I would like to send you a complimentary copy of my new book “McNamara’s Folly,” which has become an Amazon best seller.
    If you are interested, please send me your mailing address. Thanks. — Hamilton Gregory,

  6. wayne austin

    I was a TI (Training instructor/drill instructor) assigned to motivate these men who could not qualify for service under normal standards. Our unit was called “Special Training” and I was in Motivation Flight from when it started to my departure in 1969.

  7. Lloyd W Culp

    I was a commander of the Project 100,000 educational remediation unit at Fort Lewis, Washington in 1969. This unit was the only military school out of a total of thirteen. We remediated new soldiers in math and reading over a six week period with fair success. The standard was a fifth grade level of competancy. We were very pleased with our program of assistance to tjese men.

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