Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Military Draft

Compulsory Military Service

About 60% of eligible men escaped military service during the Vietnam era; I was not one of them. The summer of 1969 I received my induction papers from Uncle Sam.

The last military draft in the United States (U.S.) was during the Vietnam War and resulted in protests that helped engender anti-war sentiment. Though the government has not required military service since then, all men currently living in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 25 must register with the Selective Service System so that the government will have an idea of the population available in case the need for a draft in the future should arise.

Draft Board Classifications
The following is a list of Selective Service classifications
that could be assigned by draft boards:

A. Class I
1. I-A: available for military service
2. I-A-O: CO available for noncombatant military service
3. I-C: already in the military
4. I-D: reserve or ROTC
5. I-O: CO available for civilian work
6. I-S: student
7. I-W: CO performing civilian work
8. I-Y: other (catch-all classification)
B. Class II
1. II-A: Occupational deferment
2. II-C: Agricultural deferment
3. II-S: Student deferment
C. Class III
1. III-A: Extreme hardship, i.e. has a child or children
D. Class IV
1. IV-A: Prior active service or sole surviving son
2. IV-B: Official deferred by law
3. IV-C: Alien not currently liable for military service
4. IV-D: Minister of religion or divinity student
5. IV-F: Registrant not qualified for military service
E. Class V
1. V. Registrant over the age of liability for military service

The little-known protest of the Vietnam War staged from within the ranks of the military is explored in director David Zeiger’s 2005 revealing documentary. Despite the well-documented media coverage of Vietnam War protests that took place on college campuses across the nation, few people but the most ardent history buffs remain aware of the massive protests that flourished in U.S. barracks and military bases at home and abroad.

Sir! No Sir! A Film About The Gi Movement Against The War In Vietnam.


Filed under Vietnam War

USO in Vietnam

United Service Organization

The USO is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the troops by providing morale, welfare and recreation-type services to our men and women in uniform; G.I.’s “home away from home.”

Bob Hope USO Show in Long Binh 1970

Miss America USO Show in 1/9th helicopter hanger at Phuoc Vinh
Susan Anton (3rd from left)

Much of the entertainment in Vietnam was provided by Filipino house bands; they played mainly in EM and Officer clubs.
Photo courtesy of Jordan Green

Photo courtesy of Walker Jones


Filed under Vietnam War

Helmet Graffiti

Troops in Vietnam found a way to express themselves

When I arrived in Vietnam in March of 1970, one of the first things ‘Uncle Sam’ issued to me was a steel pot; the military called it the M-1 helmet. It felt like it weighed half a ton when you first put it on your newly shaved (basic training) head. A short time later, I traded it for a much lighter and more fashionable boonie hat.

Prior to the Vietnam War, what was most commonly seen on helmets were rank insignia and unit designations.

In this June 18, 1965 file photo, an unidentified U.S. Army soldier wears a hand lettered “War Is Hell” slogan on his helmet, in Vietnam. “Larry Wayne Chaffin, is the American soldier of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in the Iconic Vietnam War photo taken on June 18, 1965, by the late Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographer Horst Faas. The war ended on April 30, 1975, with the fall of Saigon, now known as Ho Chi Minh City, to communist troops from the north. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)

Short Timers Calendar with Zippo

John Wayne signed helmets during his visit to the 7th Marines at Chu Lai in June of 1966 (SSG Fleetwood/Marine Corps/National Archives).

During Operation Ashburn, south of Da Nang in Decmber 1967, a member of the 5th Marine Regiment scans the jungle for signs of enemy activity (Sgt. Dickman/Marine Corps/National Archives).

From Armchair General Forum

A member of the 3rd Marines decorated both his helmet and his flack jacket (GYSGT Gus Apsitis/Marine Corps/National Archives).

A squadron leader’s camouflaged helmet helps him blend in with his surroundings during a mission in 1966 (U.S. Army/National Archives).



A soldier of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, relaxes June 24, 1970, before pulling out of Fire Support Base Speer, six miles inside the Cambodian border. (Photographer unknown)


The helmet says it all (Photographer unknown)


Filed under Vietnam War