I got married in 1966 and tried to get in the reserves or national guard in just about every county in the state. I took the test so many times that I could virtually take it and make 100% in about 15 minutes. All to no avail, however, since if a unit did have an opening, it seemed it was given to a relative or someone who was more politically astute than I was.
When I was a college senior, I attended Middle Georgia College in the summer of 1969 just to take a political science course and the college mistakenly sent a notice to the draft board that I was a first quarter freshman. No one even considered that there had to be some mistake, and I was re-classified as I-A. I got the draft notice and a one-way ticket to Fort Jackson. I sat there for a week while everyone who had gone up with me got shipped out. Then I was sent back home to have my appearance before the local draft board since they had not followed the proper procedure.
I told the board that I was no better suited to do military service than anyone else and I would like to finish school, but if it was my turn, I was ready to go and when I came back, if I came back, they could send me to college. One old coot, Mr Davis, recommended that they put my ass in the Army. The other two voted against him and instead gave me a I-SC deferment. This meant that I had one year max to finish or flunk out or quit college or turn 24, before reporting for active duty.
Guess what—I was not going to finish college before I turned 24 in January, 1970. I had only about 4 months left and I really turned the heat up on getting into the reserves. My wife and I had our first child on November 18 and that certainly added more pressure to the pot as I only had 45 days until I was getting the big haircut.
The lottery was held the month before my 24th birthdayand I drew number 257. Sitting by the radio with my family that day, I had an empty feeling from not being able to actually go into the service. Not having the opportunity of being able to tell the stories of serving our country and not being able to stand up with the veterans who did serve. I am proud of each and every one of them and appreciate what they did for our country and honor them in every way that I possibly can.