I remember it like it was yesterday. About 40 young men all crowded into the Television Room of the Sigma Chi Fraternity House on the campus of the University of Kentucky in Lexington. I really can’t remember the month … just the moment. As birthdates were pulled and posted, guys were either slowly peeling out of the room with heads down or jumping out of their chairs with restrained joy. I was a tweener and wasn’t sure were I stood at 108 … so I went down to the draft board to check my status.
Only THEN did I fiind out what the IV-A status on my draft card meant. Until then I had never paid any attention to it. I was the sole surviving son of a veteran killed in action. Lt. Cmdr. B. T. Pugh gave up his life as a Navy fighter pilot on a cold December day in 1951 when I was two years old. He flew off of the U.S.S. Valley Forge and had won the DSC a few days earlier.
As a IV-A classification, I was not going to be called. Several of my very close friends either enlisted, jumped into a campus ROTC program, or just went out and got drunk … awaiting their fate. A few didn’t return.
I was from a small town called Vanceburg, Kentucky with population of 1200 people. But we had a LOT of young men go into that hell hole of Vietnam and either came back very changed youmg men or didn’t return at all. There is a monument to them on the banks of the Ohio River along with every other resident of that county who died in wars over the last 20 decades.