I graduated medical school in 1969 and became immediately eligible for the draft, months before the first lottery. I was accepted for a fine residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in surgery. However the position was contingent on me having some type of military deferment. I applied for all the options of the Berry Plan. I was fortunate to find a position in the MO Army National Guard with an 8-year commitment. This required monthly, two-day, week-end drills and two-week summer camps for 8 years. My residency allowed only two weeks off, so I essentially had no vacation for 8 years.

I completely resigned from the Army after the 8-year commitment. Several years later an Army recruiter convinced me to return. I was called up for the Desert Shield and Desert Storm campaigns, and spent seven months living on the desert in Saudi Arabia. And then again I was called up for the Kosovo conflict. I was advanced to full Colonel and I’ve been impressed with the retirement benefits including health care insurance. The decision concerning the military made in June of 1969 certainly was major, mostly positive.