I was a senior at Southern Illinois University and was preparing to watch the lottery on TV that December night when a friend called and said ‘you’re number 4″. I was shocked because I did not see it on TV. I learned later that TV airing was delayed. In any case, I took a job as a private school teacher in March 1970 and felt assured that a deferment was forthcoming. However, I had not applied and teacher deferments had ended and I received a draft notice in March 1971.
A month later a local politician told me he could arrange for a US Army reserve position and I just felt that was wrong somehow and decided to accept my fate and reported for induction April 23, 1971, and was sent to Ft. Lewis,Wa. for basic. Basic was difficult for sure , but I survived and received THE AMERICAN HONOR AND SPIRIT MEDAL. On the last day, I was awarded a MOS to report to Ft. Hamilton, NYC and train as a Chaplain’s Asst. I applied for the position while in basic because of my year-long experience as a teacher in a parochial school.
I reported to Ft. Hood, Texas in October 1971 and was assigned to assist Major Peterson, a Lutheran minister at the 19th. Street Chapel. A month or so after reporting to Ft. Hood, I was held up by two drug-addicted African Americans on post one evening and the culprits were never apprehended. I was furious and wrote a letter to III Corps Commander George Seniiff indicating my disgust. I was summoned to his office and after a few words, I was asked if I would be interested in working at the Corps level and help set up a race relations program.
Long story short I reported January 1972 to a Command Sergeant Major Bodenhamer and for two months prepared a document to set up what we called RACIAL HARMONY TEAM. The program met with some success. However, I became convinced the real problem was conscription. Further research supported this claim. I returned to the Army as a civilian in 1986/87 as a high school teacher at Karlsruhe, Germany and was amazed at the good order and discipline realized by an All-Volunteer Army.