TOP 10

The following is a list of well-known Americans who legally avoided the Vietnam draft using techniques available under the system.


  1. Former President Bill Clinton
    He used a student deferment, then a commitment to the ROTC at the University of Arkansas, to avoid the draft. After his lottery number on December 1, 1969 came up high (number 311) he backed out of the ROTC commitment.
  2. Former President George W. Bush
    He was accepted into the Texas National Guard, supposedly due to his family’s influence. At the time, Guard duty was not likely to involve combat service overseas.  His apparently less-than-diligent Guard service was scrutinized in the media but a backlash over questionable information forced Dan Rather to leave CBS.
  3. Former vice-president Dan Quayle
    Like George W. Bush, he was able to get into the National Guard.
  4. Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert
    Deferred because of “a bad knee”.
  5. Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott
    Received a “hardship” deferment due to the birth of a son.
  6. Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani
    He had a student deferment for a time, then received an “occupational deferment” as a law clerk when the judge who employed him requested a deferment.  Law clerk was not generally considered to be a protected occupation by the Selective Service.
  7. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich
    Received student deferment.
  8. Former Governor of Vermont, later Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean
    He received a medical deferment due to “an unfused vertebrae”.
  9. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas
    Received student deferment .
  10. Political commentator Rush Limbaugh
    He received a medical deferment due to a pilonidal cyst on his rear end.  His number in the 1970 lottery was 152, and the highest number called from that lottery was 125, so he would not have been called even without his pain in the ass.