Skip to comments.After nearly 40 years in uniform, one of Army's last draftees says farewell at Redstone Arsenal
Posted on 08/26/2011 6:50:04 PM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner
It's a surprise, at first, how comfortable Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Mellinger and his boss, Gen. Ann Dunwoody, seem talking with each other in her office. But the respect between the soldiers is quickly obvious. And just as obvious is that the four-star leader of the Army Materiel Command is going to miss her top sergeant.
Mellinger was drafted into the Army on April 18, 1972, and is believed to be the Army's last continuously serving enlisted draftee. After nearly 40 years in uniform, he is retiring this year. In a Change of Responsibility ceremony this morning at AMC's new headquarters on Redstone Arsenal, he'll pass his duties on to another command sergeant major and say farewell.
"The Army goes rolling along. No matter how good you are - or think you are - nobody's indispensable, nobody's irreplaceable," said Mellinger.
Mellinger was 19 and living in Eugene, Ore., hanging drywall for a living, when he got the "Greetings from the President of the United States" in 1972. There's a history of service in Mellinger's family - he's a member of Sons of the American Revolution - and there was no question about whether he would be inducted, despite the way the Vietnam War was roiling America.
"I've always been proud of being a draftee. I think I'm a good soldier," Mellinger said. "I haven't always done everything exactly right - as none of us have. But the notion that draftees are bad people because they got drafted is nonsense, and anybody that perpetuates that is ill informed and uninformed."
(Excerpt) Read more at blog.al.com ...
A great American. We owe him a debt that can never be repaid.
Draft notices!!! Man, I got my draft notice in the mail at my mom’s house, 6 weeks AFTER I was already in basic training!!!! Somehow the draft board did not know that I had already joined up!!! :-)
>>But the notion that draftees are bad people because they got drafted is nonsense, and anybody that perpetuates that is ill informed and uninformed.”<
Are you listening Hollywood?
And being hit by 27 IED's!!! Good grief!
Not quite a dull a life as pushing paper across a desk, eh?
Just for laughs you should have had your Mom write back that you refuse to join because the US military wasn’t a professional enough organization for you and that joining the IDF would be a much better career choice. LOL! Then watch the draft board wax apoplectic!
Thank you for your service!
Well done Sgt. Major, well done!
There are very few men that I respect the moment I meet them but any Sgt. Major has my respect the moment they enter a room. Every organization in the world should have people like this.
Few Americans understand that our NCO’s are what truly make our military the best in the world.
I remember those days of the draft notice and how the govt eventually subjected young men in
college to the draft, no more college exemption, for the sake of fairness. My fellow male college students were none too happy.
Draft... we don’t need no stiiinking draft
Joined at age 16, two deployments to Nam and out before I was twenty.
Two college degrees courtesy of my old Uncle Sam.
Great story ! I am thinking of the time when he got drafted, I was going into Kindergarten at the time ! Almost a lifetime for me !
I have a friend who has the distinction of being the last draftee by his draft board
Is whatever that is on the left supposed to be a real person?
She works to make sure our troops are supplied and ready for action and, judging from her CSM selection, is a good judge of character and leadership.
My son ships overseas for a one year mission soon. Since she’s part of keeping him supplied, she has my respect.
“My son ships overseas for a one year mission soon.”
God bless you and your son.
Levante (former Squid)
Man, the intensity of those times was something rare to experience.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.