Since Jun 30, 2002
YES I was originally a draftee (Let me re-phrase that a little, I had my name pushed up so I would be drafted earlier for convenience.) I was a drafted E-1 and retired as an 0-5.(0-6 if recalled, paid 1 day as 0-6) (1961-1992) Served in the AUS, the ARNG and the USAR. Went OCS after 5yrs EM, and was also a graduate of 2 Officer Branch Schools and C&GSC. Now retired from our own business, we travel often between the coasts and the Gulf visiting our offspring. Former NY'er who attended the same High School as Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders, Ruth Bader Ginzberg, and Norm Coleman. Like many former NY'ers of our age group we now live in Florida.
Why the draft you ask? Let me answer it this way. The purpose of the peace time draft was mainly to have a pool of trained troops that could shoot and salute if needed after serving 2 years. They would still, after discharge , have a 4 year reserve obligation. Over the years this would leave a large amount of trained troops in reserve even though they may have been in an inactive reserve status. In the case of an national emergency (i.e. WW II) there would be a large pool of trained troops ready for quick deployment with minimal training required. (note, you could be called up (drafted again) to age 40-44 under the old system)
The time factor of WW II no longer exists today, we need a good reserve base that can produce divisions, surface fleets and training cadres as rapidly as possible. Modern technology is great but you still have to occupy ground to control it. Most recent events have shown that our forces are strung out with multiple deployments. If hostilities should break out in South America, the Pacific rim and the Mid East in the same time frame, can we with the resources that are currently available handle all those regions at once? Is 2 years in the military, to serve and protect our country asking too much? We've become a nation of "let the other guy do it, I have to watch out for my own self interests, I'm too busy trying to earn my millions, I have no time too serve my country ". The best example of that was 9/11, Where were the lines at the recruiting stations on 9/12 as they were on 12/8/41? Grandpa and Dad were a generation that answered the call, (mostly via the draft). Draftees served in the Army, Navy and Marines. Volunteers dwindle eventually when things get rough. (The USMC a volunteer force needed draftees during WW II and Viet Nam) We have to maintain the strength of the armed services for them to complete their tasks. Bonuses and higher pay works fine for volunteers when you have a small force with limited deployments, but if the need for a 5-12 million man force becomes apparent (i.e. 1942-45)where are all those volunteers going to come from? The fall and winter campaign in Europe 1944-45, did you ever wonder how far Patton would have gotten without draftees?
When the draft ended we began to lose two very large "voluntary forces", those being the National Guard and Active Reserve forces. Enlistments for the units was so lacking after the draft that the units had to be continually down sized. The waiting lists that were present before the end of the draft no longer existed. Units that had been over strength were reduced so low that they had to be combined or dissolved. Many National Guard Divisions had to be reorganized and/or found themselves taking in units from under strength dissolved ARNG Divisions to maintain their own acceptable strength.
One Division I knew had over 11,000 troops at its peak with a long waiting list. One of its Battalions had about 800 members and when the Bn. was disbanded it had about 300. They did have some early success in the early 70s recruiting some prior service members, many of whom were former draftees. In so far as getting good fresh recruits, it was near hopeless. Now I don't speak for all, but had the draft remained, there would be many more "full strength" Guard and Reserve units (Made up of all volunteers of course, with a waiting list too.) available than what we have to draw from today.
This is from the History page of the 42nd Div. NYARNG: "The 42nd Division returned to its roots as a truly diversified division in 1993 when it was "consolidated" with elements of the 26th and 50th Divisions to form one National Guard division. The Division now has elements in eight different states. Soldiers from New York, Vermont, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, and New Mexico wear the famous Rainbow patch and continue the Division's tradition of service to nation, state, and community." Now do you see my point? The 26th and 50th ARNG Divisions were dissolved and their units pieced out to the 42nd to retain it's strength. During the Draft Era all three divisions were at full strength with a waiting list.
Another factor to consider, the draft provided many pretrained soldiers who had related civilian jobs that were useful to the military. Draftees brought with them work experience that was utilized. My first assignment in the Army was exactly what I did in the civilian sector as a Secondary Ed Teacher. I served with a Chiropractor who worked in the Post Hospital, an Engineer and a Carpenter that were assigned to Post Engineers, a Pop Singer (Bobby Vinton) who was a Chaplin's assistant, an Artist assigned to the Post Graphics shop, and many others who's talents were utilized in MOS's. I wonder what the army did with all those accountants they drafted? Duh, no brainer there. In my experience, I found that the draft provided a true cross section of America and a pool of mostly very reliable workers, who served honorably even though they griped and complained. I'm sure most left as a better person after their 2 year service. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule. (i.e. Category V's but we won't go there.) Those who criticize the draftees should be 53+ to have served with them. If you didn't serve with them during the time how do you know if they were effective or not? Someone submitted the names of 2 noted draftees who served well and were proud of it, Elvis Presley and General Shalikashvili. I'm sure there are millions more. I saw someone suggest that 2 a week course in rifle training should be mandatory in place of a draft. Good idea, 5 years down the line if we need those rifle trained people we'll put a 40lb pack on them and send their over weight unconditioned body out to the field.
"Jul 22,2005 11:20 AM (ET) WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Faced with major recruiting problems sparked by troop deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon has asked Congress to raise the maximum age for U.S. military enlistees from 35 to 42 years old."
MORE EXCERPTS FROM THE SAME ARTICLE:
"The new proposal would not change the limit of 39 years old for those with previous military service who seek to enlist in the Army Reserves and National Guard."
"The Army National Guard, struggling more than any other part of the U.S. military to sign up new troops amid the Iraq war, missed its ninth straight monthly recruiting goal in June 05."
"The regular Army met its recruiting goal this month, but was still 14 percent behind its year-to-date recruiting target and is in danger of missing an annual recruiting goal for the first time since 1999. The Army Reserve is 21 percent behind its year-to-date goal and also in danger of falling short for the year."
IT APPEARS THAT WE MAY NOT NEED THE DRAFT, NOW THAT DADS AND GRANDPAS MAY BE ENTICED TO RE-ENLIST SOON. The enlistment requirements have been changed to allow older people. There was a recent article of a 72 yr old(???) MD on duty? (Sarc.)
WWI: (Sept. 1917-Nov. 1918) 2,810,296
WWII: (Nov. 1940-Oct. 1946) 10,110,104
Korea: (June 1950-June 1953) 1,529,539
Vietnam: (Aug 1964- Feb 1973) 1,857,304 (14,791 Army and 613 USMC "Draftees" KIA)*
Additional stats.: Re Viet Nam, 25% (648,500) of total forces in country were draftees. (Compared to 66% of U.S. armed forces members who were drafted during WWII. The draftees were sent to all branches of the Armed Forces, Army, Navy and Marines) * Draftees accounted for 30.4% (17,725) of combat deaths in Vietnam. * Reservists killed: 5,977 * National Guard: 6,140 served: 101 died. * Total draftees (1965 - 73): 1,728,344. * Actually served in Vietnam: 38% * Marine Corps Draft: 42,633. (Some of us were quite suprized when every 5th or 10th man was pulled out of line at the induction center and told to get on the bus that went to Paris Island.) * Last man drafted: June 30, 1973. Bottom line, the draftees bitched and moaned, but they did what was asked of them. We may have had a few bad apples in the bunch but they were miniscule in the over all picture. It wasn't like there were no problems with the regulars, they had their share too with drugs, alcohol and violence. What if they draft, gays? What, you don't think they haven't in the past? Their percentages were very low. As far as drafting women, why not? Can they not do the same jobs as the WACs of the past? As far as putting them in foxholes, I would rather they didn't, unless it was strictly a last defensive measure. More re-deployments, more extended tours, WETSU! WETSU!! Can't you hear it? Received a nice Retired Army Pin and Decal in the mail on 050507. However with it I received a letter stating that "New Law Enables Army Retired Soldiers to Receive Recruiting Referral Bonus". Here is the new deal, get a recruit and receive $2000 as a bonus. $1000 when he/she goes to Basic and the remaining $1000 when he/she finishes AIT or OSUT. Sounds like a great deal, I am now a bounty hunter? Oh lets not forget that the Army has lowered some standards by now allowing felons to serve. We never had problems in the 40's, 50's or 60's finding people to serve via the draft, now we're offering bounties and taking in criminals??? WHAT WILL WE DO NEXT?
Next? Now if you enlist within the next 30 days you will get a $20,000 bonus as of 080907.
THE LAST DRAFTEE http://www.kentucky.com/2011/07/03/1798514/last-vietnam-era-draftee-decides.html#ixzz1R8oOi6eT
04/25/08 ......... Spoke with an E-7 today that did 2 tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. He is now has over 20 years and wants to retire. He informs me he can not retire until the Army releases him. He is serving for an indefinite period until the Army can see fit to release him? WOW! Is that a new policy for a volunteer? It might as well be the draft. (I guess after serving 20 yrs, you get drafted? sarc.) He also said they recalled a 64 yr old back to active duty because he had an MOS that was in dire need. This kind of information really worries me, and you question the need of the draft?