I had bad eyesight, enough to fail the reserves but not the draft. I decided not to chance the lottery and wanted to get into the reserves but I had no "connections".
I had been to Israel in ’67 and volunteered to fight and drove a command car in the Golan. I was also on the UW Varsity Pistol Team. I went to my local JAG unit to try and get in (summer ’68) since I was scheduled to go to Law school there. After reviewing my background the O.I.C. decided to take me on in an "over staffed" position until one guy left. It was a lucky break since my draft number was relatively low, but more importantly I met some of the nicest men one could ask to know. One became governor, one a federal judge, one was general counsel for Kimberly Clark, another became head of the SEC for Wisc. etc. I took my training seriously and was nominated for Soldier of the Cycle.
I learned a lot in the army, like when I was in basic and a VERY Southern guy stared at me in the shower and was astounded that I "didn’t look no different" despite being a Jew, since he had "never seen no Jew before" and I did not have a horn or tail. And like the guy with a 7th grade education who thought he could go to Germany if he wanted and could not believe we were rotating hundreds of thousands of soldiers in Nam since he never heard of the NYT let alone read an article in it.
Some of the people in my reserve unit became life-long friends, some influenced me and the entire experience I believe was positive. I served, did my thing, had an almost true army experience and yet was not forced to decide how to "get out" of Vietnam. I am now on a Vietnam investment fund and visit often and the first time I visited places like Da Nang and China Beach they really had a different meaning to me as a tourist.
I am also quite impressed with how the Vietnamese people look forward and have little, if any, hate toward Americans and look to the future not the past as opposed to the way the Palestinians act toward Israelis and Jews. Shows how a people can really move forward if they want to control their own future rather than give into to ranting and self pity.