I was clueless. I knew about the draft, but didn’t give it much thought. I had no control over the outcome. I was headed out to a bar that night, but stopped by the ‘tube’ room to check out the proceedings. My number–41–was called early, which only gave me more time to spend money on beer.
Thinking back, my parents, who were ‘hawks,’ never called to offer support or advice. A few days later several guys with low numbers said that there were openings in the Kansas Air National Guard. We drove to Topeka and signed up. I was to be a medic. I dropped out of school and went home to tell the folks. I figured that they’d be proud. To my surprise, they were appalled. They wanted to stop the spread of communism, but not enough to spill family blood.
Basic training was in San Antonio; advanced training in Wichita Falls. The enemy was boredom. I got a few college credits and graduated a year late. I had a six-year hitch and with work, I transferred to the Missouri National Guard and mustered out from the Georgia National Guard. I was the worst airman, but it served a purpose: to keep me anchored to work, wife and what mattered.