I was with a group of my fraternity brothers the night they announced the numbers. One of them actually got #1 but as it turned out my #114 wasn’t any better. Got my induction notice in Sept. 1970 and flew from Richmond, VA to Ft. Campbell, KY for basic training.
At Ft. Campbell they tried to talk us into signing up for a third year promising that we wouldn’t have to go into the infantry. I decided to just take my chances. Then they asked all the college graduates who had been drafted to come to a meeting and asked if we were interested in going to Army OCS. Someone asked what fields were open and their response was infantry. I said I wasn’t interested.
Toward the end of basic training our drill seargent brought all the draftees together to announce what advanced training they were going to get. No one wanted Ft. Polk since that was the infantry school. A lot of them got Ft. Polk. I got clerk typist school in Ft. Knox, KY. When I got to Ft. Knox they said the course was designed for each person to go at their own pace and the people with the best overall scores got the best assignments. So if you goofed off you were more than likely to be a company clerk in Vietnam. I was the first to finish the class and I got stationed at Ft. Myer, VA and worked a 8 to 5 M-F job in the Pentagon, drawing quarters and rations. I always told people I was the luckiest draftee.
I worked in the Southeast Asia branch in the Office of Personnel Operations. We supplied the enlisted soldiers that were needed in Vietnam. One of my jobs was to call Saigon everyday and find out the number of enemy soldiers KIA and US soldiers who were KIA, wounded, or missing. Those numbers were then given to the newspapers. Toward the end of my two years of active duty they asked me if I wanted to work at the US Embassy in London but I said no because I would have had to stay an extra year. I have always regretted that decision.
I live around Washington, DC now and when I go by the Vietnam Memorial I am sad to see all the names, and while I feel somewhat guilty that I wound up working in an office in the Pentagon I am glad I did not have to fight in that war. My only son is now in the military and now I get to worry about him.