The anniversary we missed (that no one was missing at all)

| July 3, 2023

July 1 has come and gone, and for many of us, the 50th anniversary of something we grew up with and knew as a fact of life: that letter that started with “Greetings”.[/caption]

Yes, the draft.

The draft was a fact of life in those ancient times – its existence was a constant in our awareness. It could help determine your choice of employment, marital status, education – it was not just the draft, its influence was outsized and pervasive.

“The last man inducted entered the U.S. Army on June 30, 1973 during the last draft conducted,” the Selective Service System said on its website.

Most draftees were out of the military by ’75 – typically being drafted meant you did minimum 2 years of active duty and a further 4 years in the inactive Reserves if I recall correctly. There were still quite a few former draftees in service after ’75, folks who had extended, re-upped, or whatever – but by and large we were all-volunteer by then.

Some said draftees were useless – they didn’t want to be there, they wouldn’t work, etc. Many others said they were often good troops – especially when they found out how much of the service could be a sh*t sandwich for dirtballs, they kept their heads down and tried to do their jobs well enough to be out after 24 months as smoothly as possible. My guess was that they covered the same spectrum as normal volunteers – mostly good kids, some exceptional, some exceptionally bad.

Nowadays – we have the all volunteer force.

The Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines all missed or barely scraped by to meet their recruiting goals last year.

Officials have pointed to numerous factors that have contributed to the shortfalls, including that the U.S. has seen some of its lowest unemployment rates in more than 50 years. Additionally, the Pentagon has released studies showing that only 23% of American youth are eligible to serve due to being overweight, using drugs or having mental and physical health problems.

Coupled with a strong employment market (although you would never know that from all the Internet articles from people claiming ‘jobz are so hard to find’ and ‘older generations never had to actually compete or interview to get a job’) it’s challenging for recruiters to get enough warm bodies. I have even heard calls to restore the draft…yeah, mixed feelings on that – might be good for some of them, but do we really want some of these idiots messing up the military? (first asked probably by the oldest hoplites in the Greek army millennia ago, if not earlier.)

Enjoy your 4th. And be happy that your kid or grandkid isn’t about to get a letter opening with “Greetings”.


Category: "The Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves", Army

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Green Thumb


Enjoy yours as well.

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

I was in that in-between time during the Fishbowl Lottery. And my birthday ended up #200+ on that year’s list.
Didn’t stop me from enlisting (voluntarily) later.


I was in Phu Bai when my number (72) was pulled. Probably would have been One-A for the first go-around. Had to reregister when I took my first break in service and ended up being a Two-S (IIRC).

Sort of off topic, but July 1st was also National Postal Workers Day, so I had to thank both my retired Postmaster wife and my one ex-Army son (who has about two more years to do before he can retire from the Post Office) who’s a Tote-Motor Driver.

Last edited 11 months ago by Claw

Correction: Just looked it up and I would have ended up being a Four-A when I reregistered.


Again, sort of off topic, but it was on 01 July 1963, that the current post office Zip Code system went into effect. / s


My father’s congenital back problem got him a I-A physical qualification in ’69 and, having inherited it, I can attest nobody give a sh*t about it 25 years later either.

Hack Stone

Hack Stone’s family had a lot of political connections. Poppa Stone turned 18 in December 1944, and President Roosevelt himself sent him a birthday card. In less than a month he was availing himself of an all expense paid journey to Fort Jackson (if Hack recall’s correctly).


We would not need a draft if we had a society that relishes
freedom and liberty. We don’t so we won’t being seeing one
until it it is too late which is just about now.
I joined because I was taught duty, honor, country and saw
opportunity beyond that debt.
All success aside, I now see a nation in decline, run by crooks
and populated by fools, idiots and insane communists.
Happy fouth of July? YMMV.


Spot on, ‘beans,…ya nailed it. I joined for the same reasons. In the words of Hank; “…it was a Family Tradition.” Traced back to F&I, each generation serving, and if I could get to other records probably would go even further back. Got a nephew serving now, tho when this enlistment is up, he’ll beat feet.

“…do we really want some of these idiots messing up the military?” Hell, looks like the current crop of enlistees are doing a fine job of doing that themselves. Aided and abetted by the “woke” BS flowing down hill. “…too late which is just about now.” Yep. If a return to the draft was announced today, with the FIRST # pulled on the 5th of July (which wouldn’t happen), it would be at least 6 months to a year before the initial draftees could be deployed. We may not protect our Southern Borders against an illegal alien invasion, but what you wanna bet the Northern Border would be secure against draft dodgers?

I served with draftees, enlistees, NG, and Reserve bound troops. Saw good, bad, and indifferent in each category. It all goes back to proper Home Training. The military can’t undo in a few weeks, months, or even years, what has become ingrained thru the past 18+- years of someone’s life.

You want to increase your enlistment #s? Stop the endless overseas wars that have no real purpose other than to enrich the MIC and get rid of the BS of indoctrination of acceptance of perversion. Focus on defending the Constitution of these States United against all enemies, foreign AND domestic. 


Jus’ sayin’

comment image

Eric (The OC Tanker)

I did some thunk’n awhile back and came to the conclusion that a draft with 2 year active service would be a poor waste of resources. Please note for the record that I am a tanker (retired) and can not speak for other MOS’s. That being said, Lets look at the situation from a skill training standpoint. Most MOS producing schools require about 4 to 6 months to pass out a soldier who is minimally at the level to be able to ‘chew bubble gum and not trip over his own feet’. How many of you all remenber the Soldiers Manual of Common Tasks (STP21-1-SMCT Skill level 1)? I still have my copy dated 10 Oct 1990. Over 700 pages of fun and excitement that every young trooper needs to have mastered along the way to becoming a lean mean fighting machine. Basic at most is able to train 40 or so tasks to standard. there being a crap ton more. Then there are the skill level 10 MOS skills that the schoolhouse needs to teach as per the skill level 10 Soldiers Manul. The school at best is going to impart a very basic familiarity an the tasks that TRADOC thinks is important. Then the young draftee arrives to his first MTOE unit. It will take another 12 to 18 months to come up to speed to preform both the individual and the collective tasks that will comport with the units METL.

It will take about 2 years to train a competent Combat Arms solder that will survive on the modern battlefield.

A 2 year draft service is no longer cost effective for a modern high tech military.

What say you?


Agree…100%. Those 6 moths to a year troops that would possibly be deployed would be ill trained/equipped to stand up to be much more than cannon fodder. The butcher’s bill will be very high. History is replete with examples of ill trained troops getting into the fight too soon.

Eric (The OC Tanker)

In a battalion formation (1st Battalion 68th Armor, 8th ID(M)) in the fall of 1990, My Brigade Commander, as we worked to deactivate the unit, we were promised “No more Task Force Smith”. As I look at the condition of the force, the Army is well along that road. Can the Army correct course? Yes, it can be done. It will require LEADERSHIP from the Chife of Staff on down to set and enforce the standards in the officer corps (Duty, Honor, Country) and for the NCO corps to have the skill and the back bone to train their troops (task, conditions and standards) in order to do that which an army is in existence for: Break shit and kill the enemy and be the best at it.


Today’s “woke” dorks especially:
comment image

Last edited 11 months ago by Anonymous

For the four years and three months after high school, I never worried about the draft. As an ROTC cadet attending a university, I was exempt from the draft.

As a rifle company commander in the Viet of the Nam, I saw very little difference between draftees and enlistees. About half of the men in the two companies I lead were RA enlistees. We all endeavored to do our jobs irrespective of how we got there.


I can count the number of people I served with who volunteered for Vietnam, enlisted or drafted, on one hand. On the other hands, I cannot begin to count the number of folks who enlisted to avoid going to Vietnam.
As I recall, there were long waiting lists for patriotic, freedom-loving volunteers to join the reserves, guard, Navy, and Air Force. Very short lines for Army & Marines.

Green Thumb

I wonder what line Dick Blumenthal was in?


The line to see Santa.


His principal military operation, “Toys for Tots.” Is there a participation ribbon for that? Afterall, it was a campaign.


Nope, no participation ribbon. However, the Corps does give out a commemorative coin for participating.


I wonder if DaNang Dick has one in his love-me box commemorating his stellar Marine Corps service.

A Proud Infidel®™

Pity that Amtrak train didn’t make him go *SPLAT!*.


I didn’t volunteer for Vietnam, but at some point, I knew I was going. At the nine month point of my tour, I did “volunteer” to stay an additional three months as a condition of my command of a Ranger company. So, in a way, I was a volunteer. I never volunteered to be a Special Forces officer, either, but I was pleased to become one. Apparently, the Army decided in 1971 that Special Forces needed some RA infantry captains to level out those wayward reserve (AUS) officers who volunteered for Special Forces and comprised most of its junior officer corps.


“I never volunteered to be a Special Forces officer, either”

Really? I always thought SF was 100% volunteer; in fact, the publicity emphasized that they had volunteered multiple times to get into SF (airborne, etc). If my memory is still accurate I believe that in the beginning all SF applicants had to have at least two (2) years active duty before applying.

Another illusion shattered.

By “RA infantry captains” do you mean West Point graduate? As I understand it only West Point graduates and a few others were (are?) not reserve officers.

Myself, I enlisted specifically for Germany, and the SSG at the processing center (who shall remain nameless) talked me into an extra year for a guarantee so I wouldn’t get sent to RVN.
Upon my return from RVN (surprise!) I went to see the IG in order to retrieve that final year. There was, of course, no guarantee in my records, and I was stuck with a year at Ft. Benning. Of course I did get to Germany, but then so did a quarter million or so other GIs without guarantees, including quite a few draftees.

USMC Steve

I would expect so. You fuck off in the field in a combat zone and that is a very good way to get dead.


I joined after the draft but served with a number of draftees. The ran the gamut from terrible to awesome. I think the worst was an E6 closing on retirement who would get a case of the PTSD’s before every field exercise so that he didn’t have to go, which was weird because he never saw any combat. Eventually he forged a profile from a doctor to get him out of field duty and got caught when he was retiring.

The best was a Brigade CSM that I worked with that retired in 2003. He served in Vietnam, Panama, PGW and Afghanistan over 32 years. He was a great leader and the troops loved him.

All kinds of people were drafted but some were a lot better than others.

I vote no on another draft, mostly because I believe in limiting the power of the Federal Government, as woebegone a hope that is.

Last edited 11 months ago by 5JC
Buckeye Jim

I was a junior in college thanks to a Navy ROTC scholarship when the first lottery was held. My number was 356, which means that the VC would have had to invade and be moving east of the Mississippi before I would have been called up. A high school friend of mine had number 366. A low draft number would not have changed a thing for me. Proud and glad to have served (26 years).


My helo instructors were all Viet Nam aircrewmen. They had little tolerance for bullshit.

Some of this attitude may have rubbed off on an impressionable young Airman.


“but do we really want some of these idiots messing up the military?”

Right. Let’s keep out all those draftee dirtbags like Bradley Manning, John Anthony Walker, Beaudry Bergdahl, etc. by having only volunteers.


Eight weeks of Basic under the proper Cadre will weed out
the misfits and basement dwellers but more importantly
will shine a light on those we need. Some people need that
exposure to realize their own potential to be all they can be.

Seen it with my own eyes.


Drill Sergeants aren’t allowed to operate the way they did in your day, or even mine. We can’t allow feelings to be hurt, or uncomfortable situations. We must respect a Soldier’s individuality, we cannot push them or pressure them. A Soldier’s failure in BCT or IET is viewed as a command failure, and that ain’t gonna happen.


I pray you exaggerate.


Nope. I can only speak for the Intel School, but that’s what I’m getting from the Drill Sergeants. They’re seriously handcuffed.


No knifehands and they have to say “friggin'” if there’s an F-word used.


More importantly you get the ones that didn’t want to volunteer.

Walker may not have been drafted but he didn’t exactly volunteer either. It was “join the military or go to jail”. He was the exact reason that is gone now.

People shouldn’t be made to serve the state, especially when the state is often working counter to their best interests. A volunteer army is currently functioning exactly… and I mean exactly as it should. If you don’t like the government or what they are doing, don’t be a part of it. This helps hold them accountable for the stupid shit they do, that they shouldn’t do.


As far as I am concerned, if you aren’t willing to defend your country if needed, you shouldn’t get any of the benefits of living there. I don’t care much for parasites, no matter what their political beliefs.


“the obvious misfits and basement dwellers you would like to keep out”

Even the draftee military declines the services of such folks. Drafting does not get you all of them.

“Volunteers give you the best and the brightest,”

Sorry, but horseshit. The “best and the brightest” go to Harvard, etc., med school, graduate school, etc. and get jobs on Wall St., etc.

USMC Steve

 The “best and the brightest” go to Harvard, etc., med school, graduate school, etc. and get jobs on Wall St., etc.

That is generally true of the rich ones, but even some of these folks who go to “prestigious” places such as you mention used to serve as well.

I served in the Signals Intel field, and the average IQ there was around 120-130. They were not wealthy, but they were very capable and very intelligent.

USMC Steve

There will ALWAYS be the dreaded “10 percenters” no matter how careful you screen them.


I only know of one draftee that I served with, but there may be more. That draftee was part of MacNamara’s experiment. This specimen wasn’t worth a pinch of shit, yet made it to SFC.


I knew a few draftees who stayed around. I still think it amusing to compare their rhetoric of the first two years with their subsequent reenlistment(s).


I served with a few Viet of the Nam vets, I have no idea if they were draftees. All excellent NCO’s, especially 1SG Lusk. But that one…


“But that one…”

‘Outstanding’, eh?

USMC Steve

Project 100,000?


Yeah, that’s the experiment.


McNamara’s Morons




Hey, I didn’t join until 83. Who is this McNamara guy? I thought I better join before I got drafted. I wasn’t much for Top Gun I was more like Stripes. Me and my friend who tried to make it with the cow don’t you wanna party with us cowboy?


My father joined USMC in1917 and served 7 years, followed by 5 in the Army. In early ’42 he tried to enlist again but they didn’t want him then at age 42. I was the only one of his second family to serve, but as a US, not RA. Was active one year, eleven months, twenty-two days and twenty hours and never heard anything about any Reserve time so just waited for four years ’til I got my Honorable in the mail. Had a half-brother who did close to thirty in USAF.
I have read that over half of the troops in WWII were draftees but never saw anything to substantiate that.
When we got to Ft. Lewis there were two of us longhairs and ’til we got to the barbers’ chairs the Drill Sergeants referred to the other guy as Goldilocks. They couldn’t believe he ended up makin’ E2 immediately outta Basic. He was E3 after AIT at Ft. Jackson, got to Viet-of-the-Nam, made E4 in record time and was acting Buck Sergeant by the time he’d extended seven months to get the one hundred and fifty day drop bein’ offered at the time.
I, on the other hand, only got the automatic bump to E2 in three months and the PFC before going into the field in-country.
There you have it. General screw-ups like me and a fine troop like Goldilocks, both of us draftees. Glad I served.


Pretty good story neck. Tnx.

3/17 Air Cav

Drafted Aug 1970 lotto number 13 Basic at Ft Lewis AIT Fort Lewis. Arrived Vietnam Feb 1971as a E2. Made PFC Feb. E4 April/May. Made Sgt. E5 Nov of 71 discharged Jan of 72 total time spent in the Army 1 year 5 months 16 days. Not bragging just sayin


Braggin’ with a record like that would be justified. Hell, I was on suspended bust to E2 when they gave me my Good Conduct award.😎 I think it was only about three weeks after that I was back at OAB to process out.


Welcome Home 3/17. You’ve been missed. Now if we could get 2/17 AC back…


“On December 5, 1942, presidential Executive Order 9279 closed voluntary enlistment for all men from the ages of 18 to 37 for the duration of the war, providing protection for the nation’s home front manpower pool. The Navy and Marine Corps began procuring their personnel through the Selective Service System in early 1943.”

Stuart Ess

The Flag of the United States is incorrectly displayed in this post. The only time the stars are on the viewers right is when the flag is on a coffin. GET IT RIGHT!


“Greetings, From you friends and neighbors …”

I remember it well. I was going to keep it for a souvenir but they took it away from me at the reception center.

Didn’t want to go, but I’m glad I did.


Field on the left as you look.

(At least it ain’t the troon banner flanked by my country’s colors.)

For those that were, a hardy thank you.

To those that let this system continue, a big ol’ fuck you.

Slavery is wrong, even if it’s by proxy/scheme/regulation.


I’d expect the flag of our country to be displayed properly on this site


You all do realize that it’s a picture of a flag blowing in the wind right?


It was changed. The original image was hoist up with the canton on the top right.

Thank you to the Admin that corrected it.


So you can only look at a flag from one side? That must be awkward in parades, when one side of the street must be emptied. And just to be difficult, I would love to march back up the street and watch the crowd scurry from one side of the street to the other (correct) side.


It was being displayed on a page.

There’s a flag code for this.


(i) When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag’s own right, that is, to the observer’s left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.

(j) When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street or to the east in a north and south street.


It’s shocking that we have people serving or who have served that do not know the proper way to display the flag.

I PCA’d to a new sq to be a flight chief, walked in my office and saw the flight commander had a flag displayed vertically with the union to the right (like the original photo here). I closed the door…”Capt, let’s have a talk”


The flag was displayed in error and has been corrected. Feel free to unclutch your pearls and roam about the cabin. Thank you.


A bit of an ironic and condescending statement. Let’s trash the posers and make a big deal about ribbons displayed incorrectly instead…


Of course! Gawd forbid some valor thief should give their Army Service Ribbon a higher precedence than their NDSM.


Frankly, I consider rules like that to be pedantic, trivial, BS.

Reminds me of having to buy a second set of toiletries for my footlocker for “display” only. Who the f uses “tooth powder”? The only place I have ever seen “tooth powder” was in the PX during basic/AIT. But my “display” was in ordnung.


If you’re really scratching your head over that, I think you missed the entire point of basic.

I didn’t mean to offend. Yes, I take flag etiquette seriously, I’ve even been known to “clutch my pearls” when I see people running indoors at 1659.


“scratching your head over that,”

Did I really give the impression I was confused, puzzled, or anything less than absolutely convinced of the triviality of the issue?

If the entire point of basic training was how to display the flag then yes, I certainly did miss the point.

I ain’t offended. I only get offended when people “piss on my back and tell me it’s raining” and expect me to believe it.


As in:

jeff LPH 3 63-66

Pop joined the Army on Sept. 10, 1940, 6 days before the draft went into effect. Had to look it up on his separation paper…Wound up in Coast Arty in NYC and New Jersey.


Was waiting for / expecting my “Greetings” letter when they stopped the draft, so I married Mrs. GB instead.
Those were confusing times.


160 years ago today…

comment image

For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it’s still not yet two o’clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it’s all in the balance, it hasn’t happened yet, it hasn’t even begun yet, it not only hasn’t begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstances …

‘lest we forget

Last edited 11 months ago by KoB
Slow Joe

Thank you

Slow Joe

Meanwhile, this is what the enemy is watching

Slow Joe
Slick Goodlin

I joined in the Army in June 1972 with an Airborne Infantry enlistment option.
Took Basic at Fort Ord where about half of my Training Company were draftees.
For some administrative reason, when we entered the Mess Hall for chow, the Headcount needed to know our Army component, RA for Regular Army or US for U.S. Army.
Our Drill Sergeant’s instructions were:

“If your a volunteer, sound off with RA, as in REAL AMERICAN!

If your a draftee, sound off with US, as in


And there were also “NG”, for National Guard.


I’m thinking that the need-to-know which component the troops belonged to had to do with the Field Feeding/Army Ration Credit systems that were in place at the time, but to find out the real particulars, we would have to have input from a real Army Mess Sergeant from Vietnam Times.


Naw, it was just a bookkeeping/admin thing, also used to foster competitiveness & esprit de corps. The training, etc. was the same. It’s the same thing as the volunteer vs. draftee stuff on this thread. RA means you enlisted, US means you were drafted; NG means you were National Guard and ER meant Enlisted Reserve and you got to go home at the end of AIT. There were also other service number (used before SSN) prefixes—


“Son, there ain’t no draft no more.”

“There was one?”



I know I know!!! That be me

Old tanker

Right after I graduated from HS (71) I had obtained a scholarship and a small grant for the first 2 years of college. Being that me and Murphy seem to be blood brothers I also signed up for ROTC, the only deferment left. I figured if I was going to serve I wanted to do so as an occifer.(Spelling intentional)

Sure enough I watched the draft lottery and my number was 14. Murphy patting me on the back. I wasn’t really impressed with ROTC so figured to do the minimum time and get out.

I was commissioned in Dec 75. I ended up branch transferring from MP because the MP unit left the state while I was actually in the MPOBC. After getting home I walked into the Reserve building in 76, and said I was a new butter bar looking for a unit. An Armor Company CO heard me and said welcome home. I hung up the uniform in 2000.

Last edited 11 months ago by Old tanker
USMC Steve

When you take into account that over 75 percent of all military age people are either physically or mentally unqualified to serve, (or both), whether all volunteer or draft, we don’t have the people to get it done anymore. Almost no school does PT as a requirement anymore, so they are fat and pasty and weak, and the electronic age isn’t helping either. Waiting for more lowering of requirements and standards in order to get what they need to function. Soon it will look like the military of the post Vietnam era again.


Somehow the US managed to field an Army of over 11 million men during WWII with a substantially smaller population than today. “Fat, pasty, and weak” is fixable, it will just cost more. We have the people, we just don’t have the will.


After Pearl Harbor, Bull Run or 9/11, we usually find it.