Veteran's Day

For the kid from the east side of Wichita, stepping into that Big Green machine as a draftee was like stepping into a big new life. I had no idea and no control over what happened and where I went. I went there eyes wide open and did almost everything I was told. I had no idea from the first day to the last what it meant to the people around me. Heck, a lot of the time I didn't even understand what it meant to me.

The Military was not like being a driver in a car. You didn't get to turn the wheels or honk the horn. Your control in the entire process was what bus you got on and where it was headed. You could get a transfer for a different bus, but for the most part you were going for a bus ride and someone else was generally in charge. You may have similar experiences to those riding that bus but as you are not the same, your feelings and recollections will be different as your backgrounds.

I entered the Military as a Draftee in 1966. At the grand old age of 19, if you didn't have a school deferment you were as good as drafted. It didn't hurt anything that when I went to Kansas City for a Pre Induction Physical that the bottom line was whole bunch of 1's followed by an A stamped on the Physical. PULHES were the categories, Physical, Upper Skeletal, Lower Skeletal, Hearing, Eyes and whatever skeletal was left. 1 was normal and 4 was bad.
They judged you starting from A (Like Prime beef) to F.

As soon as that information was returned to the Draft Board, they set me up for the next round of inductions 30 days later. In early September 1966 I began my road through the Military that ended finally in August 1997.

The first step in the induction process was another short round of physical inspections to ensure that we hadn't done anything stupid during the 30 days to change the category. They selected a bunch of the group to go to the Marine Corps and and the rest for the Army. The Air Force and Navy had enough enlistees at that time so you were either a Marine or a Soldier for my Cycle. For some strange reason I felt relieved that they stopped somewhere in the N's on the Marine list. Step forward and take the oath son. I didn't even think about evading the draft of not being inducted. I stepped forward and joined that group going into the unknown.

We were put on a bus late in the day and told that we were going to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Step one was the Reception Station. I will relate the rest of the story later.

For now, I want you all to know that my story is different in the details but the same in the feeling most of us had. We learned to stand in line and do what we were told. We might get to bitch about the details later but accepted what was right in front of us because for the most part we didn't have a clue what the hell was happening.

If you are glad to live with what you are experiencing, thank a Veteran. If you are unhappy blame a politician because they are the one's that have screwed up the things the Veteran's earned for you. For the most part, our Veterans are like Ron Sawyer in Kingman, KS and Harvey Blinn from Hurst, Texas that did their part and came home to live as normal a life as they could. Ron is a School Teacher and Harvey is a Construction Superintendent. Our world is built on the shoulders of people like that who served and came home to get on with their lives.

COL, (Ret)


  1. I just got back from our town's Veterans Day ceremony at the school. This is the first time I've been, and I was quite impressed. If any of the photos turned out, maybe I'll write a post on it.

    Happy Veterans Day, MUD. Thank you for your service.

  2. MUD, I sent you an e-mail. I hope you got it. If not, "thanks!"