I Missed Vietnam the First Time Around

Had I come here the first time it most likely would have been wearing green and carrying an M-16. Turned 18 the last year of the draft. Expected to have a college deferment and be classified 4-F for two conditions.* Still was relieved when the draft number for my birthday came up over 300.

Didn’t expect any emotional connection between growing up watching the war on TV and visiting here. None has materialized.

* Books available then described the conditions for draft classifications. I’d damaged a rotator cuff and dislocated an elbow while breaking my forearm. Stopped physical therapy before losing the 4-F range of motion. Resumed physical therapy after the draft lottery. Never regained full motion until I did therapy for frozen shoulder a few years ago.

Other reason was being under weight. I weighed in for track at the beginning of my junior year at 123 lbs and a smidgen under six feet tall. Getting below the required 121 two years later wouldn’t have taken much effort.


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