To make a long story short, I was a draft dodger in 1966.
I used my connections to land a spot in the Army Reserve. A couple of months later and I would have landed in Vietnam as a draftee.
So, unlike John Kerry, I never received any medal for Vietnam valor. But, like President Bush, I was a reservist.
I guess they didn't award medals for manning a typewriter for six years as a member of three different Army Reserve units in Kansas.
Reserve duty in those years was starting to be shaped up. Before the Vietnam War attendance policies were lax in some reserve units, as the story went. I would guess that a lot of reservists from those years would give a knowing wink about Bush's missing attendance records.
But in the "new" Army of the 1960s too many unexcused absences from Army Reserve or National Guard weekend events would make you draft-eligible. So most reservists attended the monthly drills and two-week summer camps.
As the world knows, reserve duty is an entirely different matter now. Weekend warriors no longer are the members of the National Guard or Army Reserve who might likely be serving in Bosnia or Iraq with plenty of hazardous duty on the horizon.
As for my war stories, I think the most hazardous thing I ever did was play catch with a Frisbee with Bill Russell. No, not the basketball player. Bill Russell the one-time shortstop and manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He threw a wicked Frisbee as we played catch between the barracks.
Then there was the time I "qualified" on the rifle range, which in fact was the county sanitary landfill. I stayed at the armory and worked on the payroll. Some kind sergeant who wanted to get paid worse than he wanted me to keep my firing skills sharp penciled in my score. Wonder how I "shot" that day at the junkyard?
I wasn't a member of the raiding party but I remember the time at a Michigan summer camp when some of my fellow reservists stole the flashing light from atop a military police Jeep.
Then there was the time we were supposed to be trucked to Fort Leavenworth for a big regional mobilization test. We arrived rather late after one of the soldiers reached down and let the air out of the tire on the truck at a stoplight on the way to the fort.
My military highlight may have been dreaming up an "underground" newsletter we circulated at a couple of the Wisconsin summer camps. I feared the battalion commander wasn't too thrilled with my writing when he got a hold of one of the copies. He summoned me to the battalion headquarters. I feared the worst. He indicated he was so amused by the newsletter that he was preparing to give me a promotion if I re-enlisted.
Talk about a misfit. Our troops were probably lucky they never had me use any bigger weapon than a typewriter.
ROY MILLER, Dispatch editor, can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5855.
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