I reported to the reception station in Oakland for induction into the US Armed Forces.
At the height of Vietnam I was told you would count off by 2s – half for the Army; half for the Marines. I was in the 2nd to last group to be drafted – Sep 72.
I can remember my father getting up at 03:00 to take me to the central post office where a bus would take us to Oakland.
We were welcomed by a horde of draft protesters in the darkness all screaming that “we didn’t have to go”.
That 2 hour bus ride through the darkness was the quietest drive I ever had – each man in his own private thoughts.
At the Oakland Station, a Marine Lt gave us advice that has stuck with me for those 42 years.
He told us about the “10% Rule”.
That is, in any population sample, in any endeavor, 10% f*** it up for the other 90.
Seems to have held true, in my subsequent observations of life.
A few hours later, we were on a bus for Ft Ord, near Monterey.
It is funny where the road takes you. At the time I thought it was a rough patch but looking back – a little over 2 years of Army service – even as a lowly Spec/4 – I am proud of that service.
The bureaucracy sometimes drove me nuts – but the camaraderie – I think about it every day.
And miss it.