42 years ago this month

 

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.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “42 years ago this month

  1. Even in our youth some of us knew the course to take. Those who protested have never tasted the fullness of life that has been ours, neither can they know the camaraderie that was forged of sacrifice, sweat, and suffering.
    However much or little you think it to be, Bill, thank you for doing your part.

    • Bill Brandt

      Thank you for your part too, Mongo. I have often thought that our generation will be forever split by those times.

      It is funny – looking back on my life – but my military service, as short as it was, is cherished. Proud to have worn the uniform.

      I had considered staying in, and nearly did so.

      A lot of times I wish I had .

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