Well, it's official. I've been appointed to the local Draft Board.

I received the letter yesterday.

They’re called Selective Service Local Boards now, but the purpose is the same. Right now the boards are in standby, for obvious reasons. Let’s all pray they remain that way forever.

The appointment had to be vetted through our state’s Democratic governor, and then made by this Republican administration. So I’m feeling a little bipartisan right now.

I should get a weekend’s worth of training in the fall. This will teach me how to apply the rules fairly to draftees in the local area. We are the first line of defense for a young man caught up in the system. If he wants to apply for a hardship deferment, or conscientious objector status, we have to evaluate those claims.

The appointment is for a portion of a large county in Northern Virginia.

These boards have long been filled by volunteers. The only money I’ll ever get from the Selective Service is reimbursement for expenses. But I’ve been looking for some ways, since the end of my Navy enlistment, to continue public service, and this looks like a good place to start.

I had no idea selective service boards were still around on a local level, even though currently inactive (mostly.) I guess it stands to reason, but I never thought about it. Frankly, I hope we never have to draft our young people, but If we do, I’m sure you’ll do so fairly.

How did you apply? What was the process? I’m also a Navy vet (1973 -1977) and have often thought about more active ways to contribute.

I started here:


After that, I jumped through a few bureaucratic hoops, and was all set. Due to the nature of such processes, though, be prepared for it to take a few months.

OK, Mr. Moto, gaze into this crystal, and repeat after me: “Early Out is much too old to be drafted. Early Out would make a very poor soldier. Early Out is much too old to be drafted…”

How old are you? You might be right.

As to whether you’d be a good soldier or not, those decisions are made at the induction center and in basic training. We just decide whether you have to report for either.

After 35 years, those five words still make me shiver.

Right straight to God’s ear, Mr. Moto.

What is the age cutoff, and in the event of a draft, how choosy are they are far as meeting physical requirements? I ask because I’ve been giving a lot of thought to military service lately. I’m 26, and I’m in good health, if not great shape. I have BS and JD degrees, so I’d consider applying for OTS in the Air Force or Navy, but I’m still not sure if I’d be a good “fit” for the military, or if military life would be a good “fit” for me. Since you’d be overseeing new recruits on the Selective Service Board, what advice could you offer me for now?

You’re in the Army now
You’re not behind a plow
You won’t get rich by digging a ditch
You’re in the Army now!

For both volunteers and enlistees, it’s the job of an entrance station to determine a person’s actual fitness to serve.

The best advice I could give you, Big Bad Voodoo Lou, would be to talk to an officer recruiter for the Air Force or Navy. Keep in mind at all times, though, that the needs of the service trump any commitments those recruiters might make to you.

The following links might be helpful:

As to ages, the services won’t accept enlistments past the age of 34 years, and might be more stringent yet for officer candidates. As for the Selective Service, they’re tighter yet, in the event of a draft:

This from the Selective Service website.

Whew! I’m safe, unless there are several divisions of The People’s Liberation Army advancing through Ashburn.

It should really be pointed out that everyone is “safe” because (despite the hoopla and wild-eyed speculation) there is no draft. Every time it’s suggested, the military chiefs of staff throw up their (figurative) hands and shout (figuratively) “We don’t want a friggin’ draft!”. Mr Moto’s appointment to the draft board is a “just in case there is ever a need to convene one” measure.

Oh, and I suppose some sort of congratulations are in order…sorta? Is this anything more than a nice “public service” addition to your resume at this point?

God help us all if they reach 31 and draft me. I’d be more dangerous to our side I think, not cut out for military life and I’d resent being sent against my will.

Thanks, Kilt-wearin’ man.

It’s a bit more than a resume line item, though it’s good for that as well. In short, with twins at home and a third kid on the way, my wife flat out refuses to let me join the Navy Reserve.

(I can certainly understand her unease on this score.)

So, with this option unavailable, I have to do my part in other ways. Now, I’m already a five year Navy veteran, and I still work for a defense contractor on the Tomahawk project. So it’s not like I’ve shirked my duty in the past, or that I’m not making contributions now.

This is just something else I can do. And if, God forbid, we ever activate the draft, we’ll need the boards to make sure it’s applied fairly.

Heck, just do what those brave conservative chicken-hawks did during the Vietnam War.

John Ashcroft said his civilian job was “vital”. (He was teaching undergraduate law in Missouri).

Dick Cheney said he had “other priorities”. Mr Moto is that a draft deferment ? Watch it. You might find a LOT of potential inductees trying to use that one.

Robert Engler (former Republican Governor of Michigan) was 2 pounds overweight during his physical. And we know he must have tried to pass that. :rolleyes:

John Wayne said he pleaded, begged, cajoled, etc to be let in the military. A WW2 vet wrote to him saying - getting in is easy. It’s getting out that’s tough !!!
Feel free to pounce on this bitter 50-something who remembers just how scary those times were (1960’s) and all the folks that knew the “right” people didn’t go to Vietnam. Hmmmmmmmm I guess I’m just making it up. Must be getting senile in my old age.

Yeah, wolf_meister, there were a lot of them. But you’re doing some cherry picking, and forgetting some Republican veterans (and war heroes) like George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, and John McCain.

You’re also selective ignoring some chickenhawks on the Democratic side like Bill Clinton. The military was sure busy on his watch. I was there.

So lets spread that muck about evenly, if at all.

If you go through my posting history, you’ll find I am very skeptical of any veteran’s status litmus test for public service. One of the reasons is to avoid poisonous rhetoric like this.

Yes, you are correct Mr Moto

Bill Clinton was very evasive about explaining his draft status and why he *didn’t * serve but then he was going to serve and he was involved with ROTC but then he *wasn’t * … gee, guess that’s how he earned the name “Slick Willy”. :smiley:

Here’s a story about Howard Dean that didn’t get much publicity (but should have). He got his draft deferment because of back problems. Nonetheless, it didn’t stop him from skiing the slopes of Colorado even after getting that deferment. :rolleyes:

I don’t know the political affiliation of actor Brian Dennehy but he stretched the truth of his military service. He claimed to be a Vietnam Veteran. He is a Vietnam era veteran but he was stationed in Okinowa.

Yes, Mr Moto, I appreciate your calling attention to my one-sided previous posting and hope I have balanced things off to some degree.

Fair 'nuff.

The enlistment scene from the classic surf/coming of age flick Big Wednesday comes to mind.

Gary Busey rules.

Hey wolf_meister, let’s be fair to the celebs, too - not all of them dodged service or exaggerated their time in the military.

Clark Gable joined the Army Air Corps as a lieutennant, mostly as a morale-building “look, there’s a celebrity among us” sort of thing. He voluntarily flew several combat missions as a waist gunner on heavy bomber missions over Germany - not the sort of thing he was there to do at all, but it certainly helped build morale among the enlisted crewmen.

James Stewart was a bomber navigator in the Army Air Corps and flew combat missions on a regular basis over occupied Europe. After the war he remained in the Air Force Reserve, finally retiring as a brigadier general.

Ted Williams was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. Although World War II ended before he was posted to a combat unit, he was recalled to active duty during the Korean War and flew Panther jets on combat missions, including the famous attacks on the bridges at Toko-Ri.