Friday, May 11, 2007

Nuthin' But A Number

There are a few things I missed in life that many others have experienced ... and think nothing of.

Selective Service, for instance.

Back when I was approaching 18, the U.S. still had a draft. Actually, they stopped drafting around 1973, but kept registration for the draft as a requirement.

In 1975, President Ford signed Proclamation 4360, which "(terminated) the ... procedures for registration under the Military Selective Service Act."

Which means that I didn't have to register for the draft when I turned 18 the next year.

Then, when Jimmy Carter was stinking up the White House, Selective Service registration was reinstated. Proclamation 4771 made registration cumpulsory for "Male citizens of the United States and other males residing in the United States ... who were born on or after January 1, 1960, and who have attained their eighteenth birthday."

Since I was born before January 1, 1960, I didn't have to register.

So, I didn't.

I was one of the "bubble babies." Born between March 29, 1957, and December 31, 1959, I was exempt from Selective Service registration.

Now, years later, I did join the Army. I mean, they was hiring, right?

So, one day, a bunch of young soldiers (and me) were sitting around, talking about Selective Service. It came up because one of the fellows in the company had received a draft notice. From France. Or somewhere like that.

Seems he was born there to U.S. parents. And they wrote his name down. And, when he turned 18 (or whatever the age for compulsary service in that country was), sent him a letter saying "come serve with us."

They got it all worked out, eventually. I think.

But, it was the impetus for discussion of the Selective Service. And telling of the Urban Legend (but it's true!) about the fake kid who got a notice because of an ice cream parlor's mailing list.

I had no stories of my own to tell. Other than the fact that I had never registered for Selective Service.

In fact, I was the only person in the company who hadn't registered. All those younger than me had. And all those older than me (senior enlisted) had. I was the only one in the "bubble."

I was the only one in that unit that, had we not enlisted, and had the government suddenly reinstated the draft ... and drafted everybody in the country ... of the ones in that unit, would not have had to show up.

Still, for a bit, some of the young soldiers thought that I had dodged the draft or something.

1 comment:

  1. Well, at least you weren't in another country, protesting against the US like a former president by the name of Bill Clinton! (Oh, I think I just made myself throw up alittle!) Now THAT is something to be ashamed of, not what you did. And, thanks for serving, soldier!


Please choose a Profile in "Comment as" or sign your name to Anonymous comments. Comment policy