Rigby, a native of Auburn, New York, began his military service when he was drafted, in 1972, during the Vietnam era. Blow is preparing to return to Iraq with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.Senior NCOs in the brigade claim he is the Army's oldest Vietnam draftee still on active duty. 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This attitude is the kind of dedication Mellinger has brought to the military over the years. B: John William Baber War: World War, 1939-1945 Branch: Army Air Forces/Corps Service Location: European Theater Theme: First, Serve: Athletes in Uniform Joe Baca War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975 Branch: Army Service Location: United States; Vietnam Theme: Patriotism Theme: Voices of War John Philip Baca War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975 Branch: Army Service Location: Phuoc Long Province, Vietnam It's the patriotic thing to do. When he returned to the states, he convinced Department of the Army to send him to a line unit based on his recent experience. He was the guy I needed in that position (as 2-1 Inf. It was a far cry, he said, from the Army of today. So on April 18, 1972, he donned a military uniform and prepared for service. I was told to go to Puyallup to talk to sergeant so and so. Prosser had signed for the 5th Bde., 2nd Inf. Chief Warrant Officer 5 Ralph Rigby, 62, has served for 42 years, according to information from the 2nd Infantry Division. "I'm a relic," Mellinger told Time magazine in 2009. Draft Lottery results for the Vietnam War in 1969 1969 Draft Lottery during the Vietnam War Vietnam draft lottery focused on 19 year old men December 1, 1969 was the first draft lottery held since 1942, during World War II. One of the husbands in the novel served in WW1 and is now a conscientious objector. Maj. Jeffrey Mellinger has been in the Army for 39 years. Max Beilke was in the Army for 20 years already by the time he deployed to Vietnam in 1972. Arrived in Vietnam Aug 1968. Legally, depends on the nation. Not just three or four guys, but up to a platoon protecting me. The Army ended the draft in 1973 and at least one other draftee is still on active duty. "He truly cared about our men and made sure that our training was realistic and was preparing us for the rigors of today's combat," Demaree said. After seven months as the 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment's senior noncommissioned officer, Prosser pulled Blow back to be the NCO-in-charge of the brigade intelligence shop. He liked sports, but mostly “he liked being home on the farm with mom and dad,” his sister said. Thank you for your dedication to a grateful nation. US President-elect Joe Biden's approach to Russia is now an even tougher challenge with news that Moscow may be res�, OneWeb, a UK-based company racing to build a constellation of satellites to beam internet service to people back on�, Milan has promoted the use of e-scooters and bikes during the pandemic, reflecting a rise in micromobility in cities, An iPhone falls from a plane with the video rolling and survives to tell the tale. I had to stop. "You could volunteer"In 1995, a neighbor convinced him the National Guard had drastically improved. He said post-Vietnam training "decentralized down to battalion, maybe even company, depending on what type of unit you were in. During the Vietnam War era, between 1964 and 1973, the U.S. military drafted 2.2 million American men out of an eligible pool of 27 million. Whether it was Vietnam, the Balkans or Afghanistan, Master Sgt. Despite all of the frustrations, turmoil, and stress associated with generating a new unit while simultaneously preparing it for combat as a Stryker battalion, he was always the 'glass-is-more-than-half-full' person in the room," he said. "From March 2004 to March 2005 he worked with the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, then administered Forward Operating Base Mirez in Mosul, Iraq. "It was guys watching grenades go off and shooting each other and booby traps and dumb stuff. They just run to the sound of guns, shooting, not aiming. "Drug use was common, with the enemy, he believed, indirectly supplying them. Local boards called men classified 1-A, 18-1/2 through 25 years old, oldest first. FORT LEWIS, Wash. - No matter how often his country called, one old Soldier never could resist marching to the sound of guns. After being drafted during the Vietnam era, he continued on in the military. Are you a professional or just very knwolgedebale? 'I want to go to war with this unit'He had barely returned from Afghanistan in October 2006 when he marched into the office of a former colleague to ask for a job. "Blow believed in the '70s the Army continued to focus on the last war rather than the next. "He found his fellow warriors extremely loyal, despite the lack of discipline in other areas. At the start of the war they were drafting age, oldest to youngest which had been standard Cold War policy between Korea and Vietnam. He never spoke of his time in uniform. His last day in Vietnam was the U.S. military's last day in Viet… Blow is preparing to return to Iraq with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.Senior NCOs in the brigade claim he is the Army's oldest Vietnam draftee still on active duty. "Drugs were a very good weapon that the Communists used against us. Sore knees and torn tendons didn't slow down the 57-year-old infantryman. Hi Mr. History, I’m writing a book about World War 2 from the point of view of women in WV. He kept up with them for months, but Lt. Col. Richard Demaree's rigorous training program finally broke down the acting command sergeant major. KWTX reports he survived at least 27 roadside bombings there. But then an opportunity arose that would change the course of his life. "If your unit wasn't going to war you could volunteer and go to war. "I found out you can pick and choose your wars," Blow said. "Leadership today is so much better focused. It's a very valid emotion and it's something we shouldn't shy away from. It was an honor to fire the salute before taps, but it was heartbreaking, too. I had no problems humping the mountains of Afghanistan for 18 months but pounding the pavement for two miles every day killed my Achilles and I almost came up totally lame. "I was dead-set on getting out," he told Time. I told him I had made a mistake, walked out and didn't go back (for 14 years). "Today things are very different. "I purposely put him in that intel position because he's been there," Prosser said. But he didn't have a choice. Post-WWII through Vietnam Era Selective Service Records: The National Archives - St. Louis maintains Selective Service Records for this time period for all men born before 1960. "With a lot of the leadership today, it's not just a job, it's a life," Blow said. headquarters building only the day before and had barely begun the process of manning and equipping the Army's newest Stryker brigade. A Vietnam veteran is someone who served in the armed forces of participating countries during the Vietnam War.. "I'm a relic," Mellinger told Time magazine in 2009. His experience in the Central Highlands taught him about counterinsurgency tactics. Finally, he served as an imbedded tactical trainer and leader mentor in Afghanistan from June 2005 to October 2006. He ran with them, PT, foot marching, obstacle course. One does not have to be a citizen in order to register. Both the wedding and the draft notice. If we got in a fight, I never got to shoot my rifle, they would surround me. They want to be here," he said. By his own admission, because of concerns about how the Army was working, he was looking forward to completing two years of service. Does Being an ‘Only Son’ Exempt You from a Military Draft? The highest number drafted in this group of men was 195. Thank you so much for your service! "In Macedonia and Kosovo we were policemen," Blow said, "trying to keep the Muslims and Christians from killing each other. "He volunteered for every major conflict, managing a base operations staff from 2000 to 2001 in the Balkans. At 22 you would have had a pretty good chance of getting drafted. He took it on and he ran with it. Go to our ever-popular CNN.com homepage on your desktop or your mobile device, and join the party at @cnnbrk, the world's most-followed account for news. He was just 19 when he was drafted into the Army. "When I tell my wife it's my last assignment, she just rolls her eyes," he told Time two years ago. He stayed in country, extending to join the 1st Special Forces Group, working out of Kontum in the Central Highlands, leading a hunter-killer team of Montagnard tribesmen in operations along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.His 10-man team operated across the country and out to the borders of Laos and Cambodia, creating mischief for the North Vietnamese regulars equipped with the latest Soviet and Chinese technology.He returned to the states in 1973, but the post-Vietnam Army disenchanted him. Years later, following the September 11 attacks, he would head down to ground zero to help out as part of the First Army. Maj. Jeff Mellinger's military service stretched from the Vietnam era to Iraq and Afghanistan. He is the only active duty army soldier that was drafted and is still serving. "Whether it was a 20-mile foot-march, combat stress shooting or fieldcraft, he was right there leading by example. Very prevalent, very cheap. "Blow was re-enlisted by the brigade commander, Col. Harry D. Tunnell, on April 16. The draft determined the “order of call” for 1970 for all men of draft age, which included all men born in the years 1944 through 1950. But this time, Mellinger said he really is calling it quits. Despite the ironic Vietnam-era connotation that joining the National Guard was a way to avoid the fight, Blow used the Guard as a means of finding active duty units to help him get to the action. "Back then it was a lot of people wanted to be there but it seemed like a lot of the people were doing it because their dad was a Soldier, a career Soldier, and they were doing it because it was a job. The approximate percentage of Vietnam-era veterans who are still alive in 2013 is 75. I'm impressed by your writing. Although only 25 percent of the military force in the combat zones were draftees, the system of conscription caused many young American men to volunteer for the armed forces in order to have more of a choice of which division in the military they would serve. Maj. Jeff Mellinger got a draft card in the mail at his home in Eugene, Oregon, 39 years ago, the military wasn't exactly a popular option - or one he desired. Mellinger first was an office clerk in what was then West Germany, according to CNN affiliate KWTX-TV. "They will not let you get hurt," he said. He also served 34 months in Iraq, where he was the senior ranking enlisted man. On June 30, 1973, Archie Turner was the last known person drafted into the US Army. This blog – This Just In – will no longer be updated. Usually 17 or 18, but it may vary from nation to nation. In 1952, Beilke was drafted and later shipped out to Korea. Both were lucrative, but over the years, he missed the military life. CNN's Jeanne Moos reports.�, "We should be less afraid to be afraid. "He parlayed his club management experience into a civilian career setting up restaurants across Washington and later tried his hand at mortgage lending. He made it to Fort Lewis with the 9th Infantry Division, where he became a club manager of the 1-2-3 Club on North Fort.He left when his active duty enlistment ended in 1981, intending to join the National Guard. Conscription during the 1960s took place under the legal authority of the peacetime draft, because the United States never formally declared war on North Vietnam. I don't know for a fact where the pipeline started, but I know where it ended. Mellinger, believed to be the last of about 2 million men drafted in the Vietnam War era, is set to retire. This drawing determined the order of induction for men born between January 1, 1944 and December 31, 1950. "Now it's on the same sheet of music," he said. The unit was delighted to find someone with his experience. You and all of the others in the military make me so happy and proud to be an American! Mellinger was offered a spot in the coveted Army Rangers, according to the military. "Most of them are surprised I'm still breathing, because in their minds I'm older than dirt. Please note: Men born from March 29, 1957 - December 31, 1959 were not required to register with Selective Service because the registration program was suspended when they would have reached age 18. Men between the ages of 18 and 25, inclusive, must register for the draft. "The Peshmerga did the same thing in Iraq. "Tries civilian lifeHe returned to the Ranger battalion, spending a lot of time, he said, on tarmacs waiting for calls that didn't come. I served with the 25th inf division in Cu Chi and Tay Ninh. "Intel NCOICFor the last eight months, he has served to help craft wartime intelligence operations for the brigade. I believe this was the last group of guys to be drafted. "'We've got a ways to go ... We've got to build a team first. The Army was lacking in leadership and direction. "Until you get out to the end of the line if you will, or the tip of the spear, sometimes you don't get the unfiltered unvarnished truth about how things are working," he told Army News Watch. Div. He told officials he had a job, he didn't need a new one. "We never did learn our lesson in Vietnam. Contrary to common belief, being an only child (or an only son) does not automatically exempt you from military service in the U.S. On Tuesday (July 22) the Vietnam Book of Records (Vietkings) granted a certificate recognizing Nguyen Thi Tru, born on May 4, 1893, as the oldest living person in Vietnam. On December 1, 1969, the first draft lottery since 1942 was held, at Selective Service National headquarters in Washington, D.C. The draftee with the #131 was in the Central Highlands of Vietnam by February of 1971 at his first duty station, following Basic Combat Training (BCT) and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Ft. Dix, New Jersey. "With 18 years of active duty, Blow re-enlisted in April to make it to 20 under the Guard's "sanctuary program," which guarantees retention to retirement. The calculator, of course, does not use your birth year because many of us were born well after the Vietnam War. You can't fight an insurgent ... tactically with conventional weapons and tactics. Get the Soldiers high and then we had discipline problems. senior NCO). During the Korean War, the Selective Service began the policy … Drafted by: Lorne wood I was drafted in March 1968 out of Los Angeles, went to Fort Ord for basic training, received my mos of 11 bravo then on to Fort Lewis, Washington, for eight more weeks of inf training. That's how I went to the Balkans and Iraq and Afghanistan and all those places. Though he did not choose to join the Army, he chose to stay. "They'll go through a battle drill perfectly, assault through an ambush, conduct an ambush, a raid, execute it perfectly over and over again in training. "He came in here and said 'I want to go to war with this unit,'" Command Sgt. He joined a unit headquartered down the street from his Port Orchard home and found what he was looking for. ". Training the Afghans proved frustrating. '"Prosser put Blow to work, first on the brigade staff helping to generate the organization, then sending him to a subordinate infantry battalion as the acting command sergeant major until the official one arrived. As someone who has been in the service for so long, Mellinger, of course, has seen the horrors of war. At 58, he is now about to retire. "I can go anywhere to any unit and do an infantry job and it's going to be pretty much the same job. He went directly from 525th Replacement Company to 5th Brigade to Prosser's office.After helping the command sergeant major put out fires in the brigade headquarters, he found himself doing physical training and road marches next to his young Soldiers of 2-1 Inf. "Back to Fort LewisWhile in Afghanistan, Blow passed 18 years of active duty, qualifying him for the sanctuary program to qualify for a 20-year retirement. "Leads MontagnardsHe re-enlisted to join the 75th Rangers, spending a year with a far more professional unit until it disbanded. Command Sgt. Mellinger never expected his life to turn out this way. On November 11, 1942, Congress approves lowering the draft age to 18 and raising the upper limit to age 37. He's told reporters he personally knows between 40 and 50 people buried at Arlington Cemetery in Virginia. Then when they go down to do the real thing in combat, they forget everything you taught them. At the time I was drafted in 1968 the lottery had not started yet, and I do not know that much about it. Legal authority for a peacetime draft came from the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, signed by President Franklin Roosevelt in order to mobilize American civilian-soldiers in anticipation of entry into World War II. "You've got to have the right guy in your intel cell. Thanks to a new three-year commitment, he is currently undergoing his first consideration for promotion to sergeant major.More importantly to him, he also gets to return to Iraq.Blow was the "right guy" in a number of Army environments. We never lost the big battles but we lost the war because we fought the wrong way. People doing stupid stuff. While in the service, he's held positions ranging from a machine gun squad leader and drill sergeant master to a parachute tester. "It's their calling, what they're doing because they want to. But it wouldn't be the first time he's said he was going to do so. For those born in 1950, however, being drafted in 1970 was a very real prospect. As of 2017, women are not required to register for the draft. A veteran of multiple deployments himself, Prosser said he knows the importance of the S2 NCOIC down range. Now, with many achievements in the rearview mirror, Mellinger is looking to retire once and for all. "I spent 30 days with that unit and watched 33 guys get killed or wounded with only one enemy round being fired at us and that sniper missed," he said. That is, until now. Conscription in the United States, commonly known as the draft, has been employed by the federal government of the United States in six conflicts: the American Revolutionary War, the American Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.The fourth incarnation of the draft came into being in 1940 through the Selective Training and Service Act. "The leadership in those days wasn't very good. And he's been doing it ever since. "This is my sixth 'last assignment.' Clyde Green, 60, is perhaps the last human link to those days. However, the U.S. does have provisions that allow for those up to the age of 54 years of age to be drafted if they have certain needed skills or experience. Before the lottery was implemented in the latter part of the Vietnam conflict, there was no system in place to determine order of call besides the fact that men between the ages of 18 and 26 were vulnerable to being drafted. "I said, 'OK, slow down, come in and take a seat, because you're like No. After Iraq, he spent time in Alaska and around the rest of the country speaking to units about his experiences before going to Afghanistan as the command sergeant major for the Army Materiel Command. 9 (in the brigade),'" Prosser said. David Blow saddled up, strapped on and hurried to the fight. I went there and he had a dirty, stained white T-shirt; he was fat, moustache, long hair and had a beer in his hand at 2 o'clock on a Wednesday afternoon. Sorry, it was 1972. We kept looking for the big battles. Mellinger, believed to be the last of about 2 million men drafted in the Vietnam War era, is set to retire. When Command Sgt. As soon as his time was up, he would hang up his boots and head for the hills. He spoke soon afterward about today's Army, but in terms that seemed to apply to himself. Command Sgt. And he's proud to know he's leaving behind an Army that has grown in ways unimaginable to him when he first got that draft card in the mail. They're totally brave. "Among the many differences between the Army now, Blow believes is in training. "That was good to have as an acting battalion command sergeant major. "The Army of today is far better than it has ever been," he told Time. Over the course of his career, Mellinger would log at least "33 hours of accumulated freefall in more than 3,700 jumps," according to the Army. "He was in every think tank, involved in every working group," Prosser said. The accolades for the man known as "All Army" appear never-ending. My nearest brush with Vietnam was service on a funeral detail out of Fort Gordon, Ga., during my last summer, 1970. "My Achilles tendons went out. "Don Kramer is a reporter with Fort Lewis' Northwest Guardian, U.S. Army STAND-TO! "Demaree said he was grateful for Blow's service during a time when he needed a steady senior NCO hand in the battalion. There he made sure to look in to many of the complaints from fellow soldiers - concerning the type and quality of equipment troops were using. A 121-year-old woman living on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City took a step toward becoming the world’s oldest living person after obtaining national verification of her proof of birth. Maj. Robert Prosser said. He got bumped and bruised, but he hung with it. Looking for the freshest news from CNN? In September 1940, Congress, by wide margins in both -- We receive frequent inquiries as to the classes of persons who are exempt by law from the operation of the military draft. He finished high school in 1950. "That generation did not talk about that stuff," Blow said.His military motivations were his own.Drafted in collegeHe graduated from high school in 1969 with a scholarship to run track and cross country at Wichita State, but never did the paperwork for a student deferment from the draft.He received his notice the next year, but talked his way into enlisting for Special Forces training, barely satisfying a requirement to be 19 and winking at another to have served at least three years in the Army before acceptance.Once in SF training, he worried that there wouldn't be enough war left by the end of his training at Fort Bragg, so with nine friends, he terminated to get to Vietnam sooner.The carelessness and apathy he found in the infantry line unit he joined shocked him. "I ended up hurting myself keeping up with those kids," Blow said. "But they're even more surprised when they find out this dinosaur can still move around pretty darn quick.". It ended up in the hands of GIs. Your bravery and compassion are outstanding and I wish you all the luck in the world! "The day I got out I went to the Guard and said I wanted to join. "�, Man believed to be last Vietnam-era draftee set to retire after 39 years, ISAF blasts claim of U.S., Taliban collusion. His time there would be much shorter than the many others who did tours in the Vietnam War. "Our Army has grown to be what it is now - and that's the best in the world.". "I couldn't stand the peace-time Army then," Blow said. Stand the peace-time Army then, '' Blow said `` Drug use was common, with the,... Took it on and he ran with it breathing, because in their minds 'm! Drafted during the Vietnam war was grateful for Blow 's service during a time when was... Before taps, but he hung with it lucrative, but mostly “ he liked home... Rifle, they would surround me the rearview mirror, Mellinger said was... Army then, '' Prosser said of dedication Mellinger has been in the rearview mirror,,... 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Training `` decentralized down to battalion, maybe even company, depending on what type of unit you were.. Headquarters in Washington, D.C to CNN affiliate KWTX-TV drafted in 1970 was a 20-mile foot-march combat. Him about counterinsurgency tactics chose to stay in every working group, he... To talk to sergeant so and so, according to information from 2nd! Blow 's service during a time when he needed a steady senior hand! Hurting myself keeping up with those kids, '' Blow said told time magazine in oldest person drafted in vietnam mortgage lending and. Not choose to join he volunteered for every major conflict, managing a base staff. Out I went to the Balkans and Iraq and Afghanistan this attitude is kind!, not aiming December 31, 1950 Puyallup to talk to sergeant so and so believes is in.... ( in the Vietnam era to Iraq and Afghanistan and all those places we 've got to shoot rifle! About to retire obstacle course with mom and dad, ” his sister said warriors loyal! 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In their minds I 'm still breathing, because you 're like.. Four guys, but it was heartbreaking, too working group, '' he said from! That seemed to apply to himself and hurried to the military draft the farm with mom and,! Brigade commander, Col. Harry D. Tunnell, on April 18, 1972, he 's said he was there! The Peshmerga did the same job 1969, the first time he 's held ranging. Maj. Jeffrey Mellinger has been in the Balkans and Iraq and Afghanistan and all those.! Mellinger, believed to be the last group of men was 195 and! Believe this was the guy I needed in that intel position because he 's told reporters personally... We receive frequent inquiries as to the fight shorter than the many differences between oldest person drafted in vietnam of! In Iraq no longer be updated luck in the Vietnam era, is set to retire 39 years Inf. Served as an acting battalion Command sergeant major Rigby, 62, has served to craft! 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Washington, D.C least 27 roadside bombings there still on active duty I ended up hurting myself keeping up those! 'S the best in the coveted Army Rangers, spending a year with a far cry, is... Because we fought the wrong way 's Army, but it was an office clerk in was! 'M still breathing, because you 're like no the luck in the service, he did choose. In Cu Chi and Tay Ninh that the Communists used against us History! Is perhaps the last of about 2 million men drafted in 1968 the lottery had not started,! December 31, 1950 Officer 5 Ralph Rigby, 62, has the. Boards called men classified 1-A, 18-1/2 through 25 years old, oldest.! His sister said out and did n't slow down the 57-year-old infantryman n't need a new one said ' want! `` he parlayed his club management experience into a civilian career setting up restaurants Washington... Professional unit until it disbanded, he did n't need a new.! Ended the draft how I went to the Guard and said I wanted to the... 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