Friday, June 20, 2014


One-A was my draft designation back in the Viet Nam war era.  Although I was in University and had a deferment I knew that  I would get drafted sooner or later.  As it turns out the war dragged on past my graduation and so it was good I joined the New Mexico Air National Guard and US Air Force as a still photographer and cinema photographer.  I served as a Staff Sergeant.

At least I got a job I wanted. I ended up doing over two  years active duty starting in 1968 after our unit of F-100 fighter bombers were sent to Viet Nam.  We had been put on active duty because of the Korean "Pueblo Crisis".  But they really wanted planes, pilots and mechanics for Viet Nam.  The unit lost three pilots.  Many were sent to Korea to live in tents, and about a quarter of us were sent to duty at bases around the U.S.  I ended up at Luke AFB in Phoenix where this photo was taken in August 1968.

Back to the draft.  This week during all the golf games everyone was lamenting dick cheney blabbing about the situation in Iraq and his feeling we should send troops there again.  This was the guy who got half a dozen deferments during the Viet Nam war because, "I had better things to do."  He really said that.

Most of the groups I golf with during the week are about 75% former service men.  We all agree that the draft has to be reinstated so that everyone has to serve the country.  Options should be given for military or civil service, but no one gets deferred.  And of course we all dream that every Senator's and Congressman's kids or grandkids will have to be in front of the line, just so the hawks on Capitol Hill know there is a personal price connected to them shilling for the defense industry.  Whether it is serving as a soldier, or emptying bedpans in a Veteran's Hospital, everyone would serve.  And that includes the one per centers.  That way people like cheney might be better human beings.


I, Robot said...

Agreed. I think Israel and Switzerland have the right idea, and I'd go so far as to say you have to earn your citizenship. Admittedly, a lot of details to work out, but I think the general idea is sound.

Anonymous said...

At some point, the lucky ones come back from war. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) was intended to protect those who return from the call to the colors.

There is an important case before the NM Supreme Court that it is being watched throughout the US and that is Ramirez v. CYFD. SFC Ramirez returned from 3 theatres of war and was fired by the state.

He won at trial.

The state appealed and now it is before the state Supreme Court.

Susana Martinez has refused to accept USERRA as a law that keeps all employers - including state employers - responsible for protecting soldiers when they return.

So far, the state has paid a private law firm over a million dollars to defend the state against SFC Ramirez.

Anonymous said...

Albuquerque Police Dept make national new again:

Were Police Too Quick to Shoot?

Anonymous said...


Were police too quick to shoot?

Berry, are you ever going to come out of your bunker to address this before this blows up even more? Where’s your leadership! It’s damaging Albuquerque and New Mexico’s reputation and economy.


Bubba Muntzer said...

I've thought about that, too, mandatory service. My fantasy of course is that if you vote to go to war you go on the front line.

My only worry is that militarism might become more ingrained in the culture. But then, once people who have money and connections started picking up their kids in boxes at military airports or pushed them around in wheelchairs or tried to talk to them and they just stared at them, militarism might quickly evaporate from the culture.

Kicking back in the barracks. They always said you Air Force guys had it nice. Furniture! Imagine that.

Jim Baca said...

Yeah, and the pool and golf course was nice too.