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Here's How 'Cadet Bone Spurs' Dishonors Our Troops

July 7, 2018 in Blogs

By Lucian K. Truscott IV, Salon

The Defense Department is harming national security by discharging immigrants and rebuffing transgender volunteers

Back in the 1960s, with the war in Vietnam raging and young Americans getting killed every day, it cost about $1,000 to dodge the draft. You got an automatic deferment for college, but once you graduated, or if you dropped out, you went back to 1-A status, which meant you were eligible for military service and could be drafted.

The holy grail during the Vietnam war was to become 4-F, the draft status our president, Donald Trump, achieved with a letter from a doctor confirming that he had “bone spurs” on his heels which made him ineligible for military service. That’s where the $1,000 came in. If you had enough money, you could go to a dentist, or a doctor, enough times that you could establish a medical record for a disability that made it appear like you were not medically fit to serve.

The ability of a significant number of young American men to essentially buy their way out of the draft left service in the military to those who couldn’t fake stuff like spurious “bone spurs” to dodge the draft. When I served in the Army at that time, draftees were nearly uniformly from the inner cities or the poorer areas in rural America, like the deep South, Appalachia and thinly populated states like Idaho, Montana, Nevada and the Dakotas.

The draft began to apply to a smaller and smaller section of the country, but the war in Vietnam was chewing up recruits as fast as they could ship them over there. A total of 58,220 would be killed in Vietnam. Another 304,000 soldiers were wounded, out of a total of 2.7 million who served in Vietnam.

As it got harder and harder for the Selective Service to fill the ranks, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara came up with an experiment the Pentagon called “Project 100,000.” This was a program that lowered standards for military eligibility, dropping the lowest allowable scores on the Armed Forces Qualification Test down to Category IV, scores in the 10 to …read more


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