Draft Boards & RIFs

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
I'm conducting some research on various aspects of the Cold War and am looking for some information on a couple of issues.

Firstly, can anyone point me in the direction of literature relating to Local Selective Service Boards, especially during the Viet Nam era? Or even first hand knowledge of (admittedly unlikely on this site)? For all the volumes of work written about the draft, there is shockingly little about its interface with potential inductees. James Westheider gives a good summary in the chapter on recruitment in his book, "Vietnam", but there is still a lot unanswered.

Secondly, I've come across references in a number of books that remark on encounters with NCOs who were "RIFfed" officers (Colonels who had been reduced to SSgts etc., as an alternative to redundancy) in the late 1950s. I'm presuming that this was a part of Ike's New Look transformation, but what is never made clear is what was the inducement to staying on at a much reduced rank instead of taking the redundancy? Also, why did the Army bother offering them a chance to stay in at all, albeit as an NCO? What did the Army gain out of this? Was it just a way of letting blokes top up their pensionable service?

I know these are esoteric to the point of bizarre, but someone must have come across someone who knows something. Thanks.
 
I had to appear before my local draft board to contest (ultimately unsuccessfully) my rating of 1-A. I felt I should be a 2-S seeing as how I was at university at the time. The small matter of the fact that I was in the process of flunking out was only a small detail I didn't think to trouble the board with. This was in February 1970. Hope that helps.

The Selective Service Mechanism is still there and young men between the ages of 18 and 26 are supposed to register for the draft (they do it by filling out a card at the Post Office) but no one has been drafted since 1973.
 

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
I'm aware of the modern-era SSS, having myself registered back in 1990 when I moved to the US. Still have my old draft card somewhere. The draft was inactive then and I'm interested in how it actually functioned when active, more at the grass roots level than General Hershey's.

Ruckerwocman, from what I can ascertain, Local Boards usually consisted of 3 members (usually men) who were volunteers and who met once a month. Further, most draft boards seem to have had a paid clerk (full/part time?). Does this gel with your experience? Also, did the draft boards have their own offices, or were they operated out of other county buildings? Where were induction physicals held?

Again, thanks for taking time out to share.
 
My local board met in the Knott Building in Dayton, OH. This was an office building on Main Street; I suppose the Selective Service rented the office space as it wasn't a Federal building or anything of the type. There were three board members, all men, and a recording secretary, but her pay status is unknown to me. I got up to say my piece, the clerk scribbled it down. I furnished what I hoped was documentary evidence sufficient to get my category changed, and the board members looked at that. I don't remember if they told me I was approved or disapproved at my hearing but I had the results within a few weeks by mail. (Whistles "You're In The Army Now")

The induction center was in Cincinnati as I remember. That's where the physicals were conducted. I was late getting to the bus stop where I was supposed to get the bus to take me to Cincinnati; car trouble, so I had to leg it. I do remember the driver saying as I got on that in his experience (and it was considerable) no one ran to catch his bus as I had just done. That raised a bunch of titters from the peanut gallery in the back. I told the jesters that I hoped the Marine gunny would grab them first when they got down to the induction center and give them something to really laugh at. 8O:eek: At least I got a box lunch out of the experience. :-D:lol:
 
I'm conducting some research on various aspects of the Cold War and am looking for some information on a couple of issues.

Firstly, can anyone point me in the direction of literature relating to Local Selective Service Boards, especially during the Viet Nam era? Or even first hand knowledge of (admittedly unlikely on this site)? For all the volumes of work written about the draft, there is shockingly little about its interface with potential inductees. James Westheider gives a good summary in the chapter on recruitment in his book, "Vietnam", but there is still a lot unanswered.

Secondly, I've come across references in a number of books that remark on encounters with NCOs who were "RIFfed" officers (Colonels who had been reduced to SSgts etc., as an alternative to redundancy) in the late 1950s. I'm presuming that this was a part of Ike's New Look transformation, but what is never made clear is what was the inducement to staying on at a much reduced rank instead of taking the redundancy? Also, why did the Army bother offering them a chance to stay in at all, albeit as an NCO? What did the Army gain out of this? Was it just a way of letting blokes top up their pensionable service?

I know these are esoteric to the point of bizarre, but someone must have come across someone who knows something. Thanks.
RIF's at least in the US Army have been done after ACW/WWI/WWII/Korea/Vietnam/GW1 & Today .

in the 20's Major Sam Woodfill who had been commissioned in 1913, went back to his substantive peacetime rank of Master Sergeant due to the drawdown and lack of college education. In Woodfill's case on a Sgts pension when he retired.

I believe Ike himself who was Lt Col went back to his Regular Army rank of Captain (similar to Patton, Bradley, etc.). Only MacArthur was able to stay a Brigadier General due to being named the USMA West Point Commandant. In the early 30's ALL USMC NCO's were reduced 2 pay grades and the Army went on half pay due to the depression (the savings going to the CCC Civilian Conservation Corps funding).


Many of the post war (WW2 & Korean) rank reductions were to keep regulars who had received battlefield commissions in service to "top up" as you say. Audie Murphy had he NOT been a MoH awardee and highest decorated US trooper would have faced reduction as the man only had a Elementary school education

Post Vietnam the US Army released so many helicopter pilots as excess they realized they got rid of too many and had to ask some to come back in, the USAF gave early releases to thousands of Air National Guard pilots to make way for returning Vietnam combat pilots who had hundreds more flying hours (something never mentioned when discussing former Pres Bush)

In My own experience my last unit had a black captain with 5 tours of Iraq who eventually was reduced to SSG, purely due to his not being able to finish the civilian education standard the Army demanded. In his case he did have time and opportunity but gambled and lost that the HQDA would not reduce him. We also had a Samoan Major who was retired a SFC again due to education requirements. One change I know of is today you retire at highest rank held. So if you were a captain and reduced to sgt you get a captains pension (or whichever is higher) unless reduction due to court martial obviously.
 
This is my draft card. We were supposed to turn it in at the reception station, but I must have forgotten to do it. Details obscured to protect the guilty.
Draft Card Mod.jpg
 

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
Just to show you how much changed in 20 years - see mine as attached file. Don't suppose you kept your induction notice?
 

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The induction letter I do not have any more, but at least in my case it doesn't matter as I didn't go into the service as a draftee. I beat the buggers and enlisted to secure training in a field of my liking and went in as a Regular Army soldier. I liked it so much I stayed for a mere 30 years. There were plenty of draftees in my basic training platoon though, and a right miserable bunch of w*nkers they were.

My uncle on my maternal side went for special training during WW II in radio and electronics. It helped him to make a living after the war in civil life. He was enlisted in the "DOW + 6 months" scheme which meant he probably was discharged in February 1946. We don't know exactly as he didn't keep many papers from his Army days and his records were probably destroyed in the great fire of 1973 at the St. Louis archive. My father's personnel records met a similar fate although we did manage to find something about him. As for my uncle, he didn't serve in the Reserve after the war to my knowledge. He died in 1975 at age 60. Here's his wartime identity card though that may interest you.

Enlisted Reserve Corps ID Card WW II.jpg
 
Doesn't answer the OP's specific question but the book Dirty Little Secrets of the Vietnam War by James F Dunnigan and Albert F Nofi has a plethora of data from the war. I have a copy and am willing to sell it on to anyone interested.
 

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
Ruckerwocman,

Can I assume from the date of your induction that you were a "lottery winner"? If so, your lottery number must have been very low to be called up in February.
 
I enlisted. I decided not to wait to be inducted. I went to my local Army careers center and signed a contract to serve 3 years on active duty in MOSC 67A10, Helicopter Airframe Repairman. My basic training was at FT Lenord Wood, MO and my AIT (Advanced Individual Training) was at FT Rucker, AL. (Home of Army Aviation). I believe my recruiter's name was SSG Bosshart and my DIs were SSG Shireman and SGT WIedener. SSG Shireman was a true professional and taught me a lot about being a soldier. He had just come from a tour in 'Nam with the 1st Cav and was amused when he found out that I was going to learn how to repair Hueys. He looked at his Drill assistant, SGT Wiedener and then said (looking at me) "Fresh meat on the table, boy! He'll make a great door gunner or else he'll be dead. Sir Charles will see to that."

To tell the truth, I don't remember what my lottery number was. It was low but I don't think I would have been called to go.That was 40 years ago though so who can say?

Our favorite activity:
Extra Salty Gunny.jpg
 
Draft Boards

When I reached draft age in 1965 I lived in a city of 100,000, Cambridge, MA, which had a lot of draft age males due housing Harvard and MIT. The staff was two ladies, clerks, who were there every day and a local draft board of three people who would rule on status (student, clergy, sole surviving son deferrals etc)

RIF's

When I was an Army ROTC cadet in the mid 60's one of the instructors was a Master Sergeant Blinebury, a really great guy. He had enlisted in the Army in 1938. He was commissioned from the ranks as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1942 and made it to LtCol in the 82nd Airborne. His unit jumped into St Mere Eglise on D-Day. His rank was wartime only and after the war he was given the option of discharge or staying in the Army as an NCO. He chose to stay in as enlisted but told me that when he retired he would retire as a Lieutenant Colonel.

Don't know if that helps but that is what I recall.
 

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