The Draft during the Vietnam War (1964-1973)

IV.      The Draft during the Vietnam War (1964-1973)

In 1960, 9.3 million American males were between the ages of 18 to 26—the age range targeted by the draft.[1] By 1965, 11 million American men were old enough to serve and by 1970 the number was over 14 million.[2] From 1964 to 1973, there were 53 million young Americans between 18 and 26 years old, but more than half were women and weren’t eligible for the draft.[3] 6,000 women did serve in the military, but not in combat positions. The number of men inducted into the armed services never exceeded 340,000 a year.[4] From 1960 to 1965, an average of 100,000 men were drafted each year. Between 1966 and 1970, 300,000 per year were sent to Southeast Asia.[5] Most of the 27 million men who were eligible to be drafted weren’t sent to war. They received deferments, exemptions, or avoided the draft through illegal means.[6]

[1] Useem, Michael. 1973. Conscription, Protest, and Social Conflict: The Life and Death of a Draft Resistance Movement. New York: John Wiley and Sons-A Wiley-Interscience Publication. Pg. 77. (Statistics gathered from U.S. House Committee on Armed Services, 1966, 10003)

[2] Ibid

[3] Baskir, Lawrence M. and William A. Strauss. 1978. Chance and Circumstance: The Draft, the War, and the Vietnam Generation. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf. Pg. xi

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6] Ibid