By Major Van Harl USAF Ret
Wisconsin –-(Ammoland.com)- It was 8 January 1973 and I turned eighteen that day. I was in college and after class I went to the local draft board office and registered for the Selective Service.
The Vietnam War had gone on the entire time I was in high school and being drafted into the Army was a constant topic of conversation amongst my fellow draft age friends. My father was active duty Navy at the time and I had lived on or near military bases all eighteen years of my young life.
The military was normal to me but not so normal to my purely civilian high school friends. Most had never lived anywhere other than the hometown they grew up in. The idea that the US Government could force you to join / enlist in the Army was not received well in my age group.
After registering, I went back to campus and complained to anyone who would listen to me. I was young and felt I was being unfairly singled out. My campus student union was half full of female students who did not have to register. I expressed my unhappiness to my fellow female students and for the most part they were shocked I would even consider requiring women to register for the draft. They were girls and while they expected equality in everything else, for the most part none of them wanted anything to do with joining the military much less being forced to enlist.
I asked the questions: what if you had to register and you were drafted, what would you do? The answer seemed to revolve around getting pregnant to avoid being forced to join the Army. Followed by a laugh that let me know as a male I was getting the short end of the stick and my female classmates thought it was funny that the joke was on me. The Vietnam War ended a few months later and so did the drafting of America’s young men. However the draft did not end.
To this day all US males have to register with the Selective Service when they reach the age of eighteen. This country has not used the draft since 1973 even with all the conflicts the US has been in from 1973 to the present. Should there ever be a WWII type of great-war, trust me the draft notices will go out very quickly.
The Department of Defense (DOD) has decided that women will no longer be restricted from any career field in the military. So if women can fill any job or position in the military, does that mean in an effort to be equal and fair, women should to required to register for the draft?
There are very few people in my big Air Force who envision being issued an 80 pound pack along with weapon, ammo and supplies, then sent out to live and fight on the land with only the gear they are carrying on their back. In reality any male member of the military no matter how wimpy his back-office, techno, clean hands admin career field he works in, can be ordered to the frontlines as a rifleman. He may get himself killed because he spent more time working on his military computer rather than his military rifle, but so goes the fortunes of war.
Billy Airman can be ordered to be an infantry soldier and sent to die at the forward edge of the battle area. If all jobs in the DOD are now equal will we be ordering Sally Airman to the head of the line for close combat fighting?
So both men and women must stand ready to be drafted and then potential ordered to die in combat. Even if the current draftable young American decides to avoid their obligation to serve and protect this Nations by quickly becoming a mother that will only be a medical delay. They will be drafted and they could be ordered into one of the front line combat career fields.
I attended the Infantry Officer Basic Course as an Air Force officer. I learned to kill and learned to lead others in combat. Infantry is not for the faint of heart. I learned many excellent skills on how to destroy my opponent while he was trying to kill me. I did not like being at Infantry school and could not wait to get back to the Air Force.
I do however believe I have a much better understanding of ground combat warfare than the average Air Force troop and it is very ugly. Make no mistake I support women in the military. I have a wife who is a retired AF Colonel and a daughter who wants to be military medical officer. However I am concerned about equal opportunity ground combat—it is coming.Major Van Harl USAF Ret
About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:
Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret. , is a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. Now retired, these days he enjoys camping, traveling, volunteering with the Girl Scouts and writing. [email protected]