What about being "drafted" into the Marines?


June 12, 2003, 12:14 AM
This thought occurred to me the other day, while I was driving, driving, driving through the state of Colorado. In 1971 I received my draft notice (IIRC my draft lottery number was 53), and had to report for my physical.

Seems like sometime early in the morning's activities (before we were walking around in our underwear, holding a paper bag with wallet, etc.), we were all sitting in a classroom and being talked to by an Army sergeant. At one point, he addressed our group and said something like "I'll now introduce Marine sergeant So and So, who is looking for three volunteers for the USMC." At that point just about everyone sunk a little lower in their seats, so the Marine Sgt. calls out three names. Those three got up and left the room with him, where I assume that if they passed everything presented to us that day, they were then on their way to Marine boot camp where (to keep this gun related) they were introduced to their first M-16.

Am I correct about this, and did any of you guys enter the Marine Corps in this fashion? Thanks, geegee

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June 12, 2003, 01:33 AM
No, some of us were either dumb enough or had enough extra testosterone to join of our own free will. As Homer Simpson says often and eloquently: DOH!!!

June 12, 2003, 04:33 AM
Never heard of that one but the Marines did draft during the Viet Nam war. First time in (modern?) history.
This was at least 1965.

June 12, 2003, 06:20 AM
My grandfather told the story of enlisting in the Navy during WWII. He said while standing in a very long line, he noticed a couple Marines counting off every 5th guy and pulling him out of line. My grandfather, being 6'4" tall, had a good view and counted along the line back to himself ... then traded places with a short guy behind him! Every guy they pulled out had "voluntered" for the MC.

June 12, 2003, 06:43 AM
Being part of the Viet Nam era and having a 355 (very high) draft number I enlisted in the Army (6 years) because that had been my desire since before high school. It didn't matter to me why we were in Vietnam, only that we were there and fighting and that the time for talking was way past due, win first talk later. That being said, IF I had been drafted into the Marines, with all my being I would have gone to Canada. You have to BELIEVE in the program to survive in the Corp, and I never believe that one Marine was worth 2 or more ( I've heard as high as 10) other soldiers.

June 12, 2003, 08:57 AM
I was in 1968-1972 and they did in fact draft for the USMC, at least in the 60's. I didn't know anyone that had been since I was in the Air Wing and draftees went to the grunts as they were only in for two years and to get the Air Wing, you had to go for four.

telewinz: QUOTE:

You have to BELIEVE in the program to survive in the Corp, and I never believe that one Marine was worth 2 or more ( I've heard as high as 10) other soldiers.


I know and knew a heck of alot of Marines and I never heard one say that they were worth 2 to 10 soldiers. Each Marine, Soldier, Sailor and Airman had their mission and each are equally as important as the others. Don't feed the sterotype.

All the best


June 12, 2003, 09:10 AM
I've heard the long line story too. A line of draftees in a hallway and a Marine Sgt walking down the line pulling every 4th or 5th guy.

Gabby Hayes
June 12, 2003, 09:21 AM
In times of "national emergency," i.e. at times in the past whenever the services have needed to expand quickly or otherwise bring in a large number of recruits, the Marine Corps has been authorized to accept folks from the draft. It was done during both WWII and the Vietnam era, and probably Korea as well. In most cases the Corp just received a percentage of each selective service group, that is if enough poor souls didn't volunteer straight away at the induction center.

June 12, 2003, 09:56 AM
I pulled lot number 128 in 1971 and, figuring that if they did get me, the best I could expect was a rifle and paddy walking, and I already knew how to shoot, I enlisted in the Army for a medical specialist slot.

I took along a copy of the contract, just because.

I was pulled out of the "formation" and notified that I was to become a Marine:

I said I thought not, showed the paper, and got back into the inductive mass of green machine types for three years of fun and games.

So, yes, they did draft, they just didn't have the publicity the army did.

June 12, 2003, 10:07 AM
I knew two guys that were drafted into the Marines during Korea.

June 12, 2003, 10:19 AM

You didn't want to walk the Paddy's with us? Why not?

I didn't have to worry about being drafted, I enlisted in the Corps in "69".

"In peace, as a wise man, he should make suitable preparation for war."
-Horace (65-8 B.C)

This one may be a little long but the jarheads among us will appreciate it, I'm sure.

Author Unknown

In the beginning was the word, and the word was God. In the beginning was God and all else was darkness and void, and without form, so God created the heavens and the earth. He created the sun and the moon, and the stars, so that light might pierce the darkness.

The Earth, God divided between the land and the sea and these He filled with many assorted creatures.

And the dark, salty, slimy creatures that inhabited the murky depths of the oceans, God called sailors. And he dressed them accordingly.

They had little trousers that looked like bells at the bottom. And
their shirts had cute little flaps on them, and they wore funny
looking hats. He gave them long sideburns and beards, nicknamed them "squids," and banished them to a lifetime at sea, so normal folks would not have to associate with them. To further identify these unloved creatures, He called them "petty" and "commodore" instead of titles worthy of red-blooded men.

And the flaky creatures of the land, God called soldiers. And with
a twinkle in His eye, and a sense of humor only He can have, God made their trousers too short and their covers too large. He also made their pockets oversized, so that they may warm their hands.

And to adorn their uniforms, God gave them badges in quantities
only a dime store owner could appreciate. And he gave them emblems and crests and all sorts of shiny things that glittered, and devices that dangled. (When you are God you tend to get carried away.)

On the 6th day, God thought about creating some air creatures for which he designed a Greyhound bus driver's uniform. He discarded this idea during the first week, and it was not until years later that some apostles resurrected this theme and established what we now know as the "wild blue yonder wonders."

And on the 7th day, as you know, God rested. But on the 8th day, at 0530, God looked down upon Earth and was not happy. God was just not happy! So He thought about His labors, and in His divine wisdom, God created a divine creature. And this He called Marine. And the Marines, who God created in His own image, were to be of the air, and of the land, and of the sea. And these He gave many wonderful uniforms. Some were green, and some were blue with red trim. And in the early days, some were even a beautiful tan. He gave them practical fighting uniforms, so they could wage war against the forces of Satan and the evil. He gave them service uniforms for their daily work and training. And He gave them evening and dress uniforms.....sharp and
stylish, handsome things, so they may promenade with their ladies on Saturday night and impress everybody. He also gave them swords, so that people who were not impressed could be dealt with accordingly.

And at the end of the 8th day, God looked down upon the Earth and saw that it was good. But was God happy? No! God was still not happy.

Because in the course of his labors, He had forgotten one thing. He did not have a Marine uniform for himself. But He thought about it, and thought about it, and finally satisfied Himself in knowing that, well
................not everybody can be a MARINE!!!

That should about say it all for now.


June 12, 2003, 10:34 AM
During my induction in December 1968, a Marine sergeant separated all of us Marine volunteers (yeah, I actually enlisted) from the remainder of the group (of about 30-40). He then went down the line and at every 5th inductee he said "YOU!". At the end of the line, he said "to all those so indicated, welcome to the Marine Corps!"

You should have seen the look on their faces. They all looked like they were going to die. Some of them were in my platoon on Parris Island. Most of them survived P.I. (one went psycho and dove out a 2nd story window of one of the old wooden barracks at 1st Battalion. We gave him a 9.4 for style)

So... To answer your question, yes they did draft into the Corps during VietNam. And, by the way, we trained in P.I. and halfway through ITR with the M-14 before transitioning to the M-16. I much preferred the M14!

Semper Fi

June 12, 2003, 11:18 AM

Since I already knew how to shoot, although I hadn't yet met M16, could walk in a straight line all by myself, and already knew enough to stay out of the rain and large mud puddles, I figured there was nothing to be gained in going into the Marines.

As it was, I thought, prior to service entry, that Vietnam needed to be won. After a year or so of "experience", Europe, not SEA, I had other ideas.

FWIW, having thought the matter out, I enlisted to avoid being forced into the infantry, or some other such waste of time. As it turned out, I went through Dix one class in front of the last one containing draftees.

It went downhill from there....

June 12, 2003, 12:34 PM
My cousin was drafted into the Marines in 1966 or 1967. He got to experience the TeT offensive first hand. He hasn't picked up a gun since.

June 12, 2003, 01:00 PM
A colleague at work was drafted into the Marines in the '60s. I also heard the Navy was participating in the draft too on a limited basis.

I was drafted in the Army in late April '66 and we were told at the Army Induction Station that the Marine Corp had filled its quota for the month from the draft.

I was somewhat worried about being drafted in the USMC because as previously mentioned by someone, I think you needed to be gung ho about being a Marine to succeed. One reason I was worried is that I had been doing mucho weightlifting for years before I got drafted and was starting to look like a good imitation of a gorilla.

June 12, 2003, 01:02 PM

I'm assuming that in your post, by saying : "...the infantry, or some other such waste of time.", you are simply referring to your time. I'm assuming that's what you meant because I'm certain as a resident of NH, a state who's motto is 'live free or die', you know that the infantry is the one group of men who have given you that option throughout history.

As a former infantryman and artillery forward observer (which is nothing more than a grunt who carries more weight and can talk intelligently on a radio), I am very proud of my time spent slogging through the mud. It, more than anything else, has made me the man I am today. It taught me discipline, self-sacrifice, honor, integrity, the true meaning of the word duty, and the importance of not taking anything for granted.

The infantry isn't for everyone, and not everyone is capable of being an infantryman. Therefore, I'm sure you simply meant that the infantry was just not for you.


June 12, 2003, 03:09 PM
i'd heard these stories of "marine draftees" most of my life and surprisingly put them down to barracks room tales. (since most came from the mouth of army types, and most marines will deny any knowlege).

the person that finally convinced me that the tale was true was a friend of my father, a man who volunteered for the Corps just prior to the first deployments to vietnam, and retired as a master gunny. and also the only Marine i ever trusted completely to tell me the whole truth about his time in (meaning i knew if he said something it was truth and not brag/ seatale).

seems Gary was sent back to the states as a recruiter at the end of his second tour in SEA, to his shock he was informed that if the quota was not filled nearing the end of the month, that it WOULD be filled by the various manners descibed here by others. preferred method at the station he was assigned was to have the inductees lined up against the wall in skivies, and go down the line putting an "M" on the shoulder of those they wanted/needed, or every "x" number out of the group.

Said it was the one duty he wished he'd never had, expressed the oppinion that "you should HAVE to be a volunteer to be a Marine", but he also understood that without that policy, at that time, the Marine Corps would have atrophied into ineffectivness.

June 12, 2003, 03:31 PM
I got my 'Greetings" from Uncle Sam.

Rather than getting drafted for 2, I figured if I enlisted I might get a better chance of duty station so I enlisted for 4 years ! DUH !! At the induction center, we all raised our hand, said 'I do" and a Marine Sgt came in, pointed and said - "You, you, you, you and you. You're in the Marines." I'm glad I was on the other side of the room !

June 12, 2003, 04:59 PM
Sorry about that!

I already knew that I would be going to college, and wished, as do most, I think, to pick up some skills for later use, and that wouldn't have been the case had I gone the combat arms specialist route.

I intended no slur against the people who did, and do the job. I was, after all, a medic assigned to a field artillery unit, so I've at real good idea of how that particular aspect of the game is played.

June 12, 2003, 05:12 PM
Saw three (IIRC) guys drafted into the Marines by the "you, you, and you" method at the federal building in Newark, NJ, 8/23/68. They did not appear to be happy campers when they left with the Marine sergeant. The last one punched the door frame so hard on the way out that the room shook. I'm also guessing the "F***" he yelled on the way out could be heard for some distance.

June 12, 2003, 05:18 PM
I saw the same thing when I reported for my draft physical (1969). There was a line of guys being inducted, separate from where my group was. An Army NCO and Marine NCO walked down the line with the Army NCO pointing to each inductee, in turn, and saying Army, Army, Army, Marines, Army, Army, Army, Marines. I don't remember if it was every fourth or fifth man picked. But I do remember the guys at the end of the line were trying to figure what number they were and trying to change position.

June 12, 2003, 05:19 PM
Yes indeed...during the 60s, the marine Rep. was on hand at the induction centers. In one instance that I know about, as the Draftees filed out of the room, on their way down the hall for final processing, a marine would slap about every tenth guy on the shoulder and have him step out of line..."You've just joined the marine Corp Boy"

June 12, 2003, 05:37 PM
To expound on my earlier post, I did know guys in my Parris Island Plt who were drafted. They didn't know what had happened but joined the program just as the guys that enlisted had.....Think about it, they knew no difference. They were just as gung ho as the rest of us.
To keep the thread on guns...(LOL) I had a M14 the whole 4 years however, when I qualified my last time as a Sgt in 1972, I ask a grunt to borrow his M-16 on the 500 yrd line and he let me...I then shot up the yard markers at 200 and 300 on automatic and gave it back to him..... All the grunts then had to stay and do cleanup and PT as they did not know who had done such a thing and he could not tell on me as he would then have to admitt he gave his weapon up. I left smiling and on time.

love it

Art: :p

George Dickel
June 12, 2003, 05:45 PM
I enlisted in the Army in Jan 66. All the volunteers were in one group and the draftees were in another. A Marine Gunney had the draftees lined up in a single line and held a sheef of papers in his hand. He walked up to each guy and asked their name and when they replied he looked through the papers and told them what branch they were being drafted into. Most went to the Army but I remember one was inducted into the Navy. When the Marine came to about the 8th guy in line and heard his name he got the most evil grin on his face and said MARINE and poked the kid in the chest with his index finger. The guy almost fainted. Rocked back on this heels, his knees buckled and he nearly fell down. Never seen such a look of sheer terror on a face before.

June 12, 2003, 06:14 PM
No offense intended but I was told the comments about a Marine being equal to 2 soldiers and 10 civilians by Marines in person. One was my high School teacher (WW2 Marine) and a group of Marines I was stationed with at Quantico, VA in '72. They stated it as part of their "confidence" building, they also said they had seen a FAT Green Beret once (?). We all agreed (in good humor) that a tough marine might be worth 10 passive civilians and a soldier was equal to about 10, 70 year old men.:D Peace

June 13, 2003, 01:47 AM

I only did 10yrs in the Corps.

2 tours in the Nam.

My draftee story follows:

during my second tour in the middle of 1969.

We were making an assault. I had been attached and assigned this chewed up squad of IIRC 5 guys.

We had to move out and they were holding back. I used a standard Marine encourgement.

"What the F**K, move out you all vollenteered for this."

One guy say's, "Sarge, I was drafted."

All I remember is that I never felt so bad for a guy in my life.

No body got hit that day.

But I realize with our casualties we needed Cannon fodder. But it isn't right.

Corps took more Casualties in Viet Nam than in WW II. Not dead, we didn't quite make it. Damn MediVacs kept us alive better than in WWII.


June 13, 2003, 02:28 AM

No problem.....I'm sure that there are guys that think that...Most don't.

All the best


June 13, 2003, 07:25 AM
another group that i always wondered about in relation to "not getting what they bargained for". were the Navy Corpsmen who were trained and sent over as the field medics for the Marines...

i've always wondered how many of them DIDN'T volunteer for duty as a combat corpsman.! b/c if any were "selected" instead of being volunteers, that'd be one RUDE wake up call towrd the end of A school! "what do you mean i have to go to field training at camp lejune??!!?? i'm in the NAVY!! :what: i'm gonna be WHAT!?? :uhoh: i knew i should've gone to the air force :banghead: "

correct me if i'm wrong but weren't the navy corpsmen the ONLY US troop "group" with both a higher rate of awards for valor AND higher fatality rate than the Marines over all??

June 13, 2003, 09:59 AM
GOOD LORD, we have some crusties on this board!
I wasn't even alive until '72

But I did my time in the Corps from '91 to '99

Here's some insight to why Marines believe they are worth a couple of Squids or Flyboys. (note, I didn't say soldier, as some of them can be pretty tough, different mission though)

Author Unknown
Marine By God

The USMC is over 227 years
of romping, stomping, hell, death and destruction.
The finest fighting machine the world has ever seen.
We were born in a bomb crater,
our mother was an M-16 and our father was the devil.

Each moment that I live is an additional threat upon your life.
I am a rough looking, roving soldier of the sea and air.
I am cocky, self-centered, overbearing.
I do not know the meaning of fear, for I am fear itself.
I am a green, amphibious monster,
made of blood and guts, who arose from the sea,
festering on anti-Americans throughout the globe.
Whenever it may arise, and when my time comes,
I will die a glorious death on the battle field,
giving my life to mom, the Corps, and the American flag.

We stole the eagle from the Air Force,
the anchor from the Navy, and the rope from the Army.
On the 7th day, while God rested, we over-ran his perimeter and stole the globe, and we've been running the show ever since.
We live like soldiers and talk like sailors
and slap the hell out of both of them.

Soldier by day, lover by night, drunkard by choice,


ed dixon
June 13, 2003, 10:33 AM
My uncle was a Vietnam draftee. The story I heard was that on the day he reported for induction, he was in a classroom full of guys, someone walked in, divided the room in half with his arm and welcomed the guys on one side to the Marines.

June 13, 2003, 11:20 AM

Your right. Navy Corpsman had the highest per capita rate of purple hearts of any group during the SE Asia games. As a USMC grunt w/two tours, I can attest to their courage and dedication. Another group I hold in high regard are the Army medevac pilots. Those 19yo hotshots came in more than once for our wounded when the USMC Rotorheads refused because the LZ was too hot.

65-89 USMC
Semper Fi

June 13, 2003, 02:12 PM
I'm sure you're right about the Navy medics and their valor. A good friend of mine from school was a Navy Medic attached to a marine unit in 'Nam. He was awarded the MOH postumously- even had a ship named after him. His MOH citation was something to read ! I just thought he was one of the wimps everyone hangs out with in school and a guy that I had to watch out for cause he wanted my girl friend !

As far as one Marine worth 10 Army guys. Youse guys better lighten up on that one. My Dad and thousands of other D-Day vets -infantrymen mostly - rate a whole Heck of a lot better than that. Let's just say that everyone who served during that war was worth 10 of us !

Keeping on the gun subject I carried an M14 exclusively from 67-71 in the Army - never shot an M16 in 4 years.

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