It is NOT an “all-volunteer army” you know.  Maybe all the guys entering now are volunteers, but what about the draftees who are still in?


Okay, I grant that Jeff Mellinger has re-enlisted a few times over the last four decades, but in 1972 he was drafted.  The draft ended on June 30, 1973 (I graduated from college in May, 1973.) and a lottery had been used since 1970.  (The lottery held on August 5, 1971 assigned me a number of 359.)  Jeff’s number came up and he went in.  (And so ends any comparison of Jeff and me.)


When he retires this summer there will finally be no Vietnam draftees in the army.  Not that there is anything wrong with draftees – take Jeff, for example:  He has spent 33 hours in free fall.  When we speak of the experience of pilots, we might say “he has 33 hours in a Super Hornet.”  Well, Jeff is not a pilot.  He is a paratrooper.  He has an accumulated time after-exiting-the-aircraft-until-his-parachute-opens of 33 hours.  33 hours accumulated over 37 hundred jumps.  And that is just a taste of his resume.

Happy Fourth of July, Jeff.


 Oh…and thank you for your service.