My name is Steve. I was drafted into the Army on July 21st, 1969 and am going to be sent to Vietnam in December of 1969.After basic training and Radio Telephone Operator (RTO, MOS 05B) in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, I was granted a two week leave to visit home and prepare to go to Vietnam. I was 19 years old and single, just as most of the guys I was drafted with. Before I was drafted, I had wanted to go to college and get a degree in accounting, but I didn't have good enough grades. I decided to be drafted because I wanted to do what I could for my country. My father supported my decision partly due to the fact that he was a vet of WWII. He used to tell me stories of what his experiences were like.
My mother, however, didn't want to see her only son go to a far away country to fight. She wanted me to get a job and get married. She wanted me to have a family of my own. I would tell her that I am too young to think about that stuff, but she wouldn't listen. I have a sister who, at the time, was twenty-two years old.
Her and I never really got along because I was always trying to get her in trouble someway. She told me that serving our country in Vietnam was the biggest mistake I could ever make. I just ignored her statement completely. A few of my buddies were drafted along with me.
They were, however, going to attend college, so they got student deferments until the completion of their schooling. So I was headed to a whole new world completely blindfolded. I didn't know what I was going to be doing, who I would meet, or what would happen to me. During my basic training and radio operation training, I met a whole bunch of new people.
I tried to stay in touch with my family, but I wrote infrequently. The everyday workouts were very tiring and they took a lot out of me.As soon as my eight weeks of basic was up, I went home to rest for two weeks. I had changed, and everyone noticed. I wasn't the scrawny boy..