Military History/Draft in 1964


The following questions pertain to the U.S. military draft in 1964. In a typical situation, how much time did a young man have between receiving his draft notice and having to report for his physical? And, if he passed the physical, how much time did he have (on average) before he was required to report for basic training? In other words, how much time did he have to say goodbye to family. Thanks.

It was a matter of weeks that you had to report after getting your draft notice during the Vietnam War. As for physicals, it varied.

In my case (I was drafted on July 11, 1967), I had my physical the day I reported for induction. I passed and, along with maybe 30 other guys, that afternoon took the oath and was in the Army.

In other cases, men who eventually got drafted took their physicals before receiving their draft notices--for example, if they attempted to join the military to avoid the draft, which did not guarantee you a job, and then didn't get in to the Air Force or Navy or National Guard.

In my case, which was the case with the overwhelming majority of draftees, you said goodbye after getting the draft notice but before you reported for induction, probably two weeks on average.  

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Marc Leepson


I can answer most questions dealing with all aspects of U.S. military history. My expertise is the Vietnam War. I also have written extensively about the U.S. Civil War, World War II, World War I, The Philippine War, and the American Revolution. My books include a concise biography of the Marquis de Lafayette, the history of the American Flag, and the post-Jefferson history of Monticello, and therefore know a great deal about those specific subjects. I specialize in writing about matters of strategy--not tactics. And I also am interested in personalities. I have very little knowledge about ordnance or the value of old military memorabilia. Nor do I know a lot about uniforms and insignia--except about the Vietnam War. To repeat: I have no expertise in assessing the value of ordnance or uniforms or any type of military equipment. And my knowledge about military uniforms is only limited to those of the Vietnam War era. If you have questions on these topics, I recommend contacting an antiques dealer in your area who specializes in military uniforms, ordnance, etc.


Author and journalist with more than 35 years' experience.

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New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribute, New York Newsday, the Arizona Republic, St. Petersburg Times, Detroit News. Magazines: Smithsonian, Preservation, The VVA Veteran, Vietnam, Civil War Times, America's Civil War, Military History, World War II. Editor: The Webster's New World Dictionary of the Vietnam War

BA, 1967, George Washington University, History MA, 1971, George Washington University, European History

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