Veterans Remember Being Drafted

Imagine sitting at home and with one draw of a number, you were whisked away to serve in the armed forces. This was the reality of Americans across our country 75 years ago today.
Today is the anniversary of the Selective Service Act. News 25’s Bryan Kennedy caught up with one Coast native that would be drafted years later.
Today, Commander James Corley spends his days running VFW 2434 in Biloxi. It’s been 47 long years, but he can still remember the day his number was called. “Whenever my number came up, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. And it just helped me out to cut a career.”
A career that, 75 years ago, the country once again started to provide to men across the nation. These men would have their numbers called and then they’d be shipped off.
The Military Service Act is still in place today, but no one has been drafted since 1973. One presidential candidate from the Coast believes that should change. Candidate Mark Everson said, “President Kennedy said, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’ So, I am in favor of a program of national service, including a military component, so that we close that civilian-military divide.”
In 1968, it was Commander James Corley who would help close that divide. Corley remembers the fear of the unknown after being drafted. Shortly after Commander Corley finished training in 1969, he was shipped off to Vietnam to join a group of men who, after being drafted, now had a purpose. “This was an opportunity that you give them a job, gave them a purpose, and we served our country,” said Corley.
After all these years and a full career in the military, Commander Corley says being drafted then enlisting was the best thing that could’ve ever happened to him. “You know, in hindsight, it did help me. I did serve my country and I’m proud of that.”
In the first six years after the act was signed in 1940, 45 million registered and 10 million were drafted.

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