Define 'draft dodger'

This article was published July 11, 2018 at 4:00 a.m.

Dear editor:

Re: the July 6 letter to the editor written by Steve Rittenmeyer. Made a few omissions; he implied that deferments to military service were not offered to the black society, thus be racially motivated. Perhaps he forgot about Cassius Clay, who got a deferment on the basis of being a conscientious objector in order to continue his career beating the brains out of people in the ring. He also forgot to include Bill Clinton in those "draft dodgers." Remember him? He wrote a letter to the director of the ROTC program thanking him for "saving me from the draft." He also "studied" in Russia during that time.

Steve also included George Bush in his draft dodger list claiming that the Air National Guard was not the same as military. Last I heard, many of our brave military served (and serving) are in the various Guard units. President Bush received his flight training at Moody AFB. I received mine at Webb AFB. We were both on active duty at the time.

Steve also didn't include me in that list of deplorables. I was drafted in 1964-65, but was already enrolled in college, deferred and, by his definition and a draft dodger. Drafted again in 1965-66 and married, was again deferred and yep, draft dodger. Then in 1966-67, transferred to Arizona State University. Forced to take ROTC for one semester. Was told that I could qualify for pilot training and went advanced ROTC. Once again was drafted, but was a deferred draft dodger. At the time I was the cadet commander of the AFROTC program and upon graduation, was already ordered to active duty and pilot training. Wanted a fighter, but my class was not offered any. Only fighter type plane was the T-38 instructor slot and I took it. Later I was assigned to C-130s.

Funny thing, I never asked anyone how or why they joined. We were a team. I trained Iranians, Israelis, Nigerians, blacks, white, Marines, the works. I had the same respect for the parachute packer as the desk clerk. We were there to complete a mission. Period. No politics. A job.

Yes, draft dodgers did exist, but they went to Canada or wherever. There is a difference between those who received deferments and those who ran and hid. But if you want to combine the two, then be honest and include Clinton in that list. And if you want to call Air National Guard members draft dodgers, I would stand way yonder back.

Ted C. Burhenn

T-38/T-41 instructor aircraft commander C-130s

Hot Springs

Editorial on 07/11/2018

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