In my own defense, I’ve always known that being a Marine was no ticket to glory. The day I was drafted, a sergeant announced that they needed about eight or nine Marines. That was a stunning revelation to me. I had always assumed that, in order to enter the Marine Corps, people had to be gung-ho enough to volunteer and subject themselves to boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina. Even in my ignorance, I understood that it was one of the most hideous, dehumanizing experiences on the planet. It had never occurred to me that a person could be drafted into the Marines. But this was the Vietnam War. If they didn’t get their nine Marines from volunteers among the dozens of draftees in the room that day, they’d draft a few of us into the corps against our will. The next few moments were terrifying, but my name did not get called.

Go back to War in a Time of Ignorance.

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