Spurred Out Of Service: How Donald Trump Avoided Vietnam

Draft Dodger? How Donald Trump Avoided Serving In Vietnam

Donald Trump’s history of avoiding the draft has fallen under scrutiny, since his public feud with the parents of a fallen soldier, Humayun Khan, who was killed in 2004 by a car bomb while serving in Iraq.

Trump, whom the Gold Star father Khizr Khan said had “sacrificed nothing,” retorted that he had made sacrifices and “done a lot,” including creating jobs and helping establish a Vietnam War memorial in New York.

The verbal sparring followed a blistering attack on former Vietnam POW, Senator John McCain.

McCain, who had served in the Navy, was captured when his dive bomber was shot down. He ejected, but broke both his arms and one leg. He spent more than five years in captivity, wherein he endured horrific pain and torture, Politifact said.

During a July 2015 interview, Trump ridiculed McCain’s history.

“He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Trump has never served in the military, thanks to a string of deferments that enabled him to avoid the draft, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Snopes on Tuesday published an outline of Selective Service records about Trump’s draft deferrments, obtained from the National Archives by the Smoking Gun in 2015.

When he was a senior, Donald Trump was named captain in the New York Military Academy, although he was later removed from that position, according to the Washington Post. Throughout the four years he attended, he wore a uniform and participated in marching drills.

Trump became eligible for the draft on his 18th birthday, June 14, 1964. He registered with the Selective Service System 10 days later. By federal law, men at age 18 are required to register for the military draft.

On July 28, 1964, Trump received his first college deferment. Trump was very athletic and participated in various sports in college.

In March 1965 the first American troops arrived in Vietnam.

Trump stayed at Fordham University in New York for two years before transferring to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he would study business.

Trump’s previous deferment expired, and he was reclassified 1-A on November 22, 1966.

Throughout his education, Trump received three more successive deferments, which kept him out of the draft.

On January 16, 1968, Trump was deferred for college for the last time.

While he attended Wharton, Trump said he had less time for sports but he continued to play golf.

In 1968, McCain suffered in prison and Vietnam was in its bloodiest throes. On October 15, Trump was granted a 1-Y (qualified for service only in time of war or national emergency) medical deferment.

In an interview with the New York Times, Trump said he had bone spurs in his feet.

“I had a doctor that gave me a letter — a very strong letter on the heels.”

Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks declined to offer additional comment about the deferment.

On February 17, 1972, Trump was reclassified 4-F (not qualified for military service), likely due to the abolishment of the 1-Y classification in 1971.

In December 1969, the draft lottery for Vietnam began, but Trump was already under the cloak of his medical deferment.

“If I would have gotten a low number, I would have been drafted. I would have proudly served. But I got a number, I think it was 356. That’s right at the very end. And they didn’t get — I don’t believe — past even 300, so I was — I was not chosen because of the fact that I had a very high lottery number.”

The National Archives has confirmed that Trump received a draft number of 356 out of 365.

In an op-ed piece for the New York Times published on Wednesday, writer Ted Gup, who also avoided the draft during those years, made some remarks about why Trump is different from other draft dodgers.

“I know of no one else of my generation who avoided the war who could speak the words that Mr. Trump did, who seems not to feel a pang of — call it what you will — conscience or guilt over unearned privilege or crass luck. We all have the sense that we, too, owe the country something of ourselves.

“I do not begrudge Mr. Trump’s using deferments that many others also pursued. That would be the height of hypocrisy.

“But I am dumbstruck that someone who carries the weight of having seen others go off in his stead — friends, neighbors, classmates, teammates — could sneer at those who gave so much to the country.”

The draft ended in 1973.

[Photo by Evan Vucci/AP Images]