Did Joe Biden dodge the military draft after bloody Tet offensive?

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After seven years of initial eligibility, Joseph Biden was removed from the military draft pool just when it was most likely he would be drafted and sent into the Vietnam War. The American death toll was rising rapidly — 11,153 in 1967. Thousands more had died since the Tet offensive began in January, 296,000 men ages 19 through 25 would be drafted during 1968, Joseph Biden had run out of college deferments, and he would not be safe until November 20, 1968, his twenty-sixth birthday.

During the Democrat Party convention, Joseph Biden was spoken of in glowing terms on the pages of the New York Times on August 28, 2008:

As Democrats often do, [at the convention, Biden] paid tribute to Mr. McCain’s military service and his more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. That is not sufficient qualification for the presidency, Mr. Biden said in as direct a way as any Democrat this year has. “The choice in this election is clear,” Mr. Biden said. “These times require more than a good soldier. They require a wise leader,” he said, a leader who can deliver “the change that everybody knows we need.” … The self-described “kid from Scranton” paid a moving tribute to his 90-year-old mother, Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden. He said she had taught him honor, loyalty and bravery. She also helped him overcome his stuttering, telling him, as he put it, “it was because I was so bright I couldn’t get the thoughts out quickly enough.”

Despite two runs for President, in 1988 and 2008, and 36 years in Congress, Senator Biden’s 1-Y reclassification has never appeared in the Times, to include this Associated Press report from August 31, 2008:

Officials with Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama’s campaign released Biden’s Selective Service records at the request of The Associated Press. Less detailed records were available from a National Archives facility in Philadelphia [emphasis added mine].

According to the documents, Biden, 65, received several deferments while he was an undergraduate at the University of Delaware and later as a law student at Syracuse University. A month after undergoing a physical exam in April 1968, Biden received a Selective Service classification of 1-Y, meaning he was available for service only in the event of national emergency.

“As a result of a physical exam on April 5, 1968, Joe Biden was classified 1-Y and disqualified from service because of asthma as a teenager,” said David Wade, a campaign spokesman.

In “Promises to Keep,” a memoir that was published last year and became an instant best-seller after he was tapped as Obama’s running mate, Biden never mentions his asthma, recounting an active childhood, work as a lifeguard and football exploits in high school.

Along with some other leading Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pointed out Vice President Richard Cheney’s five draft deferments during the Vietnam War yet never mentioned those of Senator Biden.

The details of his April 5, 1968 medical examination — to include who examined Biden and sent the 1-Y reclassification card to his draft board — remain undetermined by the mainstream media.

Senator John McCain and Senator Biden are touted for their foreign policy experience that Senator Barack Obama and Governor Sarah Palin are said to lack.

The difference is John McCain entered the Naval Academy in 1955, served in Vietnam, spent 5 1/2 years being tortured in the Hanoi Hilton, and retired from the United States Navy in 1982. Neither Barack Obama nor Joseph Biden have served in the military. Sarah Palin “merely” served as the Commander-in-Chief of the Alaska National Guard.

Apparently, Congressman Pelosi and the New York Times do not want the American people to know that Joseph Biden may have dodged the draft during Vietnam.

  10 comments for “Did Joe Biden dodge the military draft after bloody Tet offensive?

  1. Casey
    October 14, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Speaking of the draft. We need one again. We can’t protect our boarders and half the world with current troop levels. If we were attacked by China or Russia our good friends, we would be screwed. Raise the eligibility age to 40 and solve the unemployment issue. I believe we need to double the size of our military because drones can’t protect us at a couple of million dollars a piece, that can put a lot of men in uniform and bring the guard and reserve troops home. No politician other than Murtha has had the guts to mention that word, they just keep saying Viet Nam.

    • Art Carney
      April 26, 2016 at 8:07 am

      it not that young men do not wish to join and help the country. they are not taking many new men into the military. I have a couple nephews who tried to join and are placed on long waiting lists

    • Roger
      August 16, 2016 at 5:26 pm

      Remember WW2 when almost every able bodied man volunteered for military service? We don’t need the draft, we are still a proud nation with proud citizens, besides we need people in the military that want to be there, those that volunteered, not those that were drafted against their will! This is not to say that draftees won’t serve with just as much determination as volunteers! On a final note I would like to say that Casey is okay with the draft as long as it is not him being drafted! However he is right about the wrong people being on the battlefield. The National Guard is for the defense of their state and by law our not to enter any conflict outside of their state’s boundaries! The reserve is supposed to be a backup for the regular Army after they have been inducted in to the ranks of the regular Army!

  2. Tuco-bad
    September 6, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    • Lyndon B. Johnson
    Special Message to the Congress on Selective Service.
    March 6, 1967

    There is one group of post-graduate students to whom this condition does not apply–men who are studying to be doctors and dentists. About half of them later serve as medical officers in the Armed Forces.

    Their service is vital. Because their studies are essential to military manpower needs, students engaged in such programs must continue to be deferred until their education is completed.

    I have concluded, however, that there is no justification for granting further deferments to other graduate school students.

    To correct the inequities in the deferments of post-graduate students, I shall issue an Executive Order specifying that no deferments for post-graduate study be granted in the future, except for those men pursuing medical and dental courses. 3

    3 Executive Order 11360 of June 30, 1967 (3 Weekly Comp. Pres. Docs., p. 947; .32 F.R. 9787; 3 CFR, 1967 Comp., p. 295).

  3. Tuco-bad
    September 6, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    The Selective Service did not give student deferments for law school in 1966, but did give student deferments for selective graduate programs (e.g., engineering).

    BTW – that’s the reason why Bill Bradley quick Oxford prior to graduating in 1966 and joined the the Air Force Reserves before joining the Knicks in 1967. Otherwise Bradley would have spend another year in graduate school and then been to old for the draft.

    Editor —

    Yesterday, I spoke with a Selective Service representative whose personal year group for the draft was 1968, law school qualified for II-S graduate program deferment; 1968 was the last year graduate work was grounds for those deferments.

    Yet Joe Biden’s II-S deferments would run on in the spring of 1968, with his 26th birthday a half a year away during which time hundreds of thousands would be drafted and many of those sent to Vietnam.

  4. Tuco-Bad
    September 5, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Isn’t it true that during the Vietnam War the Selective Service did not give out student deferments for attending law school?

    Editor — I just got off the phone with the Selective Service. The representative there stated 1968 was the last year deferments were given for graduate education. Which did not effect Biden; he finished law school that spring, right after Tet, his last deferment ran out, so he ran out an had another physical done.

  5. Beeman
    September 4, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Maybe B.S. is a bit strong- yet it appears to be over reaching at the moment. I honestly can’t say I got my draft board notification in 1968 immediately after I turned 18 or not. I don’t believe I did because I wasn’t summoned for a physical until the winter of 69. I know I wasn’t dodging the draft for that year and half.

    My B.S. comment was in regards to the treatment Palin is getting, and if that happens to Biden– So be it – tit for tat.

    Editor —

    Overreaching? Perhaps. Your point here is well taken, the delay between registering and classification physicals were often lengthy. I took my physical with a local doctor whose name was among those conducting them for the Selective Service; he sent my classification into the local draft board (1-A, medically eligible to be drafted). I later enlisted.

    My point here was not to suggest that we should drag out the records of the millions that received deferments or disqualifying classifications and grill them all on this subject.

    That said, what is not clear from media reports, past and present, is how Biden was initially classified, medically fit or unfit, and whether that information was provided to the media by the Obama-Biden campaign.

    They say he was sent a questionnaire and then received four school years of student deferments which would have ended when his law school did in the spring of 1968. But, on April 5, 1968, he suddenly received a physical from someone. Who?

    Which leads back to the question of whether he was initially qualified as 1-A. If so, why did another doctor in 1968 find Biden’s asthma made him 1-Y — when the Vietnam War was at its peak? That same alleged asthma did not stop him from playing foorball in high school or apparently make him 1-Y at anytime back when Biden was 18, 19, or 20-years of age, when relatively few America troops were in combat.

    Those are fair questions, are they not? If not, why was it fair to question Richard Cheney and other prominent conservatives on their lack of military service during Vietnam? The cheap-shot attacks by Nancy Pelosi (who never served in the military) and liberal media that repeats such tripe have different rules for the D’s and R’s in or running for political office. Tit for tat, as you point out.

  6. Beeman
    September 4, 2008 at 10:57 am

    “May Have”, “What if” – This article is presuming much.

    It is a bit refreshing though to see the same B.S. tactics employed against Biden as were/are against Sara Palin, who does have Foreign Policy experience, for no other reason than her State shares borders with two Sovereign Nations.

    She actually has superior credentials as Mayor and Governor for the V.P. Position than does Obama who can only muster to his cause 140 plus days in the Senate, and his time as a community activist. In truth Obama would not be picked by most parties to even fill an Ambassador job.

    Obama’s Mob and Questionable Union ties are going to sink him anyway, so why pick on Whether Biden dodged the draft or not?

    By the way I am an ex- registered Democrat, current Independent.

    Editor —

    Reading further into the embedded links you’ll find that allegedly nearly two years went by after Biden’s 18th birthday before he received a classification questionnaire.

    There is more to this story; I am not employing “B.S. tactics” against Biden.

  7. Jebster
    September 3, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Just another hate-America, draft-dodging piece of crap.

  8. Intimidator
    September 3, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    This is a VERY VALID question. The LEFT played this up big time. Hello Dan Rather! Let’s have full disclosure please Sen. Biden…

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