tv Manpower Morale After the 1968 Tet Offensive CSPAN July 29, 2019 8:51pm-10:07pm EDT
the all-day conference on military manpower and morale after the 1958 tet offensive in vietnam continues now with a discussion on the u.s. draft and enlistment rates of college graduates. we also hear about defense secretary robert mcnamara's plan to recruit soldiers who previously did not meet some mental or physical standards. the university of kansas, this is about one hour 15 minutes. we will begin our session on morale and in order to mix up, we're having this time, a series of short presentations. short talks by participants. and they will sit in front to answer questions. our participants, jaclyn witt and associate preceptor at u.s. army war college tried to leave from harrisburg yesterday
morning and on a 7 am flight. it turned out that the earliest she would be able to get in because of a problem with planes was 2 am yesterday. she is not here with us and we have instead a graduate student here at ku on military history to read her paper. the questions will only be to the other adjustments. marjorie will not answer questions. although i'm sure she would do a lovely job. so the speakers today on our second session, we began with william donnelly senior historian at the u.s. army center of military history. and followed by eric flynn the director of the lewis army museum. and finally, the paper read by marjorie.
>> first as a set federal civil servant i give the usual disclaimer that the opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the secretary of the army of the chief of staff or anyone else in the department of the army. now president johnson and congress in june 1967 decided to and almost all graduate school draft deferment. johnson deferred this decision in execution until july 1968. and from july 1968 to july 1972, 109,777 college graduates either enlisted or were drafted into the u.s. army. now this was a total of 8.2 percent of all male non-prior service successions in these years. now i have some slides here, just to give you some statistics of the framework. there are no bullet pointed out
in this presentation. prior to june 1968, some college graduates were entering the enlisted ranks. the most notably oliver stone. but they were far outnumbered by men with some college and by high school graduates, as you can see there. in the two fiscal years before. and by the way the fiscal years, during the war ran from first july to 30 june, not the same periods we have today. you can see high school graduates are the biggest one for both years. and this was a point of pride inside the defense department, it regularly in the army. this was the best educated enlisted force fielded today. when the draft deferment ended, they did some rough back envelope calculations and the thought about 130,000 college graduates, this included people who had left college after getting a degree were now in the workforce or had gotten
their bachelors and were now in a graduate school. they thought about 130,000 of these people would become added to selective services pool of ia registrants in fiscal year 1969. this was so many that the army staff feared at one point that the fiscal year of 69 enlisted would be almost entirely college graduates and project 100,000 men which the next presenter will give you more details about that program. in the aftermath of the tet offensive, the army staff entered into negotiations about how to deal with this influx. the office of the secretary of defense, they were a valuable national resource. particularly the men with degrees in science technology and engineering mathematics. and things like operations analysis. it would waste valuable national resources to send them into the combat arms. they wanted these people to go to military occupational specialties directly related to their academic fields. the army staff had a different
idea. they pointed out that no mls in the army required a college degree. some regular assignments with swap wherever the army felt they were best needed. and they had two other reasons for wanting to use these people outside of stem related fields. one, we need many of these men to revitalize junior officer and junior noncommissioned officer leadership. again that is not dependent on what your degree is in. second, and this surprised me when i found it, many of the senior officers in the army and senior civilians in the secretariat and a lot of the field action officers thought the current draft was a moral. that people who could get out of the draft work getting out of the draft and people who cannot get out of the draft, they were going to vietnam. it was only right that college graduates, who by definition were more fortunate in their life experiences, share some of the battlefield dangerous. as the secretary of the general staff wrote in 1968, someone has to fight.
the compromises eventually brokered by the secretary of the army stanley reeser who had a silver star and purple heart from world war ii, and it came with four major parts. one, a process that would be instituted to screen draftees to match academic skills to mls. men would be allowed to enlist in the regular army for specific mls and third men remaining after these soldiers would be placed into the regular assignment process and basically the mls at that point was determined by how will you scored on various assessment tests inside the service. and finally, there would be an intensive effort to get these college graduates to volunteer for officer candidate schools and for the noncommissioned officer candidates courses. also better known as the shake and bake sergeants. within lsd and the army staff there was concern about what these college graduates would bring into the army. specifically antiwar,
antimilitary sentiments. and they would become a virus undermining discipline and morale. how does it turn out from the years between 1968 and 1972? here you can see that the flood of college graduates did not happen. out at 100,000 outnumbers them. there is no project 100,000 for fiscal year 72 as the program was canceled early in fiscal year 72. the army came to the conclusion that the flood did not occur for several reasons. one, for reasons outside of the army's control, the local draft board did not target local crisis graduates. that was one thing that the army thought would happen. second, some expected did not enlist in the navy and air force and third, this is an important factor, college graduates were good at gaming the system and avoiding induction.
the switch to the draft lottery in 1970 brought fewer college graduates inductees and depressed the reasons and motivations for them to enlist in the regular army to avoid the draft. and finally, force structure during 1970 through 1872, reduce the need for draftees and plus the nixon administration wanted to reduce draft calls anyway. now here, he you can see the draft enlisted as a percentage of the total enlisted college graduate exceptions. for the first 3 years, you can see the blue, the draftees dominate. and how they come into the army. then it flipped radically in the last year. permanently, i believe because the draft calls were so low and infrequent in the last year. this next slide shows how once a college graduate progresses through the junior pay grades, e1 through i-5, private through sergeant, the graduate, people
with graduate degrees and people just under graduate degrees and you can see the big spike there in november 1970. this data is based on surveys that the army dead at the let education level of the enlistment forced. logistically i found no anomalous about what this might mean and what these figures might show or tell them about what is going on in the enlisted force. the next slide, this shows a key concern of junior enlisted men, the infantrymen, the same mls 11 bravo from 1965 to june 1970. and i found this data in a study related to the transition to the all volunteer force. the u.s. is the drafty because draftees used to get the u.s. stamp of the fourth service members are ready for their regular army. and you can see that starting
in 1967, those are the calendar years, it is very dangerous to be an 11 bravo drafty in vietnam. now the next slide and a little complicated but it is priority one assignment with the percentage of total enlisted college graduates regarding the army. these are both draftees and enlisted. priority one was the category of the army called wanted to be filled with a college graduate. some of the and acronyms at the bottom, men who volunteer for officer candidate school are enlisted for it, tas stands for civilian acquired skills. these are men who came with skills and translated to the mls. they awarded the mls based on skills. such as 71 delta legal, a lot of lawyers were drafted as legal clerks. and 91 sierra, a lot of
biologists went into that. department of the army preferred mls utilization, these were mls is requiring a high school on the qualification test. and men could be a sign that or they could actually enlist for it as well. enlisted for mls is men who went down to see the recruiting sergeant and signed up for 3 years for a very specific mls. almost always and there are figures for this and i looked through all of the reports. very few men enlist for one of the combat arms in these years. now you can see the army was very successful in getting men to volunteer for ocs. fiscal year 69, the first year
in the war in which a majority of ocs commissions go to college graduates. when the numbers start following the people who volunteer along college graduates because they make other changes in the ocs program, college graduates remain the majority of people who get ocs commissions for the rest of the war. now the next slide, priority two were mlss made for the normal computer-driven assignment system in washington and were considered once that quote challenge the leadership or technical capability of the average college graduate. across the bottom, combat arms, those are the infantry armor, field artillery and combat engineer mlss. i broke them out separately and you can see those college graduates who are assigned to 11 bravo mls. the 71 series those are the radar o'reilly's, the clerks, the 76 series are all the
wannabe supply mlss. and the 91 series are medical care and treatment mls. that does include combat. the 95 series is law enforcement mls. i always find that last spike in the last fiscal year in the 95 to be interesting. i have not found anything, any smoking gun but i wonder if they were sending more college graduates into law enforcement mls because of the deteriorating discipline women the force. and they thought they might be more reliable as mp and cid agents and things like that. you can see, from the combat arms in the 11 bravo columns, for the first 2 years the army was fairly successful in getting a good number of college graduates into the combat arms. thereby implementing the generals police that quote the smartest people available should be squad leaders, to help men survive. they wrote that is a report
about what osb was thinking about doing and johnson, the chief of staff from 64 to 68 was very much against osb's concept of using these men. i did not put it on a side because it was already busy enough. but college graduate input to the shake and bake courses was 18.1% in fiscal year 69. 8% in fiscal year 70 and 12.4% in fiscal year 71. then the program was canceled. what were some of the effects on the army of increased college graduate expressions after tat? it was useful when filling mls that required good academic skills. there was a noticeable attrition rate and a lot of the advanced training courses that required them. and these men generally performed better in units. at least anecdotally.
there is no statistical study that i found but anecdotally that is what people are saying within the army. second and this is also anecdotal, the increase of the number of junior leaders possessing attributes that the army defined as high quality when going into ocs and the shake and bake nco. this was how the army defined quality. the consensus among senior officers and then captain who went to vietnam and did a study of combat arms and what is going on within units of 1971 so that most junior officers and nco's work competent. they were trained in schools but lack sufficient experience and leadership training for the complex situations that they encountered after tet. when you're in the rear and your combat unit and are not in the field a lot, those create a lot of different situations that are not covered and courses the men went through. there, talking to the earlier
fear about what it undermined discipline, the consensus within the army was that while most college graduates did bring antiwar or antimilitary sentiment into the service, only a handful ever acted on them to promote dissidents or resistance. the army ran a vigorous counterintelligence operation against dissidents and weeding out resistance within the army. and the summaries, i have not seen this yet the field reports but the summaries to the secretary never mentioned college graduates as a source of problems for this. general williams prediction in 1969, if we don't engage these bright young men and responsible jobs they will be off in the. planning a right. they did not come to pass and that is a good topic for the question and answer for the reasons why it did not come to pass with these men. finally, the army staff objectives of extending the worst cost beyond the working
class was partly fulfilled. but not to the extent that i think it desires. certain other general offices, people like reese palmer junior and some in the field, we heard about world war ii and the korean war generations and the gap between them and the vietnam people. i think this part of it, they came out of the world war ii experience, particularly where it was the whole nation engage in the war. and they felt that it should be the same way in vietnam. at least some of them, they felt that way. but there was not enough college graduates to overturn any kind of consensus that this is still a working class war on the brown. and the combat arms. so that is still true. i think christian a breeze work was not challenged by this. but i think it requires a slight modification in that in the post tet years you should know there are more tim o'brien said there in the bush then we generally think that there were in those years. i would like to close with a
larger question, was there an undetected effect on american society by ending the draft deferments? did bringing 109,777 college graduates into the army as well as a greater number of college graduates who successfully averted getting into the army or being brought into the army, help accelerate weariness and antiwar sentiments in the years after tet? one general thought after the war, general bruce palmer junior, the vice chief from 1968 to 1972 and by the way had a son who had a high number in the draft lottery. so he was never drafted. palmer came to believe that quote the real demonstrations against the war did not start coming until they started drafting middle-class, upper- middle-class whites and blacks. he said that in an interview when he was researching all of the volunteer force for. i would like to close with
saying, asking, perhaps that is another question we can consider today. ringing all of these men into the army and by the way, pretty much all of them went into the army. only if you went into the marine corps. actually help accelerate the other changes in the greater american society? thank you. >> [ applause ] >> i'm erik flint, director of the army museum and i get to follow bill with an explanation about, he mentioned project 100,000. for a quick show of hands, who knows what project 100,000 is? okay, i will endeavor to not
bring it down too much. i had a presentation but it was going to consist solely of a smiling picture of robert mcnamara. but after some of my conversations last night, i decided that was going to be a bad idea. so, one thing, from the conversations last night, i did realize that we have some of my colleagues here who are going to be touching on other elements of this program. so i'm going to do here is give you a way to leave with statistical background to set the stage for further discussion and for the remainder of the day. so background, in august 1966, at the same time as america's manpower requirements for vietnam are rapidly expanding, defense secretary robert mcnamara was speaking to the annual meeting of the veterans of foreign wars. in that speech introduced a new program that, in his own words, would uplift up america's subterranean poor by providing
the young men who previously were disqualified training, benefits and opportunities of military service. the project with title project 100,000. and it was meant to be a win win for the united states military and american society as a whole. the program officially began in october 1966 and ran through december 1971. and the program was a disaster. the distraction that ultimately it brought on the armed services , and more importantly on the individuals who were unfairly conducted and on the lives of those who were either endangered or lost their lives because of the use of substandard men in the military service, particularly in combat service. so, how did this program come about? why was it such a disastrous idea that made policy?
mcnamara, as an interval part of lyndon johnson's team, the project 100,000 program was designed as an integral part of lbj's greater war on poverty. the great society programs. from the early mid 1960s, approximately 1.8 million men came of draft age every year. of that number, about 600,000 were deemed unfit for military service due to mental or physical reasons. and the split there was about 50-50. you had 300,000 mental, 300,000 physical disqualifications each year. mcnamara's thinking was that of those 300,000 disqualified for mental reasons, a good version of them were simply victims of circumstance. there were men who possessed innate intelligence. yet whose poverty prevented them from gaining the education necessary to qualify for
military service. in his 1966 speech to the vfw, mcnamara decried these young men had quote not had the opportunity to earn their fair share of this nation's abundance. and through military service, these disadvantaged men could return to their communities with skills and experience. by extension, better those depressed and marginalized communities. road to is paved with good intentions that keeps coming to mind. the goal of project 100,000 was to induct annually through voluntary or compulsory means 100,000 as the title previously disqualified men into the military. each branch was assigned a percentage of men from this program. with officially known as new standards men. that is a marvelous euphemism. the army, received the bulk of new standards men followed closely by the united states marine corps.
and believe it or not even the air force and navy were required to take a certain percentage of new standard men as well. so what were these new standards? for the purpose of induction classification, the military has five mental categories ranging from catagory 1, very high iq down to catagory 5, very low iq with catagory 3 being average iq. now throughout the late '50s and early 1960s, utilizing results from the armed forces qualification test which the military adopted during this period, the military services were able to be selective. during this period, almost 15% of draft age of men were disqualified. and so during this period the military was only able to induct personnel from the top three mental categories. on the project 100,000, however, large numbers of mental catagory 4 were eligible
and available for military service. this meant men who scored between the 10th and 30th percentile on the armed forces qualifying test could not be inducted into service. how did the induction of these low iq men impact manpower? the simple answer, is that it had a positive effect on manpower. provided the bodies needed for the growing requirements in vietnam. in total, between 1966 and 1971, 354,000 new standards men were inducted and served. of that, 47% were drafted. the balance, the 53% volunteered or were induced to volunteer by the threat of the draft. so from a strictly manpower standpoint, it works. brought in the bodies. but did the program truly work as advertised? no. it didn't. in my opinion, the program was a failure. and i would like to take a minute and show some statistics
to illustrate what the impact was on the armed forces. particularly on the army and marine corps. 50% of new standards men have an iq of less than 85. 50%, to show the disparity, 50% of new standards men came from the south when compared to 28% of the general population that was in the military at that time they came from the south. 40% were african-american, compared to only 8% of the american population at the time. 80% were college dropouts and 40% of new standards men could only read at below a sixth grade level with a further 20% reading below a fourth grade level. with a relatively short period, the negative impact of conducting large numbers of low iq men started to become clear. for example, by 1968, u.s. army continental commander connor, the predecessor to today's
training and doctrine command, the organization responsible for the training of all soldiers, including new standards men, they had excluded new standards men from 64 of the army's 237 entry-level military occupational specialties. after they continued to identify more problems with training the new standards men, conard started excluding new standards men are more and more of these mls's. to the point where they were now excluded from a full 74% of all entry-level mls's. ensure the new standards men were drain on resources. they were difficult to train. they took longer. they had much lower completion rates. you already had overtaxed instructor status from basic combat training all the way through advanced and individual mls training.
the army, particularly was not given additional resources and were not told, you're getting all of these new standards men and they will require more training therefore we will give you more resources in terms of manpower and other resources to train these men. so they are now taking the instructor staff and are having to work harder with less results. when you are spending all of your time, for those of you as a junior leader and you find yourself spending all of your time with 10% of your troops who are your biggest problems, these instructors were spending all their time trying to train a tiny, a very small number of soldiers and neglecting all of the others. so, project 100,000 was a failure. the negative consequences of utilizing substandard manpower, especially during wartime was understood by military leaders. and i want to set the stage for
this further discussion. but i want to end with a sobering statistic. of the 340,000 new standards men inducted between 1966 and 1971, 5478 died on active duty. the majority of them in combat in vietnam. new standards men were twice as likely to die in combat as their higher iq comrades. and it is also estimated that over 20,000 of them, this is extra belated but over 20,000 new standards men were wounded in combat as well. on the hold, the program was a failure and i hope that this overview sets up further discussion once we get that far. i am followed by marjorie. >> [ applause ]
>> i know you are hoping for dr. witt and you are stuck with me so i'm sorry for that. i will try to do her talk justice. the first thing that she put on this page, the traditional disclaimer that this presentation represents reviews and is not the official position of the dod, u.s. army or u.s. army war college. so, hello everyone, i'm so sorry could not join this fantastic lineup today. i was struck with a terrible curse from the travel gods with no reasonable way to make it to kansas today. so i hope you'll accept my sincerest regrets. and i hope i will be able to catch up with many of you at
the society of history meeting in may or sometime in the future. and i will happily field questions via email and social media. in the short time i have, i want to use the narrow length of religion to examine the question of morale after tact. even this narrow framing of asking interesting questions about the morale and relation between morale and public opinions to explore this relationship i focus on first person accounts from chaplains and official records from the chaplaincy. today, i want to ask two primary questions. first, how did the declining support from religious organizations at home and the first-hand experiences affect morale in post-tech vietnam and second, how did military chaplains, especially those who served tours in vietnam before tact and after, observe and interpret changes in treatment well? the basic trend in public opinion at the vietnam war are well known. as the were escalated, american casualties mounted. and the draft increased pressure on young american men, public support for the were
declined. the national media played a critical role in shaping public opinion about the war. when the national media portrayed religious people in relation to the war in vietnam, especially after 1967, coverage was overwhelmingly about religious protest. and i were chaplain and prominent leaders from the group clergy and laymen concerned about vietnam. father daniel and patrick are grant burned draft cards and aided draft resisters. and religious bodies such as the national council of churches released critical statements about the war in vietnam. by the end of 19 -- the 1960s, the religious communities had taken on a sharp edge and revealed divides. by the late 1960s though even
conservative denominations such as the southern baptist convention adopted critical resolutions advocating an end to the war. declining support from religious communities, alongside first-hand experiences resulted in a significant decline in morale amongst chaplains. after the tet offensive, chaplains were increasingly aware of religious dissent at home and apparently winning chances for military success. a chaplain, thomas recalled thinking, during the spring of 1970 i knew what the national news back home could not tell. we were not winning this war. he chose to reassure soldiers even though he considered the situation hopeless. i found myself, telling himself everything would be all right. but in my heart, i knew everything wasn't or could it be all right. another chaplain concluded that chaplains were frustrated by the war. but angst grew deeper, x essential even. a chaplain wrote that chaplains
collectively believed that a sincere approach to god could possibly help any man focus on his problems and live a better life. the weather made them feel useless and helpless. the more seriously you take the role of a clergyman, the more the weight will fall on your own morale. the chaplain's morale was critical not only for the chaplain personally but also for the unit. in effective chaplain could only damage the military mission. as clergy, men who might serve as chaplains were not subject to draft. even after many other exemptions of were eliminated. because serving as a chaplain required credentialing from the military and religious interesting agencies, chaplains had an unusual amount of agency and determining whether they would serve in vietnam. after 1968, some chaplains were asked to deploy for 2nd tours in vietnam.
but if a chaplain did not want to return, he did simply ask his endorsing agency to withdraw his endorsement which would render him ineligible for service as a chaplain. and because he was a member of the clergy, he would not be subject to being drafted. the army chief of chaplains reported that fewer than 12 chose this route. some chaplains who chose to complete the second two are exquisitely compared their fears in the first person accounts and these perspectives are important for understanding change over time. other chaplains who completed tours after tact also reported their observations about morale and the end of ethics. of course we ought to read narratives critically. they wrote for public audiences after the war and for their religious communities working to make sense of the war. to place blame for loss and to manage dramatically shifting political and social landscapes of the united states in the
'60s and '70s. as the war went on, many chaplains became disillusioned by apathy towards religion and with their behavior in general. early in the war chaplains saw the potential for ministry in their own effectiveness. through the face, there were challenges and responses. one wrote in a report filed in 1973 quote, as a total number of men diminishes, the relative possibility of those attending religious services becomes even more apparent. a spirit of times, waiting -- as a return from overseas, a sense of boredom etc. all capitulated to making men apathetic and lackadaisical. many of the men were religiously immature and grossly under instructed. and therefore, they failed to see any relevance or applicability of religious practices. the chaplain of torts about the
number of services conducted, counseling sessions, sacramental rites and other functions indicated a decline in religious practices and tradition when compared to earlier in the war. on top of attendance at religious services, and inattention to spiritual concerns, chaplains complained about the simple and hedonistic lifestyles of many soldiers and officers in vietnam. one chaplain wrote that quote, the overwhelmingly majority of men are either actively engaging in excessive drinking habits, cohabitation or prostitution, drugs, etc. or at least they are immersed in continual blasphemy, profanity, obscenity which pervades their consciousness and renders them unfit and one unworthy to come into contact with the sacred. or whatever represented including --. the tenor of the war and views of it had changed
dramatically by the early 1970s. not only because of an increased drug use by american servicemembers, fighting, racial tensions and protests but also because of the very nature of the war that had changed. individual chaplains recalled a profound effect that these changes had on their ministries. a chaplain that did not want to leave his chips in 1967 recalled having quite a different attitude at the end of his second tour in 1970. in 1967, i returned to an america where patriotism was in vogue. now in 1970 i returned to an america where patriotism and soldiers were held in disdain. another chaplain identified a civilian attitude toward the war and soldiers as one of respectful support in the 1960s to outside hostility in the 1970s. when quote drugs, antiwar sentiment and racial conflict
affected the troops. he determined his work as a chaplain was greatly affected by these changes. as it went from positive ministry to sometimes defensive ministry in the second. during the second tour he recalled that he had to purchase ministry as one of restricting immoral or proctor acts rather than encouraging religious faith and positive actions. in his account, and in the official record we see significant evidence of declining morale and cohesion in the winning wars of the years of the vietnam war. it was a sense of hopelessness in the war effort. the chaplains observed changes in morale among troops on the ground as the war went on. chaplains notice changes in morale, ethical, religious and philosophical orientations of their soldiers. thank you. >> [ applause ]
>> you will have to excuse me. we are always behind the table during questions and answers. >> yes that feeling of exposure. >> yes, very much so. >> can everyone hear me? good. >> i think it would be better if you took care of that. >> and jackie is available through twitter if you have any questions for her.
>> i'm going to move a little closer. >> i have a basic question about manpower, especially after 1968. what prevented the u.s. from inducting more soldiers, jim talked about the shortage of soldiers in your. obviously there was a cold war mission. so why were there so shortages. where they political or any background would help me understand after tact. >> if you look at -- as a political reason for it. we had enough qualified men, especially with project 100,000 to lower the mental standards. there were plenty of man but immediately after tact and will touched on this, there were semi deferments. so many people were able to get out of it. and this was deliberate. for my readings, the johnson administration did not want to
tap into the reserve component. we had an enormous reserve component. how was utilized during vietnam and how it is utilized today, it is black and white. there was a real reticence to dip into the already existing resource. and they wound up not really mobilizing anyone or reserving sizable numbers and it was small until after the tet offensive in 1968. when they were forced to. >> i was a little distracted there. i had to be camera ready. can you rephrase your question? >> i was curious about the dynamics that drove, the manpower levels. especially in the u.s. army because of the requirements of europe. as well as the escalation of 1965 in vietnam. why did they experience such shortages in europe in 1970?
why couldn't the u.s. government figure out ways to bridge the gap? >> a 3rd of the soldiers were in jail. >> it is effective leadership. >> in some ways it is deja vu all over again because the army had the same problem during the korean war. it could not keep combat units in the theater up to full strength. the short answer is the congress and president never gave the army a big enough authorized text of strength to do everything it called upon the army to do in both words. defined in the korean war, they increase the catoosa program and put korea's soldiers into american units. they didn't do that in vietnam. so the u.s. army in vietnam was short, pretty much as soon as
the first rotation finished in 1966. and the individual replacement system became the dominant way to get people into the country. the army just never had enough bodies to do that. there were some cases where there are officers, particularly pilots who are supposed to get 24 months between tours in vietnam and they don't. and of course the retention rates for these people collapsed. and of course it creates a vicious cycle. so they prioritized vietnam. but still, that is why jim has the size of the platoon he does. but they don't have a big enough authorized strength to take care of everything that they are supposed to take care of. >> i don't think we should dismiss the honors. you asked at the end, about consequences -- you think the consequences may have been how
the postwar narrative -- it is combat centric. in terms of the populated narrative in vietnam. when you look at the story that resonated and what went on afterwards in the latter part, it seems that the college graduates are able to articulate their experiences in a way that had resonated with the american public culture. is that by the consequences, was there a gravity in vietnam that have the capacity, not just to see and conceptualize what they were saying but to write it down in a way that we have been able to consume? >> i would agree that it is true but i would also say it is
a long tradition, at least in the 20th century between the world worse. i think, many if not most of the most important narratives from veterans of those words are from men who were either college graduate or college students when they went into the service or after the war, like ed sled she went to college and moved into that heart of american society. i think it is a long tradition there and i did not have time but i reviewed a number of oral histories. here, you get men that did not go to college as well as the college graduates. and i think their experiences in vietnam are very much the same. and i think that is one reason why the college graduates don't become the vanguard of the resistance. is that the troops do not need a vanguard resistance to show them what is wrong after tact. i think while the college
graduates may dominate the most popular and well-known narratives of the combat experience, i don't think it radically is different from other backgrounds and what they experienced in the war. >> you think mcnamara really wanted to provide opportunity for soldiers? it started out that way. they do really want to help but they really do need to have soldiers on the ground. >> it originated from a sincere desire for social betterment.
there is a series of studies done in the early 1960s that looked at as part of the great society and looking at impoverished communities, and the different ways -- in 1964, i think it was one of the first times they said, this was before the real large-scale commitment in vietnam. did menstruation wanted to utilize and lower the standards to bring more people and give them the benefit of military service returning to the communities and uplifting the communities extension. but it was successfully fought off by military leadership. we said, we have been down this road before and had bad experiences. and that was with low iq soldiers. eventually they were able to resist it. the time mcnamara announces project 100,000, to my knowledge he never said that
this is another way to get bodies into vietnam. that it was always the veneer of being a social program and a way to better society as a whole. in reality, you know get families and young men who are better off. you're able to leave them alone. you do not have to dip into the reserve component. so in actuality, it was a program to funnel folks into vietnam. i think it started as a sincere belief. >> if i could add, when you read in the correspondence within the army staff, they never ever liked project 100,000. that is another reason just like mcnamara. that is why you see, when the college graduates now become a source of manpower, there is very explicit comparison internally within the army staff about, these are the
people we really want to have in the army. not the new standards meant. we want the college boys as the drill sergeants called them. and several times they may press, if you're going to give us new standards quotas, we need access to other high- quality manpower, they do find it. in several cases they said, frequently when they were afraid of getting a flood of college graduates, they said you need to cut the new standards quote and alter the program, at least what i've seen from the senior leaders in the army, they did not like the programs and thought it was something placed upon them by lsd. >> can you comment on the effect of the manpower, especially project 100,000 and elaborate on the elites? the rich guys. >> i think they are all well- known. we're not going to name names.
i guess, if you could clarify a little more, by the impact of elites. are you talking about the ability of people who are better off to avoid military service? >> they put a lot of pressure on mcnamara and johnson. part of that is manpower, especially project 100,000. i would like your opinion on that. >> i don't know the specifics but to get back, in its implementation, project 100,000 lee went after the most vulnerable. and well it became so egregious, in very short order everybody could see it. throughout training, nobody was supposed to know, you are not supposed to know who the new standards men were in the
organization. i do not have any data but anecdotally, every vietnam veteran i ever spoke with or anyone who served knew who they were. it was clear who these folks were. >> as i said the army did not like this program. it felt they had been placed upon them. in the army, many of the senior officers, the world war ii generation had as discussed in the earlier panel about what a well-run war should be which the nation should be all in. where as the real feeling that the college boys, as some of the feel-good officers would call them too, were putting more over. when anecdote that sums this up that i found is that a physicist he was drafted out of the phd program, actually got an mls related to physics in an army laboratory and he wrote into physics today, the premier
journal for the field and said, i am being wasted. they are not treated as a scientist, i am an errand boy. the officer in the army staff that covered college graduates clipped it out and send it to the division chief for your information and on it the full corner wrote, the student specialty was high particle physics, high-speed medical physics. the colonel wrote back and said, poor guy, such a hard time he is having at the army laboratory. perhaps he could do some field experimentation with high-speed particles, 100 grain. within a lot of the career officers and ncos it was a feeling of a segment of america was putting one over on the less fortunate people. >> i have a comment masquerading as a question directed to jackie witt which
might be hard. what i would ask jackie if she were here would be, could you think a little bit about what we were talking about at the last panel and relate your own scholarship on thinking about the chaplains, their experiences . one thing i would say, we were talking in the last panel about american life and what is happening actually on the ground. in vietnam, especially with the soldiers, my question is about the officer and the chaplain corps and officer corps. the officer corps, during two vietnam is becoming explicitly religiously conservative more than evangelical and fundamentalism. you can find a person having a religious experience, -- i was
thinking, i wanted to meditate on the question about where we see officers telling stories and experiences of a permissive group of soldiers in vietnam and might also be called by their own experiences and transformations in their own perceptions about what is preventable and what is not, what is moral and what is not, what is acceptable and what is not. and rely july city only grows in the 1970s at the moment when they are reflecting on experiences and what went wrong in vietnam. maybe jackie can circle back around to that. that is a long comment but it may be something to think about as we go forward too. >> i have a question about the
return of the new standards men to their communities. did anybody look at whether they in fact benefited? >> yes, i found the information somewhat scattered. hearings were held at the congressional level in the 1970s and some of the 1980s. glass when i found record of was 1990. the initial report showed it was a failure, that they went back and performed worse than their cohorts. however the 1990s, the testimony that i just recently found a few days ago, says in the long run, they as a cohort, ultimately performed better. over 50% of new standards men when asked about what their feelings were toward their military service, over half of them said it was a positive
experience and they felt and made them better. and that they were able to look at economic data and employment data and found that initially in the '70s and '80s they were less likely to be employed but by 1990 they are more likely to be employed. since then i've been able to not find any data but initially it looked like it didn't benefit those men and their communities. i don't know about the communities but we can assume that if they did better than their families dead. but by 1990 there was evidence to show that it did have a positive impact. >> 10 years or 20 years after the case, is it possible that the data reflects experiences after they left the military? >> quite possibly. i don't know if the military experience set them up for ultimate success? if we look to overall veterans, the veteran experience in the
1970s and '80s, be someone else can speak to this but employability, there was an issue like we are experiencing now with veterans, homeless veterans. issues like that. i'm only tangentially aware that it occurred in the 1970s and into the 1980s but maybe the economy was improving. and maybe they became, the attitude toward the military and the availability of va benefits, that is a huge piece of it. but they were more resources that became available for them to utilize. >> i doubt with some in 1989. we were still having problems. >> an observation and question.
the reason that the reserves were not utilized more was a political one. there was tremendous opposition to there was tremendous opposition to the use of the reserves, especially during korea. many people who had served on active duty in world war ii, many of the reserves and then got called up for korea also the mobilizations for the berlin incident, berlin blockade, reserves were called up and performed very poorly. as a generalization. there was tremendous political opposition to that. the decision not to use the reserves following, and learn the consequences of that was
reserves to try to avoid active service. and that's pretty well established. the question is, what we've talked about, religiosty and its impact on morale. i'm asking more, has there really been any study on the impact of popular music? ballad of the green beret was number one in the charts in 1965 and number one overall in the year 1965, according to billboard. are there other examples would be which covered every affirmative available at the
time and where have all the flowers gone wrote in 1955 but was a major hit in preten. i haven't looked at post-ten but there seems to have been some role played, particularly in youth attitudes. >> you're leaving out "we've got to get out of this place." >> that's funny, i actually was reading something just quite recently -- >> we've got to get out of this place. >> that was the most popular song among people who were for and actually against vietnam in vietnam. it was a reflection of popular culture. i mean, they're americans and so they're going to be influenced by what's going on back in the state states. >> music of vietnam about three
years ago by a couple in wisconsin. >> doug bradley and warner. year-by-year basis and track the most popular songs and relate that to political and cultural sentiment and changing views of the songs as it relates to changes in attitudes. >> i guess this is two parts but one is could we be making too much out of the distinction because of the third category who were given some promise whether it was faithful or not, that they might not be serving in leavenworth if they volunteered. the other one was a third presentation about the moral
matter, the chaplains, let's say. when i was there, the only people despised more than the psychiatrists were the chaplains, by the troops, because they kept looking to us for some sort of justification for what they were doing there, whether it's right for your mental health or spiritual health and both groups suffered because there was no way out of that for them. thank you. >> i'll just say that the army was very much aware of the power of the draft to motivate enlistments into the regular army. and they counted on it very explicitly. and this went back all the way to right after korea. people like tom lair and other people, college graduates who enlist to avoid being drafted, in between the two wars. and speaking of the reserve
components, army national guard and army reserve recruiting publicity explicitly says join us to avoid being drafted and this starts right after the korean war. >> from jackie. >> the wonders of technology. jackie says the main toward religious and religiousism happens late in the war. due to difficulties in fulfilling rough quotas of the catholics, protestants and black churches especially, churches made a decision having any chaplain is more important than having a specific flavor of chaplain. they do seem to think that the behavioral criminal acts in the late part of the war is due to declining spirituality and morality. >> i can answer for jennifer, too. jackie says chaplains and officers weren't immune from the conflicts and trends back home.
they say increasing distance between military virtue, even when it is imagined versus realized and society at large, conservative chaplains who come to dominate the core after the war are especially concerned with the corrosive effects within the military to prove the opposite point, that the military has a corrosive influence on virtue uous young . primarily conservatives are arguing that mandatory military training will corrode virtue. >> so you talked about the army command was somewhat persistent toward the new standards men and was excited about the college graduate program. both of those are sort of
logical. any element of race play into this when you say that the new standards men were 40% african-american? college graduates in late 1960s were not 40% african-american. was there a race dynamic to the resistance of the new standards? >> i can't speak whether the resistance was racially based on the army command but it is clear that when you looked at local draft boards and once they dropped the iq requirements, so you're drafting these new standards men, the draft boards now are able to more readily induct people who are on the whole disproportionately ethnic minorities. whether it was deliberate racism on the part of the army command, i couldn't say. but it was so inherent in our culture and our society at the
time, i don't believe you could discount it. >> particularly because -- >> pardon me? >> president johnson talks about that. he has a section where he verbally addresses this issue and race is definitely a factor. >> the idea is that to try and -- from the stated intent to raise the african-american community up, but -- >> the language that he uses, though, with "n" words and stuff, it's clearly -- >> it's pretty clear? >> no doubt. definitely has a racial component to it. >> i guess what i'm asking is you talked that the army command was resistant to the new standards. >> the new standards program. was thatty dog whistle for race? were they resistant because it represented a large number of african-americans coming into the force?
>> well i have to say at least at the level of chief of staff and deputy chief of staff personnel. if they thought that way they didn't leave any remarks like that on paper. and i think, to their credit, for them it was more of a matter of combat effectiveness military utility more than race for that issue, because particularly after tet, the army at certain levels inside the army staff is very sensitive to this question of the perception of racial disparities in different fields. for example, with college graduates, the overwhelming majority of college students who are getting into the army reserve and the army national guard to avoid active duty are white. matter of fact, at one point an assistant secretary for manpower reserves says should we do away with the draft exemptions from being the reserve component because it's clearly a place for
white people to hideout from the war, and the army staff says, no, sir, because we really needed this to keep the reserve and the national guard up. and it would have been, as i said, that's been the big selling point for enlisting in these two components ever since the end of the korean war. they're also concerned about this is part of why some of them thought it was immoral to have student draft affirmative. the majority of college students using that was also white. it was a clear perception this was a way for white kids not to have to go to vietnam. and how much of this they're thinking otherwise and talking amongst themselves, we don't have any way to capture that. >> also in the pretech period that the army became very
sensitive to the fact that minorities were being -- becoming casualties at disproportionate rates in the army. >> yes. and they do try to take steps to put more african-americans in noncombat moss. i can't say how effective that effort was. post tet, they're very sensitive to these issues. whether it's from a moral point of view, strict military utility or the public perception, public affairs part of it, i'm not sure what the proportions of all of that would be in terms of what's motivating their actions. >> this is a completely different topic.
wasn't the draft test itself essentially biased and that all african-americans were lower iq and the truth is that the test wasn't really a test to prove that? >> oh, yes. and mohammed ali is the great example of that. before they lowered the standards for project 100,000, his draft board in kentucky had brought him in two or three times. i forget which. he had been examined for military service and rejected because he had failed the mental category tests. and i don't think it's because mohammed ali has a very low iq. it's because of the way the test, exactly as it was designed. and then when they lower the standards, the draft board calls him in again. this used to sometimes drive the army crazy because they had no
control over selective service. selective service was sort of out there on its own, doing its own thing. and sometimes the army didn't appreciate what selective service was doing. and so when they brought ali in for his next one, the army actually sent a psychiatrist from the surgeon general's office down to watch him take the next test. and he passed because he had lowered the standards. and so they immediately set about his local bored did, set about giving him the invitation from general hershey. when he shows up at the armed forces entrance examination station, that's when he refuses to be inducted. ali is never actually in the army because he refused induction. >> thank you very much for an excellent session. c-span's washington journal live every day with news and
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i live in a country where there are no public transportation, where there are nowhere i can walk. a woman to leave her house, she needs a car and to function, to drive this car, she needs a man. >> saudi arabian women's rights activist manal al-sharif "daring to drive." the ban on women's drivers. >> the right to drive is more act of civil disobedience because women is not supposed to drive. we show that we are able, we are capable of driving our own life and being in the driver seat of our own destiny by doing this act of civil disobedience. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q & a. a former u.s. army psychiatrist and retired u.s. marine lieutenan