Post Author
David Gaul
Shelby County Democratic Party Co-Chair


Authors  Contributors

David Gaul
Donna Clothier
Kathleen Cue

STEVE KING DODGED THE VIETNAM WAR DRAFT

Steve King, Congressman from Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, avoided the Vietnam War draft in 1967, 1968 and 1969, the peak years of induction into the army during that war.  In those days, avoiding the draft was commonly known as draft dodging.  Documents obtained from the National Archives and Records Administration confirm that Congressman King—Selective Service number 13-24-49-88—obtained three student draft deferments during those years, one for each year.  Student deferments carried a “2S” designation.

Classification records are a matter of public information and are available upon written request.  A verification letter from the National Archives regarding Mr. King's classification record can be seen here.  Congressman King’s classification record shows that he obtained his first “2S” deferment on October 19th, 1967.  Subsequent deferments were granted on December 12th, 1968 and November 17th, 1969. 

Congressman King’s congressional website, states that he attended Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri.  Other web profiles confirm that he attended this school from 1967 to 1970.  His website biography states that he “studied math and science.”  He left Northwest Missouri State after three years and never did earn a degree.  Curiously, his website biography does not say why he left Northwest Missouri State in 1970, although in a recent debate with Christie Vilsack he stated that he left Northwest Missouri State to work on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.  Construction on Trans-Alaske Pipeline, however, did not begin until 1975.  King, in fact, never did work on that pipeline.

After graduating from Denison High School in Denison, Iowa, in the spring of 1967 and after turning eighteen on May 28th of that year, King registered with the Selective Service as was required by law.  All eighteen-year olds were required by law to register.  King was mailed his classification questionnaire on June 6th.  His initial classification on July 20th, 1967, was “1AG,” which meant that he was immediately available for military service.  Sometime after July 20th, 1967, King enrolled at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri.  He subsequently sought and was granted his first “2S” deferment on October 19th, thus shielding him from the draft.
 
More than two years later, on November 17th, 1969, Steve King was granted his third student deferment, his second one having been granted on December 12, 1968.  Nine days after receiving his third deferment, President Richard Nixon signed an amendment to the Military Service Act of 1967 that created the draft lottery.  Under the new lottery system, draft deferments were still allowed.  Draft-age men could only be exposed to the draft for one year, unless they were in the group of men having deferments when the lottery system was introduced.  In the case of those men holding deferments, which would have included King, if they ever allowed their deferments to cease, they would have been exposed to every draft lottery until their 25th birthday.  (A good study regarding this era in our history can be seen by going here).

The first draft lottery took place Dec. 1, 1969, and all men born between 1944 and 1950 were subject to it, including Steve King.  Subsequent lotteries would not involve these men.  The lotteries of 1970, 1971 and 1972 involved men born in 1951, 1952 and 1953 respectively and men who had allowed their previous deferments to expire as explained above.

King had received his final deferment two weeks prior on November 17th, 1969.  Because he had been receiving deferments under the old draft system, King was still shielded from being drafted in the lottery system as long as he maintained his deferments and stayed in school.

In the first lottery held on December 1st, 1969, 366 numbers were assigned, one for each possible birth date.  The birth date of May 28, Steve King’s birth date, was assigned number 308.  This was an extremely high number.  Anyone receiving that number in 1969 would have been tremendously relieved. The number 308 virtually guaranteed that Steve King would not have been drafted, even if he hadn’t had a student deferment.  The highest number drafted that year was, in fact, 195.  Furthermore, King’s draft number was assigned to him permanently.  This was significant.  It meant that he would be protected from the draft by his high number even if he allowed his draft deferment to expire by leaving school.

King did leave school when he quit Northwest Missouri State University in 1970.  Until his recent debate with Christie Vilsack, King had never publicly offered a reason as to why he had chosen to leave Northwest Missouri State so abruptly three years into his college education without earning a degree.  During those three years King spent in Maryville, the United States suffered its greatest losses in Vietnam with 39,721 soldiers killed

King’s departure from school meant his “2S” deferment was no longer valid, but his draft number insulated him in the draft lotteries held in 1970, 1971 and 1972 when more than 306,000 men were drafted into the Army.  That number—308—enabled him to avoid military service for the duration of the war.  Maintaining his student deferment and continuing his education at Northwest State University in Maryville were no longer necessary to achieve the same end.

Student deferments were not uncommon, but in the case of Steve King the deferments seem in contrast with the public persona that has defined him as a politician in the years since the draft and the Vietnam War.  He has been an outspoken proponent of hard-right, conservative principles.  He was a strong supporter of the Iraq War and an advocate for increased troop levels.  When Democrats gained control of the House of Representatives following the 2006 elections and began questioning the policies of the Iraq War through legislative actions, King frequently voiced strident opposition.  Today he is making similar saber-rattling comments in regard to Iran. 

Throughout his political career, King has laced his rhetoric with strong anti-communist, anti-Marxist, anti-socialist, anti-leftist sentiments and remarks.  In 2005, he received widespread attention for a comment he made to a local governmental official in California by the name of Barbara Lee, saying “I think that if Barbara Lee would read the history of Joe McCarthy, she would realize that he was a hero for America.”  Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin was a noted anti-communist crusader in the 1950s. 

The Vietnam War that Congressman Steve King of Iowa avoided was a war intended to halt the spread of Communism in Southeast Asia.  In a speech delivered on the House floor on May 3rd, 2006, King concluded that we lost that war “because we lost the will in this country.”  On April 30th, 1975, Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese.  That same year, Steve King started his bull dozing business in Kiron, Iowa.  The draft had ended two years earlier in 1973.  Steve King never was drafted, nor did he ever volunteer to serve during the Vietnam War.  Perhaps this is something more conservative voters of Iowa's new 4th Congressional District will want to know.




RSS Feed Link


Tags:  

Comments Policy Comment Policy
Comments Policy Close

Comments should be viewed as a conversation between two people. Please consider this an interactive discussion and act civilly.

All comments will be approved by a moderator. Although we would like to post every comment submitted immediately, site safety and our family friendly theme does not allow it.

Comments considered or deemed to be obscene, vulgar, cruel, pointless, embarrassing or harmful to this site, in poor taste, accusatory, flames, personal attacks, duplicates or spam will be edited or deleted.

This site is the final arbiter of whether or not a post falls in to one of the above categories. Whether or not a post or comment is displayed will be at our sole discretion and will not be limited by the previous description(s).

Please do not repeat posts, post comments under another persons name or post comments under multiple names. Any of these may cause you to be banned from future posts.

A valid email address is required to post comments, they will not be publicly displayed, published, shared or sold to a third party. Your email address may be used by the moderator to contact you privately.

Please avoid offensive, crude or innapropriate words, terms and descriptions in your comments, this blog intends to be family friendly.

Please do not post comments that detract from the general theme of the blog post and other comments, these can disrupt the "flow" of discussion and may not be approved.

The individual or organization authoring a given blog post may or may not be available to respond to your comments.
The moderator may or may not forward comments to the blog author.
The blog Author may add a response to the blog comments, reply to comments by email or may not be available to respond at all.
Please do not be offended if there is no response to a blog comment, all posted comments should add to the general discussion and not focus on personal questions. Personal questions should be directed to the blog author or you may use our contact form to contact the moderator directly.

Any and all comments posted to this blog are the sole responsibility of the person posting the comments. The blog owner, moderator, author or administrator are responsible for their own posts and comments and cannot be held liable for others comments.

When submitting a comment on this blog, you agree that any comments and content is your own, and to hold this site, and any representatives harmless from any and all repercussions, damages, or liability.

Please refrain from posting personal or private information such as your email, real address, phone number etc., this type of information may be removed from a comment or the comment may not be approved for display. For your protection, never share this type of information in  a comment.

If you feel copyrighted material has been used in a comment or blog post on this blog please use our contact form to notify us and we will  review the information then respond by removing the material in question, responding in a timely fashion or both. We respect the rights of others and will not knowingly display material copyrighted by others.

All blog posts are Copyright of this site or the respective Authors.
Copyright © 2012- 2014  Shelby County Democratic Party  All rights reserved.
Close

Comments  Comments Locked