Today on Tommy T’s obsession with Random Ruminations – “Insufficient Bone Spurs” edition

Insufficient bone spurs

When I was in Allen Military academy, our MST (military science and technology) instructors were active-duty Army, assigned to Allen after rotating out of Vietnam. It was 1968, and things were getting a lot worse over there. The ethos of Allen Academy (one of the 10 “honor academies” in the country) was that you attended through high school levels, to two years of junior college levels, then were enlisted as a First Lieutenant. A lot of the gung-ho cadet officers bombarded the Nam vets with questions about what it was like over there.

To a man, they refused to say anything at all about it. This scared me more than any horror stories they could have told.

When I came back home to Waco, my father asked me to let him submit my name for acceptance in the Waco branch of the Naval Reserve. My dad was sort of a big wheel there (28 years active duty, and a civil service fireman at James Connally AFB in Waco), so it was a shoo-in way to escape the draft, which was crucial, as my draft eligibility began the next year.

I told him “No – it’s not right for me to hide there while all my friends were being snapped up by the draft. I’ll take my chances like everybody else.” I couldn’t tell if he was quietly approving, or thought I was an idiot.

The night of the lottery drawing, I went to Cameron Park with my friend and ex-bandmate Bobby Arnold. It was night. We took our amplifiers and instruments, and jammed some, then sat in my car and listened to the radio to hear the drawing announcements (they announced each birth date for those eligible, and called out the number that was drawn for it). The higher the number, the lower the chance of being shipped off to Nam. They drew the number for my birthday, and it was 328. They drew the number for Bobby’s and it was 3. He joined the Navy immediately thereafter.

No bone spurs for either of us.

Company “C” (my company) :


That’s me below with the book satchel (yes, I was a book-reading nerd even then)


3 thoughts on “Today on Tommy T’s obsession with Random Ruminations – “Insufficient Bone Spurs” edition

  1. Tommy, I enjoy your posts and I’m enjoying your increased contribution. A minor quibble: those lucky Allen men would be commissioned, rather than enlisted. I enlisted in 1968, for some odd reason.

    1. Yes, commissioned is the correct term.
      They would automatically be given the rank of second lieutenant, and immediately shipped off to Nam, where one of their own men would almost certainly frag them.

  2. The funny part is that the grounds of Allen academy are now a Federal prison camp (the military program was discontinued in 1982). so I guess the more things change…….

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