2017-11-16 / Life in Leelanau

One good resident sought to serve on county Draft Board

By Eric Carlson
Of The Enterprise staff

The U.S. Selective Service System is looking for a Leelanau County resident over the age of 18 who might be willing to serve as a member of a local draft board.

A military draft?

Yep.

Even though nobody’s been drafted into military service since the early 1970s and we’ve had an all-volunteer force since 1973, the Selective Service System is still in business. As most young American men turning age 18 can tell you, they’re still legally required to register for the draft even though the chances of them being drafted currently appear to be next to nil.

“I’m not sure how I feel about only young men, and not young women, being required to register for the draft,” said Vietnam combat veteran Steve Alguire of Suttons Bay. Alguire entered the service through an Army officer commissioning program at Michigan State University.

“My younger brother ended up being drafted and going to Vietnam, and a lot of young men my age were really sweating it back in the ’60s Alguire said.

Alguire added, “With an all-volunteer force, any war is always somebody else’s war ... it’s like what President Trump told the widow of the soldier killed recently in Niger – ‘he knew what he was signing up for.’”

Greg Mikowski of Suttons Bay also volunteered for the Army during the Vietnam War. But he knew a lot of guys who were drafted.

“These days, I think military service would be good for some young people, but the all-volunteer force seems to be serving us well,” Mikowski said. “These are definitely different times.”

Bradley Price of Northport never served in the military. But at age 66, he lived through the draft and was glad to see that his number was not called in a lottery draft boards used at the time to decide who would be drafted and who would stay home.

“Resuming the draft would assure that a larger portion of our people would have skin in the game,” in our nation’s wars, Price wrote in a letter-to-the-editor that appeared last month in the Enterprise. He said he supports resuming the draft only because it might help keep the U.S. out of more wars.

Lt. Col. Daniel Allen of the Michigan National Guard serves as commander of a small detachment of guardsmen who recruit and train volunteer Selective Service draft board members across the state.

“We look on the Selective Service System as the third line in our nation’s defense,” Allen explained.

“Our first line of defense, of course, is our active duty force,” Allen continued. “Our second line of defense is the military Guard and Reserve. The third line of defense is the Selective Service System and our local draft boards which decide which young men in each community receive deferments, postponements or exemptions from military service, based on federal guidelines.”

A prospective draft board member must be a citizen of the U.S. at least 18 years old and, if male, registered with the Selective Service. Draft board members must not be employed in law enforcement, have been convicted of a criminal offense, or be an active or retired member of the Armed Forces.

A vacancy for one draft board member currently exists in Leelanau County, according to Allen. He said an individual who had previously served in the unpaid position has not remained in communication with the Selective Service for at least three years and that individual’s status is unknown.

Allen said he knows the individual’s name, but is not at liberty to divulge it. Vacancies also exist in many other counties throughout Michigan.

Once identified as qualified candidates for appointment, prospective board members are recommended by the governor and appointed by the Director of the Selective Service, who acts on behalf of the President in making the appointments, according to a news release.

Each new member receives five hours of initial training after appointment, followed by two hours of annual training for as long as he or she remains in the position. Volunteers may serve on a Draft Board up to a total of 20 years.

Allen said he and his detachment are flexible about scheduling and provide convenient locations for initial training and annual training. Volunteers receive up to $50 for travel expenses. Only one board member is being sought for Leelanau County.

Anyone interested in applying may phone Maj. Robert LaPoint at (231) 838-0776 or send an email to rlapoint@harborps.org. Lt.Col. Allen may be reached at (517) 927-1537 or by email at Daniel.Allen2020@gmail.com.

Return to top