The Last US Army Draftee is still on Active Service After 37 years
When you think of an American conscript draftee, you think of the citizen soldiers who answered the call during the Civil War (where only 2% of soldiers were drafted), the two World Wars, Korea, and finally Vietnam. In the tail-end days of the Vietnam conflict the draft was discontinued in December 1972 with the last draftees reporting for service June 1973. It has often been portrayed in the media that conscripted men taken into service during the latter part of the Vietnam conflict were either those too dumb or poor or both to get out of it. This image is sharply contrasted by draftee Jeffery Mellinger. Mellinger drafted April 18, 1972, served his required two years.
Then he re-enlisted voluntarily-and has continued to do so for the following 37-years.
He is now the Command Sergeant Major for the US Army’s Material Command. CSM Mellinger has made over 3700 military parachute jumps, served around the world, and spent no less than 33-months in Iraq. During his Iraq time the Sergeant Major walked away from 27 roadside bombs and was declared ‘a national asset’ by General David Petraeus. Before going to Iraq he had spent years in the Rangers, was a drill sergeant at Ft Gordon, an ROTC instructor at the University of Alaska and an instructor to the US Special Forces (“Green Berets”).
CSM Mellinger, besides his Legion of Merit and Bronze Star has gained another honor….that of the last US draftee on active duty.