Skip to main content


November 2023
1min read

In the summer of 1968, Paul Milligan received an induction order from his Des Moines draft board. On the day he reported, no military transport was available to take him to Fort Polk for basic training, so he was given a job for the day filing case histories in the local draft office. He read about young men who had avoided the draft through one ruse or another. At first Milligan resented what others had done, but later he began to feel the fool. That night, he telephoned his mother: “The whole setup is corrupt. I don’t need to be here! I don’t need to be here! … I simply didn’t need to be drafted!”

Paul Milligan became one of the 2,150,000 draft-age men who went to Vietnam, and was one of the 51,000 of his generation who sacrificed their lives in the war.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this 72-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.