A lot of people like to say they're patriotic, and even like to act as such; it isn't until it's their time to serve that they show their true colors. In this installment, we're taking a look at 10 of the most famous people to ever be accused of draft dodging.
Frontman of the Doors, Jim Morrison, unsurprisingly, was a draft dodger; Morrison would be called upon to serve in the Vietnam War with a band mate, John Densmore. They both went to the draft board and passed the physicals; however, they would fail their psychiatric exam. Densmore, would proclaim multiple times that he was homosexual, and though he wasn't present for Morrison's evaluation, he claimed that Morrison had "prepared" himself for the draft by getting high and drunk. Densmore went on further to say that "when Jim was not in proper state of mind, he could be extremely weird, obnoxious, mean, and very obscene." Jim Morrison exclaimed the military simply said they "did not want someone like that" as he walked out of the room. I suppose the Lizard King really can do anything, including getting out of military service.
Jimi Hendrix, guitar legend, rock and roll hall of fame inductee, and notable draft dodger. According to his own telling, Jimi became injured during a parachute jump during training, and as a result was relieved of active duty. Nothing is wrong with that, however, this was not the reported reason why he was discharged. A biography of Jimi Hendrix claims that army records state that he was discharged due to showing homosexual characteristics; which back then was just not permitted.
The biographer also assures us that Hendrix was completely straight and was probably putting on an elaborate ruse. We all know the truth; like many people at the time, Jimi just didn't agree with the American government.
John "Duke" Wayne, the All-American icon and gem on the silver screen portrayed more brave and patriotic soldiers, sailors, and other military personnel in more movies than any other leading man in movie history. But when it came to reality, his outspoken “patriotism” was just an act, as he failed to serve in the military, despite being only 34 years old when the U.S. entered World War II. Wayne feared that military service may lead to the end of his acting career as he thought he'd be too old to be an action star after finishing his service. After receiving a call from the draft board, Wayne would argue that he was exempt due to the fact he was the sole supporter of his family; though failing to mention he was going through a divorce.
Well before WWI, Germany had a mandatory service mandate; Einstein, figuring he had no time for war decided to slip away to Switzerland, a neutral country, where he became the youngest professor that Europe had ever seen due to his outstanding academic works. With Berlin being considered the academic capital of the world at that time, a couple of German scientists from the University of Berlin wished to see him teaching there. He would soon return, and shortly there after, WWI would come into being. At this time his proclivities towards pacifism would arise, managing to avoid military duty; instead touring the world, speaking in front of thousands and winning the Nobel Prize in 1921.
World famous heavyweight boxing champion, Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Clay, without question, refused to fight in the Vietnam War. Ali would go on to say "I ain't got no quarrel with those Vietcong", and proclaimed that he would not fight for a country that would not stand up for him at home. On Junt 20th, 1967, Ali was fined $10,000, banned from boxing, denied his ability to go overseas to fight, and stripped him of his Championship belt; he would be permitted to rejoin the sport after three years time. In 1971, the Supreme Court would rule in his favor, reversing the 1967, draft evasion conviction; he would then go on to regain the championship again in 1974, after beating then champion, Joe Frazier.
William "Bill" Clinton certainly didn’t want to fight during the Vietnam War, but as President he certainly had no qualm about sending U.S. troops abroad. In 1972, Bill Clinton acquired temporary ROTC or Reserve Officers’ Training Corps status, which exempted him from the draft; though never actually joining the ROTC, he has been accused of purposely deceiving the military to avoid service. During the course of the 90's, he had sent a substantial number of "peacekeeping" troops to Bosnia and Kosovo; as well as deploying missions to Rwanda and Somalia, the location of the infamous ‘Black Hawk Down’ incident. Hypocrisy seems to be a strong suit in the American political portfolio.
Bruce Springsteen told Rolling Stone in 1984, that he acted oddly during his induction physical to get a 4F rating, therefore being able to avoid the draft; simply stating that his words at the time were simply, "I ain't going." When Springsteen's draft number was pulled, he had reported to the draft board as he was required to do, once there, he was able to use a preexisting concussion that he suffered from a motorcycle accident he had the year before to avoid the draft. This alone may not have gotten him off the hook, but as he goes on record saying, his "crazy" antics and refusal to take the tests seemed to be enough to get him deemed as unfit for military service.
Radio talk show host and political commentator, Rush Limbaugh, escaped the draft on deferment for school, as many others had done during the time. Shortly after he would drop out of school, making him a prime candidate for the military, that is, until he got out by the skin on his butt... literally. Limbaugh would elude service to his country due to a "pilonidal cyst". What is a pilonidal cyst you're asking? Go ahead... google it... we'll wait. You can't unsee that now can you? The things we do to bring you guys' knowledge...
Despite the fact that Donald Trump claims he had avoided military service during the Vietnam War solely due to high draft numbers, Selective Service records would reveal the shameless presidential aspirant actually received a series of student deferments while enrolled in college; and then, just to make sure, he secured a medical deferment after he had graduated to grant that he was spared from the war and to serve his country.
Ted Nugent made it no secret that he was a draft dodger, or even how he went about doing it. During an interview with High Times magazine in 1977, he went on record to say that he had avoided the draft during Vietnam by taking crystal meth and deficating his pants; he would confirm this tale again in the Detroit Free Press in 1990. Going even further into detail, claiming that he had used his pants for a bathroom for over a week, just to fail the physical. He would then later deny the stories, saying he had received his deferment by enrolling in college; obviously that isn't true, as the actual deferments for 1969 and 1972 were for physical, psychological and or moral reasons. You would figure that someone who is so adamant about preserving his rights and freedoms would be a little more willing to serve his countries military, right?