In late 1967 I was living in Springfield, Missouri when I received my draft notice. When I reported to the Induction Center in Kansas City, Missouri, I was just one of about 600 or 700 people that they were going to be handling that day. I went through all the normal physical examinations, and took all the normal written tests. At the end of the day they told us all to go back to our hotel room and return at 0700 hours the next morning.
I returned at the appointed time, and sat in a chair for four hours while I watched people have their named called. They would get their orders, and go outside to get on a bus to go to basic training. Lunch time came, and I still hadn’t been called. I went up to the front of the room and told the sergeant that “I think somebody lost me!” He took my name and went back in the building. After about 10 minutes, he came out and I was told to go to lunch and be back by 1300 hours.
When I returned, they took me down the hall and put me in a small room. I started taking additional written tests. After two hours, they came and took down the hall and around the corner to a another room. In the room waiting for me there was a tape machine, a stenographer, and a physiatrist. For a seemingly endless period I answered the questions that the Physiatrist asked me. Most of the questions were of the sort that there was no right answer. They were mostly of the “Have you quit beating your wife yet?” sort. It seemed to be a useless process and a waste of time. When they were done with me, they sent me out to the waiting room. After several hours, they came out and told me to go back to the hotel and come back in the morning at 0700.
When I returned the next morning, I sat in the waiting room and watched them call people’s name, give then their orders, and send them out to the bus. Around 1000 they called my name. I was taken down the hall to a small office. I was introduced to a Mr. Jones and a Mr. Smith. I knew that something strange was going on. After all, what are the chances that two out of three people in one small room having the last name of Smith or Jones.
They then offered me a position as an “Special Intelligence Analyst and Coordinator. The way they described it, made me believe that I was being offered a desk job. The word Intelligence Analyst and stuck with me, but Coordinator had flow right by me. After all, an analyst sits at a desk and reviews intelligence information. A Coordinator is a facilitator and planner. I was naïve enough at that time to think that I would not be in the jungle in South Viet Nam. To get the position, all I had to do was to enlist for a three year period. Three years at a desk sounded much better than two years in the jungle, so I agreed to accept their offer and enlist for the extra year. This simple and naïve decision was to change the course of my life.
I went to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri for my basic training, and then was sent on to Fort Hollibird in Baltimore, Maryland, where I went through two different intelligence schools. It was a cram course in intelligence. About half way through these classes, I was informed that my “Top Secret Special Intelligence” security clearance was now in effect. I was given a detailed briefing about what I could and could not talk about. It basically came down to shut up and don’t talk about anything.
After graduation from both schools, I went to Fort Bragg and took “Jump Training.” I then went to Fort Stewart for a week of orientation on Ranger activities and jungle warfare, and continued on the Panama for 4 weeks in the jungle. Next it was back to the Farm in Virginia for Sniper Training. By this time I had figured out that I had been sold a bill of goods and had no control over my life. I was certain that I was going to go to South Viet Name. Then they turned around and confused me by sending me to South Korea to be the Intelligence Editor. From that day forward I lived in a world that was quietly referred to as the “World of Mirrors.” Within approximately 5 months I was running operations in Laos, Cambodia, and North Viet Nam. The Shadow War had begun.