Marine Corps Non-Prior Service Enlisted Accessions
MAF and the SLFs, and another 468 other Marines in various assignments in Vietnam, over 1,000 short of the number authorized by Program 6.138*
The only way to maintain the flow of replacements to Vietnam was to further increase the number of new recruits. In December 1968, the Marine Corps made a draft call, and made further calls in 9 of the next 12 months. The Marine Corps and the Draft.
Traditionally, the Marine Corps took great pride in the fact that every Marine had voluntarily enlisted. Well before the Vietnam War, senior Marine officers recognized that the Marine Corps indirectly benefit-ted from the draft by recruiting draft-motivated volunteers. "^ The rapid expansion of the Marine Corps in late 1965 and early 1966 forced the Marine Corps to turn to Selective Service to find enough recruits to fill the ranks. The Marine Corps made four draft calls between November 1965 and March 1966, accepting 19,636 draftees in fiscal year 1966. As soon as possible, however, the Marine Corps returned to its traditional reliance on voluntary enlistments. The Marine Corps did not make another draft call until April 1968, after the Tet offensive, followed by a second call in May. The next call came in December 1968, inaugurating a steady reliance on the draft unti1 February 1970, well after Marine forces had begun withdrawing from Vietnam.**
Ostensibly, the increased reliance on the draft reflected in part a need to "smooth out" the traditionally large summer volunteer recruit cohorts to ensure an even flow of replacements for Vietnam.140 For most of the months in 1969 in which draft calls were made, however, the total number of new recruits was actually lower than that for the same month in 1968 (see chart). To accommodate the large flow of replacements needed, the Marine Corps requested an end strength for fiscal year 1969 of 320,700. The Assistant Secretary of Defense (Systems Analysis), Dr. Alain C. Enthoven, disagreed with Headquarters, Marine Corps' estimates, trimming over 10,000 spaces off the allowance for the
*The average strength of III MAF appeared to fluctuate from month to month. According to Colonel Maurice Rose, who became the III MAF G-l in July 1968, he recalled receiving "almost daily calls from MACV telling me to get down to our authorized strength. It got to the point that I was making nightly calls to the G-Is of subordinate commands to determine strength." He remembered that sometime in September or October, III MAF sent a message to FMFPac "stating the urgency of the situation." Rose Comments.
*i'The withdrawal of Marine Forces from Vietnam began in July 1969, with the withdrawal of the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines; the 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion; and numerous supporting units. The 3d Marine Division departed Vietnam on 7 November 1969- For a discussion of the withdrawal of Marine Forces from Vietnam, see Smith, The U.S. Marines in Vietnam, 1969: High Mobility andStanddawn.