Share This Article

Hello there,

If someone volunteered for the army during the Vietnam War, how long would it be from the date of volunteering to the date of training? Would there be an option given?

If this individual had previous military training, would he have a shorter period of training before transportation? Would he be more likely to be an officer?

Thanks so much,


? ? ?

Dear Bianca,

I’m afraid there is no pat answer to that question, now any more than then. Volunteers in those days were either already veterans or potential draftees who wished to enlist on their own terms, i.e., choosing their MOS (military occupational specialty), which meant a wide difference in time spent training (anything from an intelligence analyst to a warrant officer piloting a helicopter to an artilleryman to a someone with Ranger training in a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol unit to a multi-skilled Green Beret). When I joined the Army National Guard, there was at least a month’s grace period to get one’s civilian affairs in order between volunteering or getting that “Greetings” letter and going off to Basic Training—but it also depended on when the next class dealing with one’s chosen MOS was to start (in my case 31S, or field communication security maintenance and repair, a 13-week course at Fort Gordon, Georgia that began in January 1985).

To this my commissioned colleague, Maj. Gen. David Zabecki—who started out in Vietnam as an enlisted man—adds:


You’re right. Far too many variables here. If you enlisted the grace period prior to reporting all depended on the school dates for your MOS. Each case was worked out individually with the recruiting sergeant. I’ve known of delays up to six months.

In my case, I walked into the recruiting sergeant’s office in late August 1966. After taking all the tests I was told I could enlist for any MOS the Army had. I enlisted for 11B (infantryman). I reported to the reception station on 26 September 1966, and landed in Vietnam 26 March 1967. I didn’t become an officer until 15 September 1975.



Jon Guttman
Research Director
World History

More Questions at Ask Mr. History


Don’t miss the next Ask Mr. History question! To receive notification whenever any new item is published on HistoryNet, just scroll down the column on the right and sign up for our RSS feed.