Lubbock veteran says he enlisted in Air Force to avoid draft


LUBBOCK, Texas — Colonel Larry Driskell, Air Force veteran, said Wednesday that after he graduated from college, he enlisted in the military to avoid being drafted into the Army.

The year was 1968, and the world watched as the Vietnam War claimed millions of lives.

“I had it in mind that if I got drafted, I would get sent to the infantry, I’d get sent to Vietnam, and I’d be sleeping in the forest, in the jungle and walking in the mud,” Driskill told KLBK News.

He said he would rather fly planes, which is why he joined the Air Force.

“The most difficult thing flying airplanes was learning how to be an instructor– how to be a really good instructor,” Driskill explained.

Although he wrote letters to his wife Patricia every day, his wife said she faced difficulties of her own while he was away. A first-grade teacher at the time shared a bizarre conversation she had with one of her students.

“They knew about Larry because I had a picture of him on my desk, one of the little boys said, ‘You know what he does is very dangerous, don’t you?'” Patricia Driskill recapped. “Do you know what would happen if his engine quit? His plane would crash, and he would die, and you would be very sad, wouldn’t you?”

While sharing this conversation, Patricia chuckled at the memory.

“Yes, I would be very sad if that happened,” she told her first grader.

Patricia felt scared for her husband but mostly proud. After a year in Vietnam, Larry came home.

Patricia expressed the importance of military service and Veteran’s Day.

“We need to recognize that if we don’t protect our liberties and our freedoms, then our children, our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren won’t have them anymore.”

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