Donald Trump: Draft Records


no heel spurs
 
At the height of the Viet Nam war in 1968, 22-year-old Trump was found medically unfit to be drafted because of one or more heel spurs. As a college enrollee from 1964-1968 he had been protected from the draft. After graduating, he became eligible for the draft on July 9, 1968. He became medically ineligible two months later, on Sept. 17, 1968. SEE BELOW

Trump averred in 2016 that "I had a doctor that gave me a letter -- a very strong letter on the heels," continuing that the condition was temporary and that it was "not a big problem, but it was enough of a problem." He did not produce any documentation. 1

Long speculation held that the heel spur diagnosis was a ruse to avoid military service 2. In late 2018 the daughters of a New York podiatrist, Dr. Larry Braunstein, spoke to the New York Times 3:

The doctor's daughters said his role in Mr. Trump's military exemption had long been the subject of discussions among relatives and friends. "It was family lore," said Elysa Braunstein. "It was something we would always discuss."
Dr. Braunstein rented office space from Trump's father, and afterwards received concessions on the rent, according to a podiatry colleague 3.

Speculation turned to fact in early 2019 when Trump's longtime attorney testified as follows, under oath, before Congress and a large television audience:

During the campaign [in 2015-2016] Mr. Trump tasked me to handle the negative press surrounding his medical deferment from the Vietnam draft.

Mr. Trump claimed it was because of a bone spur, but when I asked for medical records, he gave me none and said there was no surgery. He told me not to answer the specific questions by reporters but rather offer simply the fact that he received a medical deferment.

He finished the conversation with the following comment. "You think I'm stupid, I wasn't going to Vietnam" 4.



birthmarks
 
A section on Trump's draft card entitled "obvious physical characteristics" notes a "birthmark on both heels" 5. SEE BELOW

Comment: None of the released medical examinations have mentioned this.


More...
This is Trump's draft card, presumably issued in 1964. Unlike his classification record (scroll down), it has little of medical interest beyond his height, weight, and identifying marks.

The local draft board's ledger page is also available. MORE


This extract of Trump's draft records shows his various classifications over more than seven years. A more comprehensible narrative (scroll down) provides context.

Aside:
Uninformed speculation has suggested the "YXX" annotation indicates a diagnosis of Klinefelter syndrome, in which there are three sex chromosomes, XXY, instead of the normal two (XX or XY). In fact, YXX was a standard abbreviation in Selective Service records of the Viet Nam era with this meaning:

Remarks Column: "yxx" -- these symbols indicate the registrant's physical, mental and administrative qualifications, in that sequence. A symbol with the letter "y" appearing in one of the three elements indicates that the registrant may be acceptable for service in the Armed Forces only in time of war or national emergency declared by Congress. Vietnam was not a declared war or national emergency by Congress. We have no record which provides the specific reason the registrant was found conditionally acceptable for service. 6

The ledger from Trump's local draft board shows numerous other records having the YXX annotation in its column 10 MORE.


The table below captures the important events in Trump's journey through the draft system. To make it understandable to readers born after 1956, who have not had to navigate the draft, the rightmost column provides context in a first-person narration. Any person who went through the same sequence of birthdays, college enrollments, medical exams, and status revisions as Trump would probably have the same thoughts about the mechanics of the process. These thoughts are made up and there has been no attempt to square them with what Trump may or may not have been thinking at the time. (A few items in the rightmost column are not thoughts. They have references, and are not in italics.)

Date Draft
Classification
Event Thoughts of a Person Going Through This
(No one in particular)
1964
18
June 14 - Turns 18 All males must register for the draft at age 18.
June 24 - Classification questionnaire -- Mailed
July 28 2-S Student deferment Status 2-S is a "student deferment" that prevents me from being drafted into the military. As long as I'm in college, I can maintain the 2-S status.
September Student at Fordham U.
1965
19
Dec. 14 2-S
1966
20
spring Leaves Fordham
? autumn Enrolls at U. Penn
Nov. 22 1-A Men in status 1-A are the first group of people to be drafted. Selective Service applied this classification to me because they [mistakenly] had no proof I was still in college. If I furnish such proof, I can regain 2-S status.
Dec. 13 2-S   My 2-S (student) classification has been re-instated, as I am still in college.
Dec. 15 Physical examination A military doctor examines me in person, to see if I am physically qualified to serve in the military should I be drafted. Unless something disqualifying is found, I can expect to enter 1-A status after I graduate from college.
1967
21
     
1968
22
Jan. 16 2-S  
May 20 Graduates from college 7 Trump claims he watched the draft lottery while a college student at Wharton, but this is demonstrably false. The first such lottery in the Viet Nam era occurred 18 months after Trump graduated. 8
July 9 1-A   I have finished college. My student deferment has therefore ended. Because I was found physically qualified during my medical examination, I am now in 1-A status and move much further toward the front of the line to be drafted.
Sep. 17 Physical examination - Disqualified Because a person's physical state can change over time, medical assessment is not a one-time event. My physical status has changed. The military has determined that I have a medical condition that would impair my ability to be a member of the armed services.
Oct. 16 1-Y   This change to the 1-Y status represents paperwork catching up to my recent physical examination. Status 1-Y says that I am not to serve in the military unless every normally-eligible man has already been drafted. That would occur only in an extreme war or national emergency -- a scale that the Viet Nam conflict does not approach.
1969
23
Dec. 1 Draft number picked: 356 8 A lottery drawing assigns each person a "draft number" based on their birthdate. The lower the number, the closer you are to the front of the line to be drafted. Persons with the highest possible draft number, 366, are last in line among all the people in 1-A status. My number, 356, is based on my June 14 birthday. It doesn't really apply to me because I am in 1-Y status. But if I were in status 1-A, I would be near the back of the line, almost at the same place that 1-Y status puts me.
1970
24
     
1971
25
Dec. 10   Policy
change
"The 1-Y classification was abolished December 10, 1971. Local boards were subsequently instructed to reclassify all 1-Y registrants by administrative action." 9
1972
26
Feb. 1 4-F   The 4-F status is more or less a mere re-naming of my 1-Y status. The 4-F classification was used in World War II and thus is familiar to millions of Americans of all ages, almost like a word in the English language.
1973
27
Jan. 27   Peace treaty. Draft ends. Peace. No more conscriptions will occur. Now my draft status doesn't matter.


A pictorial view of Trump's draft classification status is below, designed to show the relative amount of time spent in each status over the time he was subject to the draft. The horizontal axis is to scale for the passage of time.

 Status    Years   Status Explanation
1-A . .   Fit to be drafted
1-Y .   Qualified only in time of war or national emergency 9
2-S . . . .   Student
4-F .   Unfit
<-- 1964 1974 -->

Cited Sources
  1. Blake, Aaron. McCain hits Trump where it hurts, attacking "bone spur" deferments in Vietnam. (Published 22 Oct. 2017. Downloaded on 2017-10-22.) Available on the web: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/10/22/mccain-hits-trump-where-it-hurts-attacking-bone-spur-deferments-in-vietnam/
  2. Bump, Philip. The two favors that may have helped Trump avoid fighting in the Vietnam War. (Published 21 Mar. 2016. Downloaded on 2019-12-29.) Available on the web: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/12/26/two-favors-that-may-have-helped-trump-avoid-vietnam-war/
  3. Eder, Steve. Did a Queens Podiatrist Help Donald Trump Avoid Vietnam?. (Published 26 Dec. 2018. Downloaded on 2019-12-29.) Available on the web: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/26/us/politics/trump-vietnam-draft-exemption.html
  4. Cohen, Michael. Testimony of Michael D. Cohen. U.S. House Of Representatives. Committee On Oversight And Reform. February 27, 2019.
  5. Selective Service System. [Documentation related to the military draft]. . 13 Sept. 2016.
        

    Comment: Obtained from The Smoking Gun reference. Scans available here -->   MORE.

  6. Selective Service System. [Classification History: Donald J. Trump]. (Published [no date]. Downloaded on 2019-12-14.) Available on the web: https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-stat/graphics/politics/trump-archive/docs/trump-deferment-history-from-selective-service.pdf
  7. Valania, Jonathan. Fact-Checking All of the Mysteries Surrounding Donald Trump and Penn. (Published 14 Sept. 2019. Downloaded on 2019-12-13.) Available on the web: https://www.phillymag.com/news/2019/09/14/donald-trump-at-wharton-university-of-pennsylvania/
  8. The Smoking Gun. Deferments Helped Trump Dodge Vietnam. (Published 18 July 2015. Downloaded on 2019-12-03.) Available on the web: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/celebrity/deferments-helped-trump-dodge-vietnam
  9. Selective Service System. Classifications. (Published 4 September 2015. Downloaded on 2019-12-03.) Available on the web: https://www.sss.gov/Classifications
        

    Comment: Obtained from The Smoking Gun reference.


George Washington · John Adams · Thomas Jefferson · James Madison · James Monroe · John Q. Adams · Andrew Jackson · Martin van Buren · William Harrison · John Tyler · James Polk · Zachary Taylor · Millard Fillmore · Franklin Pierce · James Buchanan · Abraham Lincoln · Andrew Johnson · Ulysses Grant · Rutherford Hayes · James Garfield · Chester Arthur · Grover Cleveland · Benjamin Harrison · William McKinley · Theodore Roosevelt · William Taft · Woodrow Wilson · Warren Harding · Calvin Coolidge · Herbert Hoover · Franklin Roosevelt · Harry Truman · Dwight Eisenhower · John Kennedy · Lyndon Johnson · Richard Nixon · Gerald Ford · James Carter · Ronald Reagan · George Bush · William Clinton · George W. Bush · Barack Obama · Donald Trump