Fending Off The Draft Board

"Mom wanted me to get enough credits to graduate in 1943," he says, "and she wanted me to get a farming deferment. I could have done that, but I said, 'No, I'm going!'"

Published on: Mar 12, 2012

How Harold Crawford's high school superintendent kept the local draft board at bay is a fond memory from Crawford's school years. "Mom wanted me to get enough credits to graduate in 1943," he says, "and she wanted me to get a farming deferment. I could have done that, but I said, 'No, I'm going!'"

The local draft board was bent on drafting him. The superintendent intervened. "The board wanted to draft me while I was still in high school. But the superintendent appealed to the draft board to keep me in high school and graduate," says Crawford. "He went to bat for us because the draft board was trying to draft everyone. They didn't care if you were 17 or 18."

When Crawford raised enough credits to graduate from high school, he received his draft notice. Always wanting to be in the Navy, he quickly enlisted.

When Crawford went for his enlistment physical, he failed due to a urinary tract problem. When he went back a few days later for another exam someone suggested he drink some beer before he took the exam. "I said, 'Nope, I'm not doing that,' " he recalls. "When I went for my second physical, my problem had cleared up, and I was accepted."

He adds, "I remember leaving the next morning on the troop train. That was tough. It was especially sad for my mother. Dad was sad, but he didn't show it. My youngest sister was really supportive.”