Larry David was right in the age group of young men being drafted to the United States military during the Vietnam War and definitely qualified to be drafted.
Larry David was in the military. He had a brief stint in the Army Reserves towards the end of the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War started when David was only seven years old, but by the time he had graduated from the University of Maryland, there was a draft. He joined the Army Reserve to avoid being sent to Vietnam.
Scroll down to read more about Larry David’s time in the reserves, how he got out of military service, and his thoughts on being in the Army Reserve.
Larry David: Army Reserve
On November 1, 1955, the Vietnam War broke out and ended up spanning two whole decades. The United States Military was engaged in the war mainly from 1960 through to their withdrawal in 1973.
The war was considered a proxy war of the Cold War where pro-communist countries of China and Russia were backing the Northern Vietnamese Viet Cong, while anti-communist countries like the United States, South Korea, and Australia supported the Southern Vietnamese.
Vietnam was a bloody and brutal war that was fought with guerilla warfare, meaning that basically no rules of war were followed. The Viet Cong fought mercilessly and the southern side and their supporters paid in blood.
There was a peacetime military draft that required young men to enroll in the US Army where they would then probably end up being shipped off to Vietnam. Many young American men didn’t agree with the draft though.
A lot of them went back to school so that they could defer their draft, some fled to Canada, others intentionally failed their aptitude tests, and others tried to get into the National Guard or the Reserves.
Having graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts in History in 1969, Larry David could no longer avoid the draft. It was either enlist or head to Canada.
Larry David did enlist, but he managed to get into the Army Reserves instead of the military. He still had to do basic training, however, it meant that he got out of Vietnam.
Watch the below clip from Curb Your Enthusiasm where Larry David meets a war veteran. (Warning: language)
Getting Out of Military Service
Although he did enlist, Larry David immediately regretted it. He was put through basic training and he has said that he’s not exactly the most athletic guy which made the ordeal worse.
On top of that, he disliked waking up at five am every morning and being yelled at by a drill Sargeant. The whole ordeal was enough to make a man go mad, well that’s how Larry David saw it at least.
That thought was probably how he hatched his plan to leave the reserves once and for all. After two years in the reserves, Larry David had had enough.
He went to the psychiatrist and put on a charade that was convincing enough to have them declare him mentally unfit to continue any sort of military duty. He was discharged and his whole stint as a reservist came to an end.
Larry David’s Opinion of the Draft
In 2004, he wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times that he titled ‘My War.’ In the piece, he satirically criticized former president, George W. Bush, for standing up for those who had served in the National Guard.
In case you weren’t aware, George W. Bush served in the National Guard as a pilot and never went to Vietnam.
Larry David goes into detail about his time spent in the Army Reserves in true Larry David fashion. He unabashedly makes fun of himself and all the other people who suffered through their service.
He complained about having to meet once a month for an entire weekend in a cold airplane hanger that sometimes dropped to 40 degrees. David said that he had to wear his long underwear to survive.
He joked that they had to go camping for two weeks in the summer, sleep on cots, and eat at IHOP. Saying “When the two weeks were up, I came home a changed man. I would often burst into tears for no apparent reason and suffered recurring nightmares about drowning in blueberry syrup.”
So from this entire sarcastic piece, it’s clear that Larry David doesn’t think much of the time he spent in the Army Reserves, but probably has a lot more respect for those who served in Vietnam.