Author Topic: Draft Status should not have been a "real" concern  (Read 3586 times)


  • Arwin
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Draft Status should not have been a "real" concern
« on: July 10, 2017, 01:37:13 PM »
I have always been a big fan of Jan & Dean.  I love their music and have been fascinated by their personal stories.  In almost every account of the Berry accident, including Jan's recorded interviews, he was upset about being drafted which helped lead to his bad state of mind perhaps leading to his dangerous driving and the crash.  The more I think on this the less it makes any sense.  I'm a retired army officer with 26 years of service, mostly in the medical corps so I have been around a bit.  Jan had suffered a very serious compound fracture of his leg while filming a movie.  Although I don't have the medical reports, it is my understanding he had some metal screws inserted during several surgeries.  Doctors actually considered amputation, but were able to save the appendage. Jan was in a leg-length cast for months, and didn't fully recover until early 1966.  There is just no reason to believe any branch of the military would take him in April 1966, he would have been reclassified and turned down flat for medical reasons.  Further, Jan was in Medical school and very intelligent, he would have known this.  Why the cover story?  Maybe the weak leg contributed to the crash, either way it is a very strange excuse which bears little merit.


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  • Doré
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Re: Draft Status should not have been a "real" concern
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2017, 04:08:50 PM »
Jan was never drafted. It's a false narrative perpetuated by the fictionalized film Deadman's Curve in 1978.

Jan had no recollection of the accident, and his post accident interviews on the subject were simply an attempt to regurgitate what others had told him about it . . . which was usually incorrect.

The issue was his school deferment. He had to temporarily withdraw from medical school in good standing because of his leg injury from the train accident. He was set to re-enroll in the California College of Medicine to continue his sophomore year in September 1966. He had even enrolled in a couple of classes at UCLA, in an effort to save his deferment while waiting to reenter medical school, but it did no good. That brief lapse in medical school enrollment was enough for the Selective Service system to reclassify him as eligible for military service. He was reclassified in mid-March and ordered to report for an Armed Services Physical Examination. At that point Jan requested a personal appearance before the board.

He missed the scheduled examination due to being on tour with Jan & Dean, and was declared delinquent. But the board acknowledged his request for a personal appearance and scheduled it for April 12. He argued his case with help from faculty at CCM, but the result of his meeting with the draft board on April 12 was that he remained eligible for military service.

It is certainly a fact that Jan would not have passed the physical examination due to his recently damaged leg.

A month after his April 12 car accident, he was reclassified a second time in mid-May, with a caveat stating he was qualified for military service only in time of war or national emergency (a Selective Service classification that was abolished a few years later).

The school deferment and draft board hassle was an issue in Jan's busy life that spring. But there is no evidence that it contributed to his automobile accident.

« Last Edit: March 03, 2018, 04:22:27 AM by Admin »