The Selective Service System is honored to present the memoirs of three soldiers who were drafted or volunteered and served America during the Vietnam War with great courage and honor. Here is Bill Shkurti’s story:
Bill Shkurti, an Akron, Ohio native, graduated from Ohio State University in the fall of 1968 with a degree in Distinction in Economics. In 1969, at the height of the Vietnam War, and before he was drafted, Mr. Shkurti chose to enlist in the U.S. Army as his military career path of choice. He went to serve his country as an Army artillery officer in Germany, Vietnam, and back home in the U.S.
Reflecting on his experience, Mr. Shkurti appreciates the lessons learned throughout his time in the military, “I did not expect that [enlisting in the Army] would be a rewarding experience, but it turned out that I was assigned to a very good unit. We really looked out for each other, and as I look back on it, it had a lot to do with helping me grow up and mature, become more self-confident, and a better leader. Although I gave up three years of my life to the Army while my friends went on to do other things, I think those three years were extremely beneficial. Serving in the Army taught me how to cope with difficult situations, how to be a good leader, and how to be a good person.”
Mr. Shkurti returned to Ohio State University in 1972 and was awarded a master’s degree in Public Administration in 1974. He was awarded the prestigious John Glenn College Excellence in Public Service Award in 2005 for his public leadership, commitment to citizenship and community service. His teaching and research interests include public budgeting and financial management. He has authored books on the history and challenges of the Vietnam War O.
As part of this interview on his military service, Mr. Shkurti shared his thoughts on the importance of the Selective Service System.
“Registering with the Selective Service System is the law of the land. I think the all-volunteer force was a good idea, but you never know what might happen in the future, and having that pool of people available, if they’re needed, is critical to our Nation’s security. It’s important for people to comply with the law, whether they agree with our Nation’s foreign policy or not.”
Mr. Shkurti retired from the private sector in 2010, after 20 years as Ohio State University’s Vice President for Business and Finance. For years, he has served with distinction on non-profit boards, including the Ohio Student Loan Commission, Upper Arlington Library, Shawnee State University, and The Ohio State University, James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.
If you enjoyed Bill Shkurti’s story, click the link below to discover all three memoirs in this series.