Interview with Steven Dunkley

What was different about the day that Ali was going to come?


Well, the day that Ali came was, ah, supposed to be the same but it turned out to be quite different. It started, ah, ah, earlier in the morning. We usually arrive at 8:00 but we had to be in the building by 6:00 that day. Colonel McKee asked that we all be in that day. There were several factions that were, ah, demonstrating outside the building. There were, ah, the draft card burners, the people, those people, there were the Black Muslims and there were, ma and pa Kettle type people whose sons were already in Vietnam. They wanted to have their say. So you had three factions in front of the building doing what they were, putting forth their beliefs of what they wanted. Then, ah, the inductees arrived and, ah, things were different in that we had, ah, since Muhammad Ali had come, was coming that day, we had to set up a press center because the press had descended on the building. Of course it was an exciting event and, ah, the Department of the Army was watching and also the, ah, you know, the news media and magazines and everybody really wanted to know what was going to happen that day. So they were all put in a press room. And, ah, Muhammad Ali had, ah, gone through his pre-induction physical in Memphis and then had transferred to Houston. So he had been totally qualified for induction. He had passed the physical, the, ah, testing, the mental testing and also the psychological testing. He had passed all of those areas. So, it was basically, he was arriving to go in the service that day. So, he, he arrived. He was very pleasant. Everybody enjoyed working with him. He did exactly as he was asked to do with the group and, ah, first thing he went was to the testing and, and we just reviewed his test scores to make sure that nothing had changed there. Then he went to the, ah, facility where they do the physicals. And basically all they do is just ask him if there's been any change in their physical status from the time that they had their full physical. And of course there was no change there. So, and then they take him to another section which psychological testing that's, if he had joined, like, the communist party or something like that since he had been. Well, he passed all that with flying colors. So then the last part was the induction ceremony. The induction ceremony was held as usual, ah, it was monitored the whole the day. There was a direct hot line to the Pentagon USAREC which, ah, every time he would pass a different step, then, we would, ah, you know, tell the Pentagon where he was in, in the process. Ah, we also, ah, told the, the press in the press room that OK, he had passed the physical part. He had passed this part, etcetera. So, ah, he was put in a room with all the other inductees. The, the, and I was the Induction Officer and that I, ah, call their name and ask them to step forward. That step that they take forward constitutes the induction into the U.S. Army.


That was good. I'm going to break you down now so you can give us little sections.