While it is an attention grabber, 1972 was the tail end of Vietnam so yeah, some people were on ships in combat as we didn't pull out officially until 1973.
The last of the draft was early 1973 altho numbers were pulled for those born in 1954, 1955, and 1956...those numbers were never used.
As far as the mop handle...the attackers did not want to be seen as gay by doing it themselves...hence the mop handle.
You have a good point about the era involved, too. Today's military is a voluntary force, far more professional about it's policies and practices than perhaps it was in the Vietnam Era. Also, in that day, frequently young male criminals were given an option by the courts-the military or jail.
One of my second cousins served honorably in Vietnam, received a silver star. He was a sex offender, before and after his service, although I'm not sure if he was ever charged or convicted at any time in his life. I think a guy like him would be weeded out through the recruitment process, these days.
I don't think the assault on him was really sexual at all. The scenario I see was that three shipmates suspected (or discovered) that he was gay, and wanted to give him a message, "No fags allowed." He possibly had solicited at least one of the attackers previously.
Just my 2¢.......
I bet the guy is gay and liked it. He is just upset that it wasn't sexual ...
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