Older Men

Active Service: The members of this cohort were asked in the 1967 and 1976 surveys whether they had ever served in the U.S. Armed Forces. If so, the dates of service were collected; these were specified by time periods in 1967 (e.g., World War II, Korean War, peacetime after January 1955) and by month and year in 1976.

Training: The original Older Men survey, conducted in 1966, asked the respondents about any vocational training programs they attended while in the Armed Forces. Follow-up questions determined whether the respondent completed the program, the type of training, the length of the program, and whether the respondent used this training at his current or last job.

Related Variables: The military was also included in Older Men surveys as a source of disability payments, pension or retirement income, and medical care payments. For more details about disability and pension income, see the Pensions, Social Security & Retirement section. Medical care payments the military made to the respondent or his wife, including payments for care at a long-term facility, are discussed in the Health section.

Survey Instruments & Documentation: These questions are found in the 1966 "Education and Training," 1967 "Family Background," and 1976 "Marital History and Other Background" questionnaire sections.


Young Men

Because of the younger age of this cohort and the Vietnam War, considerable data were collected about respondents' military service. Armed Forces questions were included in all Young Men surveys except the 1973 and 1975 telephone surveys.

Active Service: In the 1966, 1969, 1971, 1976, and 1981 surveys, respondents who had ever served in the Armed Forces reported the branch they served in. These surveys asked how respondents entered the Armed Forces (e.g., drafted, enlisted as a regular) and how many months they spent on active duty. Respondents were also asked for the military occupation they had held for the longest time and whether they were an officer or an enlisted man at that time. The final Young Men survey in 1981 asked whether respondents were ever in combat during their service, as well as the duration of that combat.

Separation from active duty was also a focus of the military questions. The 1966, 1969, and 1971 questionnaires collected the respondent's age at the time of separation. The respondent's rank and the date the separation occurred were recorded in 1969, 1971, 1976, and 1981.

For those who had never served in the U.S. Armed Forces, the 1966 survey questioned whether they had ever tried to enter active military service. If so, a follow-up question asked for the reason they were not accepted (e.g., failed physical exam, failed written test). Similarly, the 1967-71 surveys recorded the current draft classification of each age-eligible respondent and, if applicable, the reason for their 1-Y or 4-F rejection.

Training: Details about training received in the military (other than basic training) were gathered in the 1966, 1969, 1971, 1976, and 1981 surveys. Respondents attending such programs reported whether they completed the program (in 1966, 1969, and 1971 only); the length of the program; and whether they used this training on their current or last job. In addition, the general training questions of the 1976, 1978, 1980, and 1981 surveys included the Armed Forces as a possible provider of a training course.

Benefits/Disability/Income: The later Young Men surveys included questions concerning income received from disability or Veteran's benefits. The 1976 questionnaire asked whether the G.I. Bill was an important element in the respondent buying his first home; in 1978 and 1980, the G.I. Bill was included in a question about other income. More detailed military income questions were asked in 1976 and 1981. These included the type of G.I. or Veteran's benefits the respondent had ever used (e.g., housing, medical care, vocational training); if he had a disability or medical discharge; whether he had a disability rated as service-connected by the Veterans Administration; and the compensation rating for that disability. Additionally, the 1981 survey questioned whether the respondent or his wife/partner received income in the past 12 months from Veteran's compensation or pension as a result of a disability or illness.

Related Variables: Several questions about education and work decisions for this cohort included participation in the military in the list of possible responses. Education questions included why respondents ended their education at a particular point (1966), the reason for changing their college attendance plans (1968-71), why they were not currently attending college (1968-71), and why they decided to get more training (1968 and 1969). Various surveys included participation in the Armed Forces or waiting to be called into military service as reasons for not looking for work or for not working. The first Young Men survey in 1966 asked the respondents what they would do if they were to permanently lose their present job tomorrow; one possible response was "enter the Armed Forces." The military was also connected to a respondent's work history by a question in 1971, 1976, and 1981 that asked whether the respondent's period of military service helped or hurt his career and the reason why.

Survey Instruments & Documentation: Questions about the military in the Young Men's surveys can be found in the "Educational Status," "Current Labor Force Status," "Work Experience and Attitudes," "Family Background," and "Assets and Income" questionnaire sections.