Billie Micco was drafted in 1968 and served for two years in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.
Micco was going to college in Oklahoma when he received the draft letter. He was soon sent to Fort Gordon in Georgia to complete basic training and then it was on to infantry training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina.
“It was hard at first,” Micco said. “Basic [training] is kind of rough. I wasn’t used to getting up at 4 a.m. It taught me discipline and responsibility. It’s too bad for our youngsters that they did away with the draft.”
The draft ended in 1973.
After infantry training, Micco was sent to Fort Sherman in Panama for 18 months where he stayed with his Bravo Company until 1970. He then left Panama for home after serving his two-year term.
“I remember it as a poor country; it’s where (Jungle Warfare School) was, to simulate Vietnam. I was used to the heat and rain though,” Micco said. “They kept saying: ‘Get ready we’re going to Vietnam.’”
Micco said he came close, but would never be sent to the Southeast Asia country.
While he remembers the overall military experience as being sometimes stressful, Micco said he thinks it’s a good option for some of today’s young people who lack direction.
There are others in his family that have served in the military, like his cousin Mitchell who was also drafted.
Micco, 77, is a member of the Otter Clan and has lived on the Brighton Reservation for most of his life.
His two sisters live on the reservation, while his parents and a brother have since passed away.
He remembers growing up with the “old-timer cowboys” in his early years and helping with farming and other jobs.
Micco would go on to work for the Tribe in its public works department – specifically in water treatment – for 13 years.
After that he became a transporter for the health clinic, taking patients to and from appointments.
He retired in 2013 after working for the Tribe for 38 years.
Micco has been married to Mary Jo Micco since 1973 and they have three adult boys – Michael, George and Joey – who all have families of their own.
You might wonder how many grandkids he has.
“Fifteen,” Micco said. “Or maybe more,” he said with a chuckle.
Some of the grandkids play softball now and he goes to their games when he can.
Micco spends time at Brighton’s senior center and attends a lot of the events at the Veterans Building, too.