Grunts: The Last US Draft, 1972

Ed Eckstein

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This photojournalistic essay documents one of the last groups of civilians to be drafted into the United States Army in 1972. The journey beings at an induction center in Philadelphia, where recruits swear allegiance to the United States, and undergo physical and mental examinations. The focus then shifts to Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, for orientation, haircutting, and the acquisition of uniforms and supplies. The balance of the nine-week experience is basic training—where civilians become soldiers. We observe them practicing hand-to-hand combat and marksmanship, and we also see them calling home, writing letters and bonding with fellow soldiers. Shortly after these images were taken, the draft officially ended and the all-volunteer army began. All photographs are candid. Nothing was set up or posed for the camera, nor was there censorship by the army of any of the images taken for this project.

Size: 9" x 9" | 116 b/w photos | 128 pp
ISBN13: 9780764353024

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Ed Eckstein has been a self-employed documentary photographer since the mid-1960s. He has traveled on assignment throughout the United States and worked in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America on assignments for publications, non-profit organizations, human services agencies, graphic designers and corporations. His specialty is un-manipulated “non-fiction” imagery.