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Eugene Holmes, 88; Felt Clinton Duped Him Over ROTC

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Eugene J. Holmes, 88, a retired Army colonel who accused Bill Clinton of deceiving him to dodge the Vietnam War draft, died Saturday at his home in Fayetteville, Ark.

Holmes was director of the University of Arkansas Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program in 1969 when Clinton -- then a Rhodes scholar attending Oxford University in England -- applied to the program to satisfy draft deferments. He never actually enrolled in the program.

In 1992, when Clinton was governor of Arkansas and running for president, Holmes said he had initially believed Clinton was genuinely interested in becoming an officer, but had changed his view.

“I believe that he purposely deceived me, using the possibility of joining the ROTC as a ploy to work with the draft board to delay his induction and get a new draft classification,” Holmes said.

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Clinton said in his memoirs, “My Life,” that he signed a letter-of-intent to join ROTC, but was told he would have to wait a year to formally enroll. He said Holmes agreed to let him go back to Oxford in the interim.

Clinton said he later had a change of heart about deferments and decided to go back into the draft, but received a high draft lottery number and was never called to service.

Holmes, who was a prisoner of war in the Philippines for 3 1/2 years during World War II, served more than 30 years in the Army. He was awarded a Silver Star and Bronze Star in combat.


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