Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Edward Gibson Lanpher
LANPHER: I had a draft board in Alexandria, Virginia, that very much wanted to put me in uniform. They didn't think the Foreign Service was such a good idea. They were going to draft me that spring of 1966. They went so far as to send me down to Providence Navy Yard for a physical at 6:00AM, standing in line with a couple of hundred other naked fellows. They determined that I had flat feet. They didn't want anybody with flat feet in the U.S. Army. So, they made me 4F and I joined the State Department. I still have my 4F card. But they were very much interested in drafting people at that time.
Q: You came in in '66 then. What was the composition of your basiofficers course? What was it like?
LANPHER: First of all, at that time, June '66, the government worked on a July 1st fiscal year. I guess the State Department had some extra year end money that they could obligate. So they took the biggest class in the history of the State Department, the June '66 class. There were about 90 people in it. That included the USIA contingent. It was such a big class that they had to break it up into two sections. This was when the Foreign Service Institute was in the basement of Arlington Towers in Rosslyn in a garage. It was an interesting sort of place to... We went through eight weeks of basic orientation. That was good and informative. I had interesting classmates.
Q: Who were some of your classmates?
LANPHER: People like Arnie Raphel, who was later killed in a plane crash with the president of Pakistan. In the class, a kid from South Dakota named Steve Haukness, was killed in Vietnam. There were just a whole bunch of good folks.
Q: While you were there, did you have any feeling of what type owork you wanted to do and where you wanted to work?
LANPHER: In those days, they took you in as a Foreign Service officer un-coned. But my natural inclination and preference was to work on the political side. I thought my background fitted with that better than the consular side. That was my expectation. In those days, officers were generally sent out on what they called first tour rotational tours. That was fine with me. Very interesting.