In reality, the Pentagon’s key concern was not on how to help disadvantaged youth prepare for life. It just wanted warm bodies. Project 100,000 simply lowered or abandoned minimal military recruitment standards, to sign up those previously rejected by the draft as mentally or physically unfit. Recruiters swept through Southern backwaters and urban ghettoes, and signed up anybody with a pulse, including at least one recruit with an IQ of 62. In all, 354,000 were recruited. It goes without saying that the Project 100,000 recruits were not given any special skills or training.
Once they signed on the dotted line, “the Moron Corps” or “McNamara’s Morons”, as other soldiers derisively called them, were rushed through training. They were then bundled off to Vietnam in disproportionate numbers. Once there, they were sent into combat en masse. In combat, the mental and physical limitations that had caused them to be rejected by the draft ensured that they were wounded and killed in disproportionate numbers. The toll fell particularly heavily on black youths: 41 percent of Project 100,000’s recruits were black, compared to 12 percent in the US military as a whole.