Edit: Answered everything but the German wife aspect of things, still really need help there and am grateful for any help I can receive, thanks!
You may remember me from a few years back while I was starting work on a few MCs, one of whom has a German mother. Well, now I'm working on how this MC's mother and father met/married in more specifics, and I was thinking aforementioned MC's father was in the air force when they met. While trying to think of how to construct his background, I ran into some potentially useful information for people facing some of these questions in the current day, but I'm not sure how valid they would be when I'm applying it to the 1970s-80s, and I need some help constructing a believable background for this scenario. Please excuse any ignorance you may find here since I'm not too good with military specifics and have no one I can ask in regards to some of these.
Background: My MC's father would have been born in late-1954-early-1955 (any time between November 1954-Feb. 1955, haven't pinned down an exact date yet). IIRC, the Vietnam draft would have been cut off for people born in 1953, but folks born in 1954 may have been assigned a draft number even if the lotteries for them weren't held. I just wanted to be sure that was true, and if my MC enlisted voluntarily in the AF when he turned 18 in '73-74, would he have realistically seen any of the fighting in Vietnam? My thoughts were that he would have gone to the AF to fund his education to become a mechanic, but I'm not sure how plausible that would be if there was a war going on at the time and what, if any, alternatives were available.
Assuming he didn't see fighting in Vietnam, I had a few more questions:
1. If the AF pays for/provides (not sure what wording to use there, corrections welcome) someone's education, their website says that person must serve (I believe active duty) for four years after they graduate, and then if they want to, reenlist. I could be misunderstanding that, though. So, if it would work that way (if not, please feel free to correct me), it would be around 1981 when he would decide whether to reenlist or not. I also recall there were periods of time one could choose to reenlist for, such as 4 or 6 years, although I'm not sure if things were different then? He would have likely met his wife around '84 and married in '85. His son would have been born later in '85.
2. If his wife wanted to become an American citizen, I'm not sure how it would have differed in the mid-80s from today with having a military spouse, what paperwork would have been involved, and if she stayed with him while he traveled from place to place if that counted towards the time she would need in order to apply for a green card and later citizenship. Could they have married on-base with the proper clearance, and if so, how would he have gotten it? I think I saw something saying that these days someone doesn't need permission from their CO, but they did before until fairly recently.
If they couldn't marry on-base and married in (what would have at the time been West) Germany instead, what would be required and how long would it take before she could join him if he had to leave the country after the marriage at some point (I know these things can vary by situation, but ballpark estimates)? My plan was to have her travel with him to different bases until he separated because she'd want a more stable life for them and any future kids.
3. When a person's enlistment period is up and they choose not to reenlist, how might that affect them/their occupation possibilities in that time period? My reading seemed to say a lot of it was monetary, but was there anything else that would have been important?
4. Assuming that MC's father was able to voluntarily and honorably separate when his enlistment period was up, what could he do for a job? My reading said something about someone considering separating but looking to be an AF mechanic in the reserves because it was easier than finding a civilian job. However, the post I read was made at a much later time than the time period I'm looking at and I think if he could manage to do so, MC's father would go the civilian route if possible.
Search terms used: Marrying German spouse USAF 1980s, procedure for marrying foreign spouse USAF, Vietnam draft lottery, cut-off age for Vietnam draft, Vietnam deployment for someone in AF circa 1973.
Thanks for any help and leads anyone can provide!