In March 1967, shortly before the expiration of his educational draft deferment upon graduation from law school, McConnell enlisted in the U. S. Army Reserve as a private at Louisville, Kentucky. This was a coveted position because the Reserve units were mostly kept out of combat during the Vietnam War. His first day of training at Fort Knox was July 9, 1967, two days after taking the bar exam, and his last day was August 15, 1967. Shortly after his arrival, he was diagnosed with optic neuritis and was deemed medically unfit for military service. After five weeks at Fort Knox, he was honorably discharged. His brief time in service has repeatedly been put at issue by his political opponents during his electoral campaigns. Although McConnell has allowed reporters to examine parts of his military record and take notes, he has refused to allow copies to be made or to disclose his entire record, despite calls by his opponents to do so. His time in service has also been the subject of criticism because his discharge was accelerated after his father placed a call to Senator John Sherman Cooper, who then sent a wire to the commanding general at Fort Knox on August 10, advising that "Mitchell [is] anxious to clear post in order to enroll in NYU". He was allowed to leave post just five days later, though McConnell maintains that no one helped him with his enlistment into or discharge from the reserves. According to McConnell, he struggled through the exercises at basic training and was sent to a doctor for a physical examination, which revealed McConnell's optic neuritis. McConnell did not attend NYU.