Washington, Sept.8 : Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has said that there was a time when he wanted to join the United States military, but decided not to because the Vietnam war was over and "we weren't engaged in an active military conflict at that point".
This is the first time during the 19-month-long presidential campaign that Obama has revealed his desire to serve in uniform. The aspiration was not mentioned in either of his two volumes of memoirs, reports The Telegraph.
Asked by George Stephanopoulos of ABC's "This Week" programme whether he'd ever thought about military service and replied: "You know, I actually did. I had to sign up for Selective Service [a means of conscription in case of war] when I graduated from high school."
"And I was growing up in Hawaii. And I have friends whose parents were in the military. There are a lot of Army, military bases there. And I actually always thought of the military as an ennobling and, you know, honourable option. But keep in mind that I graduated in 1979. The Vietnam War had come to an end. We weren't engaged in an active military conflict at that point. And so, it's not an option that I ever decided to pursue," he added.
All male American citizens are legally required to register for Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday.
The paper also reveals that for the first time in modern history, three of the four candidates on the two presidential tickets would have a son that had served or would serve in a war zone.
Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin's eldest son Track, 19, is due to leave for Iraq on Thursday, exactly a year after he joined the US Army as an infantryman.
Republican presidential nominee John McCain's youngest son Jimmy, also 19, is a lance-corporal in the US marine corps who served in Ramadi, deep in Iraq's Sunni triangle, last year. His other son Jack, 21, is currently training to be an officer at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis.
Beau Biden, 39, elder son of Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joe Biden, is scheduled to go to Iraq early next year.
Beau Biden is attorney general of Delaware and a captain in the legal corps of the US Army's National Guard. He is in line to inherit his father's Senate seat should Obama win the White House.