I believe it was my third year at UW. I was in the school of music, having changed majors from Engineering to Music Education. I had a student deferment draft classification of 2-S.
The night of the lottery, I was practicing trombone in one of the practice rooms in the Humanities Building. I was aware that the lottery was scheduled for that night and would be broadcast, so I had made arrangements to borrow someone’s transistor radio.
When the broadcast time arrived, I stopped practicing and turned on the radio. The reception was not perfect, but it was good enough. I don’t remember now how the drawing was conducted – whether a number and a date were chosen, or whether dates were simply chosen in order. I think it was the latter because of what happened.
I sat down to listen, prepared to spend an extended period of time. I heard the first date drawn. Was it a date in October? After I heard the second date I turned off the radio and went back to practicing trombone. Lottery number 2, April 24, was my birthday. I didn’t need to listen any more after that.
I continued with my student deferment; it took 5 years and 140 credits to finish because I had changed majors.
The spring of my last year, 1971, I received a notice to report to Milwaukee for a pre-induction physical exam, which I passed even though I thought my flat feet and color-blindness might be enough to disqualify me.
By this time I was engaged to be married in September. I don’t remember whether I actually received an induction notice or not. I believe it was merely the inevitibility of a notice that motivated me to contact the 132nd National Guard Band, which was stationed in Madison. All the trombone slots were filled, but there was an opening for a french horn player. Although french horn was not my primary instrument, I could play it well enough to satisfy the band commander, and I enlisted.
I was scheduled to begin basic training in late October of that year. But as a member of the band, I was required to attend drills (rehearsals) and performances. The first performance was at Camp Williams, a few miles east of Tomah. But not having a uniform yet, I couldn’t play with the band. Instead I spent the afternoon washing dishes in the mess hall.
I was married on September 11, moved into an apartment along University Ave. between Madison and Middleton so my wife could finish her undergraduate degree. With only 6 weeks before the beginning of basic training, I had no chance to look for a teaching job, so I spent the time working at McDonalds near campus.
The most memorable thing about basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO was due to my own naivete. I enjoyed drinking milk with meals. For unexplained reasons, the rule in the mess hall was that one could have one glass of soft drink or tea and one glass of milk, but not two glasses of either. Not knowing what to do about it, I wrote a brief petition and went around my barracks getting signatures. With some 50 signatures, I sent a letter to then Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire. Two weeks later I was ordered to attend a meeting with some local senior officers who showed me a communication from Proxmire to very senior Army officers asking for an explanation. They apologized profusely for the policy, assured me that it had been changed, and asked that, in the future, I use the normal chain of command if I had any such concerns.
I spent two more years in the Madison area, completing an MS in Computer Science and then accepted a position with IBM in Rochester, MN. When I moved I transferred to an Army Reserve band at Minneapolis, MN, where I remained for a total of 12 years. I eventually left because of family, job, and the long commute. I still have many warm friendships among the members of that band.