In the spring of 1970 (April I think), four friends and myself gathered in an off-campus apartment to listen to the lottery drawing on the radio. On that fateful day, while I was a junior in the College of Engineering at the University of Florida, my friends and I waited to hear the order of the drawing of our birthdates. Out of the five people gathered in our off-campus apartment, three of us got low lottery numbers. I received number 88. In the year 1970, I believe they announced that they would probably call people up to lottery number 140 in the 1971 draft. Due to my low lottery number, I was virtually assured to be drafted! The three of us who got low lottery numbers got drunk that night while my other two friends celebrated their good fortune.
In the spring of 1971 while I was a senior in the College of Engineering I received my Induction Orders to report for enlistment in the US Army! After my roommates revived me I decided to go to my local draft board and plead my case. At that time I had just one more quarter to go before I would graduate with a degree in Electrical Engineering. My hometown at that time was Cocoa, Florida. A few days after I received my induction orders, I traveled back home to my draft board office in Cocoa. To my surprise I was able to talk to the head of the local draft board and plead my case. At that time in history, there were many people dodging the draft and I thought that no one would listen to me at all. The head of the local board, who happened to be an elderly woman, heard my story–that I needed just a few more months to graduate, and then I would be free to join the military. She agreed to rescind my induction orders and allow me to complete my degree. However, she also said that they would probably call me in the next draft call up, which would probably be in June or July of 1971.
To make a long story short I went back to the University of Florida and graduated on time in June of 1971. However, shortly before I graduated, I enlisted in the US Air Force. I didn’t want to wait and risk being drafted after I graduated. My friends suggested that I could take off for Canada after graduation! My two older brothers had served in the military before me and I knew that they would never forgive me if I did something as crazy as that. I didn’t want to go into the Army at that time, but I didn’t want to run out on my duty either. So one week after I graduated from college, I was on a bus headed to Jacksonville, Florida to be processed into the US Air Force. After a difficult transition from college to Air Force Basic Training, I finally settled into an uneventful four years of military service. It turned out to be a rewarding experience for me after I got over the disappointment of having to go into the military. I met a lot of good people in the Air Force and enjoyed the experiences and friends that I made while in the service. Ironically, after avoiding being drafted into the Army, I was sent to an Air Force Detachment at an Army Air Field at Fort Rucker, Alabama! The Army people really loved us Air Force guys on their post.
Of the three friends who got low lottery numbers in the spring of 1970, I was the only one who ended up going into the military. The other two guys, who had lower lottery numbers than I did, got out of having to go. One guy failed the physical because he had flat feet and the other guy got out because he had braces on his teeth at that time. I still think he got the braces to avoid having to go in to the military!
That is my story of what I did during the Vietnam War. I never got married and didn’t produce any children, so I didn’t get to tell my children this story.