I was a junior in Aerospace Engineering and a Kappa Alpha at North Carolina State U. when the first lottery and lottery party was held. Frats never needed much of a reason to party but this one had a darker tone to it. I hit No. 249 and was considered very safe which came true. The bad news was that the aerospace industry died in 1969 and finding a job in that field in my graduation year of 1970 was nearly impossible.
My wife was already a public school teacher and I decided to interview for several openings in northeastern NC. One Principal asked what else I was considering and when I told him being a pilot in the USAF he said "you can always be a teacher but being a pilot has a limited time window".
I was told by the USAF recruiters that there were no fixed-wing slots available and they only offered a helicopter slot (the only helicopter in the USAF was an ugly bird called Pedro and had a do-nothing mission if memory serves) — I said no thanks.
When I got home I sent a note to Senator Sam Ervin and Congressman Walter Jones and asked them why a good ol’ boy from NC couldn’t pilot a real bird in the USAF? Two weeks later the USAF called and offered a fixed-wing slot to me. After the 90-day wonder school (OCS) to become a Lt., I went to Columbus, Miss for flight training, graduated high enough to be able to select a fighter, the F-4 Phantom, and went off to California for fighter training.
Upon graduation I had orders in 1972 to Udorn, Thailand and the triple nickle squadron, the 555th, which was a "Mig killing" mission. Less than one week before deployment I was told "no more Lts were going to "air to air" squads in Viet Nam so off I went to Seymour Johnson Air Force base in NC and joined a squadron that was rotating back from Nam. One year later it was our turn to go to Ubon,Thailand (a dirt beating base /bomb droppers, escorters of B-52’s etc. ) and on a Friday less than an hour before deployment they stopped the process until Monday since "something was in the air". Come Monday the Dept of the USAF decided to keep our sister squadron in Ubon since the "war was dying down". A month later I deployed to Kunsan, Korea and in 1974 the war in Nam ended . I never saw any action or enemy birds, a huge let down at the time.
I served 10 years all in the F-4, departed for the civilian life in 1980 and joined the DuPont Company for 27 years before retiring a in 2007.