December 1, 1969 was the opening game of the basketball season: Duke v. Va Tech, at the Greensboro Coliseum. Duke won, 66-63, as 4,611 of us nervously watched. The Duke team was all "white", as you may expect back then, with a 17-9 record for the season; OK, but lacking by today’s Coach "K" standards. We were nervous a little about the game, but mostly nervous because we were also listening on the radio with great anticipation to the lottery drawing. I remember hearing my number, with a thud.
The lottery was, obviously, life changing for many of us. Vietnam was extremely unpopular, especially to those of us who may have been the last ones killed or injured or POW, when clearly the U.S. was looking for a "political" escape. Risk your life for that? A tough situation for us young guys. 70,000 went to Canada. Given a higher lottery number, I would certainly NOT have gone into the military. But as No. 92, I was either going in the military, or the Peace Corps (I had options of going to Africa, that looked interesting), or to Canada. I decided to make the best of it, to be like my dad and learn to fly airplanes with the best trainers in the world, the U.S. Air Force. It was a great decision, and made me grow up in a hurry, and I’m very thankful it happened. The military training and experience is a different kind of fraternity from the one at Duke, but a very strong one nevertheless. I went to California and Florida and Texas for training, then was stationed in Korea and Japan–never got to Vietnam. And I still fly and own airplanes. Thanks to the U.S. Air Force, and the lottery.