I remember the night the 1969 draft lottery results were broadcast. Several of my friends gathered at a friend’s dorm room at Duke University to listen to the results (we were all juniors). If my memory is correct, I did not hear my number until the list was repeated. While my friends all got high numbers, I got a borderline low number, high enough to offer some chance that I would not be called.
As things worked out, I was called for my pre-induction physical in the summer of 1970 at the Boston Naval Base. I rode a bus in from my home town of Beverly, MA, with some other "pre-inductees," all collected outside the local draft board office. I do not remember any socializing and I may have been the only college kid in the bunch.
I recall the process as being fairly straight-forward. A few things stand out. We were told prior to the intelligence test not to dog it – if we were high school graduates or college students, all that would happen if we flunked the intelligence test is that we would have to take it again. I did not dog it.
The odd thing that happened to me was the height and weight portion of the physical, administered by a Navy corpsman who was obviously bored to tears. I was, and still am, a hefty guy, less so in college. The corpsman weighed me, then measured my height. I stood up straight and true and he wrote down the number. Moving to the next station, I noted that he had measured me as 5 foot 8, when I had been 5 foot 10 1/2 since high school. I thought it odd, but was scarcely going to make an issue of it. The process was soon over, and I went back to Beverly on the bus.
Some time passed, and I got my classification: 1-H. If the Russians landed on Cape Cod, I would be called up. According to the information I received, based on my height and weight I was a little too heavy. My height, that is, as the corpsman measured it, not as it actually was. If the corpsman had measured me correctly, I would have been called up, with unknown consequences. To this day, I have no idea why the corpsman put down the wrong height for me.
My brother served in Vietnam as a lieutenant in PsyOps. While he was in little danger, I do not think he enjoyed the experience. I am glad that I did not have to join him.