I recall sitting around with my fraternity brothers listening to the balls being drawn in December 1969. It seems like a distant memory. My number came up quite early although it was not the first one drawn within my peer group.
It was a strange time for me. I had always been fascinated by the military. My father was a merchant seaman during the Second World War and I envisioned spending time in the military at some point. I was enrolled in Air Force ROTC during my freshman and sophomore years — but elected not to proceed into the advanced program due to the 4 year active duty commitment required of graduates. Later, I applied for a commission in the Navy — but got no response until a few months after graduation — and just after having gotten married. I declined the commission and my draft status went from student deferment II-S to I-A almost overnight.
I ended up volunteering for the service, hoping to join on my terms rather than the Army’s (right!!!). After basic and advanced training, I spent 18 months in Panama then returned home where I joined the reserves as a Specialist 4th Class. In 2005, I retired from the Army Reserve with 27 "good years" as a Chief Warrant Officer with multiple reserve postings to Japan and Bosnia. To this day, I wonder how my life might have differed had I completed my ROTC studies or accepted the Naval commission. But I have no regrets.