I was enrolled in ROTC at Kentucky, getting ready to sign up for the advanced program with a 6 year active duty commitment. I sure could use the $50 a month it would pay me during my junior and senior years! I figured I was going into the military as soon as I graduated, so going as an officer seemed like a good idea. The horror of that war hadn’t really sunk in yet for me.
I was watching the news at 11 pm with my girlfriend when they showed the first date picked and started panning the camera over the whole board. By the time they got to No. 200, I was feeling pretty good. Then the camera stopped and went back to the news anchor. As the newscast closed, they went back to the board and showed the last number drawn, June 8, my birthday.
I walked into the ROTC building the next day and dropped out of advanced ROTC. Then I went to the draft board and asked to be classified 1-A. I knew that they would never get to me and after 6 months as 1-A, I was free and clear.
In the first lottery, letters of the alphabet were also drawn to break any ties that may have developed. They drew for last names and then again for first names in case 2 men were still tied. My last name begins with "V", which was the 26th letter drawn. My first name with an "R", the 24th letter drawn.
I often joke that I used up all my luck that night winning the lottery which may have been the difference between life and death for me. If the draft board got all the way down the list to me, the guy behind me in line would have to be Nixon!