The night of the lottery I was working at the office of The Red and Black, UGA’s student newspaper. The first wire report read September 4 as the first number drawn; after I had breathed a sigh of relief, a correction came through: September 14. My life was changed forever.
I graduated in June of 1970 and was immediately reclassified I-A. My local draft board resigned soon after, in protest that the quota system was requiring them to draft higher numbers than more populated areas. I actually remained undrafted through December. Now that would have made a story–number 1 in the first draft lottery but not drafted. Alas, President Nixon extended the original lottery group’s eligiblity for three more months, I imagine to help address such problems of meshing new procedures at the local level, as my draft board had faced.
My draft board regrouped at the start of 1971 and I was inducted on January 27. I was lucky, though, after all–I went to Fort Jackson, SC, for basic training and advanced clerk training and remained there, assigned to the information office (my degree in journalism was an advantage), for my remaining active duty time.