I remember the lottery night well. I was in Waycross, Georgia on a University of Georgia Forestry School field trip. It was supposed to be a fun lottery party, watching the show with our group of mostly seniors. I was nominated with a friend to pick up the supper and beer. It took a little longer than expected to pick everything up, and when we returned to the Holiday Inn, my party was already over. No. 65 was the first one drawn in our group of 20.
I did what many did then–found a way (and a few "strings") to get on the National Guard wait list, and I joined them right after I received my Greetings letter from Uncle Sam. I went on to spend 10 years in the National Guard as an Artillery Officer and really enjoyed the whole process–basic training, advanced individual training, officer school and unit officer. I eventually resigned my commission after 10 years but only because of a demanding civilian job and a growing family that required my time on weekends. My low lottery number gave me 10 years of experiences for which I am truly grateful and will always remember.