I was living in a small trailer with two roommates who were also my classmates in the School of Pharmacy. The evening of the lottery my roommate Fred S. (from Dublin, now in Albany) had the only car – an early and very shabby Corvair. My other roommate was Donnie H., also from Dublin. I was from Cochran, Ga and we had met at Middle Georgia College.
We were racing home to listen to the lottery on the radio. As I remember, problems with Fred’s car made us miss about the first 20 to 30 dates. We were sitting in our small trailer nervously anticipating our luck of the draw. Donnie’s number came up first – around 120 – not too bad but not good – he felt pretty safe. As the drawing continued I got 220 – very good – I felt safe. Fred’s number had not been called and as the lottery wound down he was cheering – "Go – Go!" – and literally dancing around the room. Well, when the drawing hit 366 – and Fred’s number had not been called – he had stopped cheering and dancing and looked absolutely stunned. He found out from the paper the next morning that he drawn number 14! That was NOT a safe number.
At the time, Fred was not doing well in school and having drawn such a low number, he decided to drop out and go home and cut pulpwood and wait for his draft notice, which came pretty quickly. Donnie crossed his fingers and just went about his business. As the end of the year approached , I asked the secretary of my local draft board what my options might be. She advised me to drop my II-S deferment and go I-A for the month of December, because being eligible for 30 days (and not being called) was the same as being eligible for the entire year. On January 1, 1970, I became assigned to the secondary manpower pool, which added 366 to my number. I was absolutely safe from the draft.
I remained in Pharmacy School and met my future wife. Had I been drafted I am sure I never would have met her. Donnie finished a year after me and got married to a girl from his home town. Fred did not have to wait very long for his draft notice. He entered the army and was assigned as a pharmacy technician at Fort Jackson, South Carolina where he spent his entire army career. He returned to Pharmacy School, became a Dean’s list student and married a cheerleader. He became a very successful businessman and now owns almost 40 drugstores!
Despite our different fortunes with the lottery, we all ended up safe. I think Fred derived the most benefit. The army was good for him–he wasn’t in danger and he matured and changed the whole direction of his life. We were all young and like most reasonable people terribly conflicted about the war. Somebody was looking after us.