I was one of those caught up in the first draft lottery. I can remember sitting around with a group of friends in Madison, Wisconsin watching the lottery picks on TV. My number was 64 and I knew that I would get drafted.
The day after the lottery picks were announced there was a demonstration on campus and we wore name tags with our numbers on them. I also put the phrase, "I shall return" on mine.
I still had my deferment. My graduation date should have been in 1969, but I had slowed down the pace of my studies in the hopes of keeping my deferment. Sadly, that was not to be the case and I got my draft notice. I had finally my up my mind to enlist in the Air Force to avoid the draft and the chance of being sent to Viet Nam, but the day I was going to go to the recruitment office was the day of the shootings at Kent State. After hearing about the killings there I decided I could not enlist and that they would have to draft me. I was later inducted into the army on September 20, 1970.
I completed basic training and advanced individual training in artillery followed by an artillery sergeant training school. I flunked out of this after I decided I could no longer be a part of this killing machine, and immediately got orders for Viet Nam. I received a month long pass which I turned into a year as I went AWOL.
My older brother was a lawyer, a graduate of Marquette Law School, and he couldn’t stand the thought of my limbo status with the army. He got me to see Harry Peck, a lawyer who did draft and military cases. Peck found out that the army was trying to get AWOL cases like mine off the books as there were about 160,000 of us by 1972, so in June of ’72 I turned myself back in at Fort Carson, Colorado and after two weeks I received an undesirable discharge from the service.