The date of my draft lottery was Feb. 2, 1972. I was riding home from college with my two best friends since high school when we heard about it on the radio. The news announcer read off the first five dates in order and when he said "and, July 21" as the 5th number I about shit a brick in my friend’s back seat. To say I was disheartened is an understatement.
At the time I had one brother-in-law in the Navy and another in the Air Force who had spent 13 months in Vietnam but was now back stateside and getting discharged in 3 months. I figured my best option would be to finish out the current semester at school and then join the Navy before I turned 19 over the summer since Vietnam wasn’t much of a Naval war. I did my part willingly but was thoroughly bummed that I had to put my college plans on hold until I got this whole military thing behind me.
At the time the Navy was the only branch of the Armed Forces that had a delayed enlistment program where you could sign on the dotted line but not head off to boot camp for up to six months. Pretty good considering I had a gorgeous girlfriend at the time whom I wanted to spend as much time with as possible before being separated for a long time. Well–said gorgeous girlfriend broke up with me 3 days after I signed my young life over to the Navy. As it turned out, it was just as well, as I found out later on that she had been cheating on me for over a month–you just never know.