I was a senior at Mizzou the night of the first lottery. I remember the thinking if I got 200 or above, I’d be OK. If I had been born one day earlier, my number would have been 1. If I had been born a day later, my number would have been 12. I got 175.
When I graduated in June of 1970, I called my draft board and confirmed that I was classified as I-A. By then they were up to the low 20’s. I started my job the Sunday after graduation. Every month, I checked with the draft board and, as time progressed, each month they called a larger amount of numbers. I went to the Air Force recruiter, took the tests, and filled out the paperwork. All I had left to do was sign.
November came. I went back to Mizzou for my first homecoming as a graduate. We lost to Iowa State, unheard of at that time. On the way home, I went by the mailbox. My draft notice was there, mailed on Friday the 13th. I worked 3rd shift Sunday night and stopped by the Air Force recruiter on the way home Monday morning and signed the necessary forms. I left for Air Force basic in January of 1971 and was discharged 3 years and 364 days later.
The draft cost me 4 years of my life, about $25,000 in 1970’s dollars in lost income, and a 4 year-start on my chosen career. But, my country called and I answered.