The draft was in effect from the beginning of the war, years prior to the first lottery in 1969. In my 1965 Air Academy high school graduating class at the Air Force Academy, of the 75 males, 12 received appointments either to the Air Force Academy, West Point, or Annapolis. What do you expect growing up at a military academy?
Several years later at a high school reunion all the men who served during Vietnam were asked to stand. Only two of us had not entered the service either by draft or enlisting. That was a personal awkward moment of shame yet a profound sense of the highest respect for my classmates, especially those who did not return from Vietnam. I tried to enlist 3 times while a student at the University of Missouri, but was rejected for bad eyesight. Upon graduation in 1969, however, I was ordered to report for the fitness testing (which used a lower standard than for enlistment), which I passed. However, due to a graduate student deferment in seminary to become a full time “peace-maker”, I was not called to serve in the military. My birthday of September 14 was the first number picked in the lottery.