I was drafted in early winter of 1972 (lottery numbers came on tv right after the Mannix detective show). I was 18.
I was ordered to go to the federal building in downtown Cleveland, Ohio the following Monday. This I did. Upon arrival I was given a physical, after several hours of waiting, and then a haircut, and then more waiting. I met with the commander a day or so later, when I stated my desire to not carry a gun, although I wanted very much to serve my country. I was told I might not come back from Vietnam, but they did agree to give me C.O. status, and at that time I was given this assignment: to bury dead Vietnamese.
I was required to stay at said federal building about 4 weeks, with a lot of sitting and waiting. I was given a weekend off after the said weeks, and was told I was on I-H status (holding). I was also told I would be called Monday morning and told where to report for basic training, for 2 months prior to deployment to Vietnam.
So I went home that Friday night, and Monday came and passed, with no phone call. All I had was a card that said “I-H holding.” I waited the entire week but received no calls. I remember asking my dad if I should call them. He said they know where you are, just wait. So I waited for about 4 weeks, and finally they called and said that my record showed I was “on call, I-H holding” and I could be called anytime to report. I asked why they did not call before as they said they would, but no one had any answer. I asked what day I would be called, and whether I could go ahead and get a job, but they had no information. It seemed as if no one knew what they were doing. I waited about 4 more weeks and got a job, let my hair grow for 3 years, joined a rock band, and never heard from them again. I did call 10 years ago when I was 55 years old, and was told that after age 55 I will not be called. But no one could find any record for me! I did serve, in a sense, if only for 4 weeks when I reported as my country asked me too. The war was confusing at that time as well, but you’d think they would have records. The card they gave me I kept in my wallet over 20 years until eventually it became un-readable. I just wish they would acknowledge I was serving even if it was just 4 weeks!
I always regretted not going and am sad about that time and that war, it was just weird.[Ed. note: draft classification I-H was established by the Selective Service after the draft lottery was instituted, to cover men who would otherwise have been classified as I-A but whose lottery numbers were above the national lottery cut-off each year. This story suggests that a man whose lottery number was at or close to the cut-off might be left in limbo until the SS determined that the cut-off for that year was final.]