BROWSE STORIES

Peter, N.C., 1969. No. 046: Better Served Through A Draft

In 1969, I enrolled in graduate school for a MA and PhD. I also went for a draft physical in the spring of 1970. I received a I-Y status due to damage of the left wrist from two previous fractures. This allowed me to complete my MA and PhD during the Vietnam war...

William, North Carolina, 1969. No. 265: Tried And Convicted

In the spring of my senior year at the University of North Carolina (1969) I decided that I should resist the war and the draft and returned my draft card.  At that point I do not recall that I even knew of the lottery.  After graduation I entered the Teacher Corps...

Rick, California, 1969. No. 31: Razor's Edge Between Fates

I was still at Carolina, in law school, and at my old fraternity house the night of the lottery (Pi Lambda Phi). We had a pool, for a few dollars each, that was there for the guy with the lowest number.  No. 26, I think it was, and he got the money "to buy a bus...

Ed, North Carolina, 1969. No. 325: Guilt and Good Fortune

It’s been a lifelong feeling of guilt and good fortune. On that night in 1969 I camped out by the TV waiting for my number to come up. I fell asleep waiting. I woke up to a ringing phone and my sister congratulating me on pulling number 325. I drove to the campus TV...

Henry, Texas, 1969. No. 357: Promise Broken

I grew up in North Carolina and graduated from high school in 1966.  The local draft board assured me that I had four years of deferment for school, and that I could use the four years to complete undergrad school in three years and then get in one year of law school...

Gordon, Maryland, 1969. No. 144: Theatre Of The Absurd

I graduated from UNC in June of 69, and embarked on the frantic quest for a National Guard slot. With my future (including law school) on hold, I decided to conduct this campaign from Charlotte (a summer job) and then back in Chapel Hill during the fall. I must have...

Bill, New York, 1969. No. 271: More Than A Game Show

I was never an opponent of the war except as it pertained to me going. After delaying my physical for months I had been cleared for service.  And wow, they instituted the lottery and suspended additional inductions, me included. I remember watching the lottery unfold...

Dwayne, NC, 1969. No. 122: B-52s Over Vietnam

   I went to college at UNC in 1965 immediately following high school and thus was granted an education deferral until I approached graduation in 1969.  In the spring of 1969, before I had even graduated, I was called to get a preinduction physical for the draft.  I...

Andrew, North Carolina, 1969. No. 213: Developing Beliefs

In the fall of 1965, when I entered UNC as a freshman, I was a Goldwater conservative. I basically accepted and spouted the politics of my small-town upbringing. I joined the Young Republican Club and the Air Force ROTC at Carolina. But the anti-war spirit at Carolina...

David, NC, 1969. No. 119: We Knew We Were Goners

I was No. 119 in the lottery, and my best friend was No. 122.  In its December 10th meeting the local draft board called numbers through 110 and announced that anyone with numbers up to about 125 should be prepared to be called by year-end.  So we knew we were...

Richard, Florida, 1969. No. 193: OK For Service

I was classified as I-A because I took a semester off to work.  When I got back to Carolina, I was still I-A because my student deferment had not yet been reinstated.  I was called up and went for a physical somewhere—I can’t remember where exactly.  The doctor told...

Roger, North Carolina, 1969. No. 126: Paying My Way Through

While my draft number was not particularly high, I was destined to be a public school teacher anyway.  In 1969 there was a teacher shortage and deferments were given.  I was momentarily reclassified 1-A after my first year as a teacher, but the school superintendent...

Nick, Colorado, 1969. No. 363: Bad Timing

My lottery story is really not a lottery story at all, but one of irony and bad timing. My birthday came up No. 363, so it would seem that I was not going to be drafted. Technically, that is true. The technicality is that I had entered active duty in the US Army on...

Robin, Hong Kong, 1969. No. 037: No Animosity

When the lottery was announced, I was in Hong Kong, where I had gone to high school and where I had registered for the SSS at the U.S. Consulate and was appointed to Local Board 100 (Foreign). I was working as a photographer, my first job out of UNC. I was pretty busy...

Jim, NC, 1969. No. 183: The Ultimate Gamble

What I remember about that time was that the law seemed to change every year.  When I started at UNC in 1965, being in school was all you needed for an exemption.  Later in '66 or '67 I recall going to Greensboro to take a written exam to allow me to maintain my...

John, Massachusetts, 1969. War Lessons

I arrived at Carolina in January '68 after serving in Vietnam from April '66 to May of '67 as a Marine foot soldier. The transition from Vietnam and the Marines to Chapel Hill was surreal. People were friendly and I was glad to be a student. When students took over...

Curtis, Georgia, 1970. No. 153: 48 Pounds In Ten Weeks

I did not feel that my lottery number was high enough. I had a wife and baby, but that did not defer me since I had had a student deferment. All the army reserves were full and had waiting lists. One of my fellow management trainees told me about a Marine Corps...

Larry, NY, 1971. No. 74: Soon To Be Dead v. Long Life

So in my first year at Queens college I "win" the lottery with No. 74. My friends and I celebrate our particular luck at our annual beach football game with our sweatshirts showing our numbers, clearly the soon to be dead (low numbers) against the long life (high...

Dan, N.C., 1969. No. 320: Prayer For My Safety

After graduating from UNC-CH in August of 1969, like many of my peers Vietnam was in my future. My first (non-military) job after college was training mine/trip-wire dogs for duty in Nam. I began to realize what these dogs were being trained to do was important, and...

Donald, Massachusetts, 1969. No. 38: A Sympathetic Doctor

With such a low number I was called in for my army physical in February and passed (like everybody else). Since I had no desire to join the Army and go to Vietnam I started exploring alternatives. I considered joining the Navy. I even passed their physical, but it was...

Raymond, SC, 1969. No. 296: Almost Worth It

When the lottery was conducted December 1, 1969, I was preparing to report to Ft. Jackson after January 1 for my 3-year enlistment.  I don't recall watching the actual process, and may have just read it in the paper the next day since it didn't matter for me.  And...

Fil, Virginia, 1969. No. 257: Freeing Event

While I am not a complete pacifist, I knew I would never serve in Vietnam. While I honor those who believed and sacrificed in that war, I wasn't one of them. I considered the war wrong, immoral, and knew I would never fight if they dragged me there. I considered...

Larry, New York, 1969. No. 353: Turning Point Of My Life

Your question recalls the turning point of my life. On December 1, 1969, I was a recent University of North Carolina graduate working in the news department of WAYS radio in Charlotte, with a draft eligible bulls eye on my back. Literally and figuratively, I was a...

Tony, NC, 1969. Observing The Angst

I graduated from Carolina in 1969.  Observing the angst among those around me about the Draft was humorous, because I was in Navy ROTC.  I was already committed to the military and as a Naval Officer.  I spent nearly 13 months in Vietnam and wound up working with an...

Richard, NC, 1969. No. 159: No Regrets

Since I had a student deferment until June 1969 and graduated in May 1969 and had no physical reasons for deferment or rejection, by the time the lottery occurred on 12/1/1969, it was not relevant to me.  I joined the U.S. Army Reserve in Feb 1969, my senior year in...

Lou, Florida, 1969. No. 355: Things Work Out

I received my "greetings" just 42 days after getting my UNC degree.  A colleague of my wife's suggested I actually enlist, for the full three years, to guarantee a school.  I did and never regretted it.  I also took part in the "delayed entry" program, deferring my...

Richard, North Carolina. A Draft Notice And A Diploma

I graduated in June of 1969, and was in the last group to be drafted before the lottery went into effect. The Durham Draft Board was so efficient that my draft notice and my official diploma came in the same mail. I was one of an elite group of people to receive...

James, NC, 1970. No. 280: Only Lottery Win

I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in June 1969 and enrolled at Columbia Law School in September 1969.  Following my first semester in Law School, I was notified to report for my physical at Fort Hamilton.  I passed the physical and my II-S student deferment was changed...

John, Maryland, 1969. No. 1 or 22: Just One Question

I was not subject to the lottery, as I had already enlisted before the lottery began on 1 December 1969 to avoid being drafted and having no choice in the matter.  Very shortly after graduating from UNC I visited my local draft board and basically asked one question. ...

Lytt, New York State, 1969. No. 309: Lottery Lit The Fuse

The draft lottery changed my life.  In 1969 I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and took a teaching job, mainly because it offered an occupational deferral.  But teaching was not my ambition and I needed some career focus.  The draft lottery gave me the opportunity to...

Larry, Minnesota, 1969. No. 129: Guaranteed Opportunity

Monday, 1 December 1969 - How could I ever forget that date as I turned 19 that very day.  I was hoping that the draw would be at twelve noon which I figured would make me not technically eligible.  BUT, it had to be during primetime.I knew I was guaranteed the...

Ham, Georgia, 1969. No. 268: Family Time

When I graduated from UNC in 1969, I had a draft classification of I-A. My father was a manufacturers representative and was responsible for business in the Southeast. He was suffering from complications with diabetes and was physically unable to drive and transact...

Mike, New York, 1971. No. 9: Carry On

It had to be July or August of 1971.  On number day, I was at work.  My mother worked second shift at the same company and told me my number.  She was none too happy.  Since I was not too serious about school at the time, I decided to join the Navy.  It has been a...

Randy, Virginia, 1969. No. 249: Good Night and So Long

I graduated from UNC in May 1969 without an acceptance to medical school.  I figured the chance of being drafted was high, but I was willing to do just about anything to avoid interrupting my pursuit of a medical degree.  I underwent an Army physical (not...

James, Maryland, 1969. Feline Allergy

I had graduated from the University of North Carolina and was attending graduate school at Yale. My birthday is in February and, as is well known, February was extremely over-represented in the early numbers of the first lottery. I remember walking through the Yale...

Tony, NC, 1969. No. 110: Dad Served For Both Of Us

I had several near misss with the Vietnam situation during my stay at Carolina.The first was in 1966, during my sophomore year. Every male student received mistakenly re-classified draft notices (from II-S to I-A) from the Cumberland County Draft  Board on a Friday...

Mike, NC, 1969. No. 36: Socio-Economic Gamut

I managed to keep a II-S deferment until I graduated college in the summer of 1972.  I received my draft notice in October '72 and immediately applied for the Army National Guard.The Guard could afford, at the time, to be VERY picky about who they allowed in, but my...

Rodger, Pennsylvania, 1969. Other Experiences

To make my story short, my lottery number was never called.  Thus, I did not serve.  However, I had other experiences regarding the Vietnam War era, which I will pass on for what they are worth.In the fall 1965, I lived in a graduate dorm at UNC-CH.  I remember the...

Rich, NC, 1969. No. 3: Political Wars

1969 was the year of my college graduation.  Being the son of a career Army veteran who served in WW II, Korea and Vietnam, when all this started I had no solid feelings of my own about Vietnam.  During the rough early times at school, I often considered dropping out...

John, NC, 1969. No. 212: Reconsider My Calling

At the time of the first lottery, I was in my first year of theological school.  I was genuinely interested in campus ministry and working toward a Master of Divinity degree, a three-year program.   I had to admit, though, that the IV-D status given to ministers and...

Robert, New York, 1969. No. 291: Same Birthday

I was not too concerned about the lottery because I was going to medical school and would receive an automatic deferment. My childhood friend who shared the same birthday as me was accepted to law school but declined and joined the National Guard.  He was somewhat...

Joe, Tennessee, 1971. No. 002: From Delivery Driver To Naval Air

In 1971 I was driving an auto parts delivery truck when I heard that my lottery number was 002. I had just passed over the Jackson Ave. viaduct in Memphis, TN. That afternoon I called a friend whose Daddy was stationed at the Millington Navy base at Millington, TN....

Walt, Ohio, 1969. No. 303: Johnny Got His Gun

In December of 1969 I was a second year student at Ohio University.  Not really ready for school, poor and confused (very naive).  My Dad had died in 1966 and was a veteran of WW II.  I remember watching the lottery drawing on TV and laughing when my number came up at...

Michael, Indiana, 1969. No. 284: Four Out Of Five Doctors Agree

In the spring of 1968, my senior year of high school, I had cartilage and ligaments taken out of my right knee due to a soccer accident. Having no money for college, I began work at a local bank.In early June of 1969, I heeded my draft board's summons and appeared at...

Bill, California, 1969. No. 74: Air Of Unreality

I had a student deferment and was attending Central Connecticut State when I received the low lottery number. I don't recall much other than being at the college that night with everyone trading their "scores". I remember an air of unreality getting that low number...

Dane, Minnesota, 1969. No. 1: Cycle Of War

I was barely holding onto my student deferment in 1969 when the first draft lottery was held. My grades had been poor and working a full-time job to support my education wasn't helping.  I knew if I drew a low number I'd be called and of course was hoping for a high...

Morris, Virginia, 1969. No. 90: Polishing Shoes

Why are you polishing your shoes so much? I remember as a freshman, when I had a student deferment given to me in 1968 which would last through the lottery, that I used to tease my freshman roommate, Roy, who was a high school buddy.  He was in ROTC and had to go to...

Jay, Ohio, 1969. No. 1: Twenty Dollars and Minor Celebrity

I was a senior in college during the first draft lottery in late 1969. In the fraternity house, we had a $1.00 entry fee for a pool to reward the "winner" of the lottery - but the guy with the highest number had to match the pot. It was over quickly for me as my...

William, Kansas, 1971. No. 142: The Hangover

My lottery story is more about a friend of mine.  At the time, we were enrolled as students at Kansas State University.  The night of the lottery, a group of us attended the K-State basketball game and afterwards, returned to our residence where some other buddies had...

Barry, NC, 1969. No. 361: Roll The Dice

I was a student at NC State University and had a student deferment--II-S. My expectations at that time were to graduate in 1972 and be drafted.  If drafted, I would have served my country without hesitation.  But I really lucked out in the lottery, 361 out of a...