BROWSE STORIES

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...

David, North Carolina, 1969. No. 4: Valentine's Day

My birthday is February 14. Being born on Valentine's day never caused me any problems, until the draft lottery. I always felt bad for my cousin who was born on Christmas day and never really got birthday presents separate from Christmas presents, but I didn't have...

Neil, England, 1972. No. 358: Jumped For Joy

I still remember what I was doing on the date the draft lottery I was involved in was drawn on 2 February 1972.  I had attended a high school basketball game.  My team won, but I can't remember the score.  I walked home in snow from the basketball game, having missed...

Cliff, North Carolina, 1969. No. 352: Reserve Duty

I was a student at NC State University and was concerned that I was going to be drafted so I joined the Army Reserve and was on active duty when the lottery occurred. My number was 352 which meant that I would never have been drafted. Of course I could not have known...

Michael, Illinois, 1969. No. 1: A Radio For The Tractor

I grew up on a farm in the small town of Carlock, Illinois.  I told my Dad if he would buy a radio for the tractor, I would plow all night, plus I could listen to the draft lottery.  I plowed for about an hour when the lottery was starting, then chickened out and...

Curt, NC, 1969. No. 38: Smirnov Occasions

     I was in Bragaw dorm at NCSU with my other suite mates listening to the lottery draw.  My birthday was May 11th which forever branded me with the scarlet number 38 on my chest.  The rest of the evening was spent finishing off a half gallon of Smirnov vodka with...

Jack, Idaho, 1969. No. 38: Best Thing That Ever Happened

I was a college undergraduate at the time of the first lottery and after drawing No. 38 I was able to defer induction until I graduated. I was drafted in late 1971. After Basic Training and being trained as a combat medic at Fort Sam Houston, Texas I was sent to...

Frank, PA, 1969. No. 20: Slight Tinge of Guilt

I was a silent Vietnam war protestor.  With my low number I was resigned to the fact I'd be toting a rifle in the Vietnam rice paddies in 1970.  When I was required to report in the Spring of 1970 for the induction physical at my draft board in Doylestown, it turned...

Joey, Kentucky, 1969. No. 176: Timing Is Everything

At the time of the lottery I was a Sigma Chi pledge (Delta Epsilon Chapter), NC State University, and did not have the luxury of listening to any of the details on the evening of December 1st, but that was of no real consequence to me.  Having watched the nightly news...

Howard, Alabama, 1969. No. 007: Where I Was Supposed To Be

I was 18 years old. I had flunked out of college my first year. I had no job. I felt I was going to be drafted as soon as I turned 19, regardless of the lottery. I joined the US Army before I turned 19. I was in basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky when my mother...

Rich, New Jersey, 1972. No. 248: Not Anxious To Pick Up An M-16

I was waiting to go to a rehearsal with the then up-and-coming Manhattan Transfer vocal group. I wasn't even quite sure what lottery meant other than random. I was 18 years old. When September 26th, the day before my birthday, was drawn and it was 034, my heart...

Thomas, Virginia, 1969. No. 342: What, Why & If

I remember lottery night very distinctly, during my first year in college. None of my immediate family had served in the armed forces, mainly because we were farmers and gained exemptions during the world wars. I had friends on campus from my home town and we all...

Jim, California, 1969. No. 147: Just Bad Enough

On 1 December 1969, I was assigned draft lottery number 147, which pretty much guaranteed that I would be called up around the time of my twenty-third birthday in early April 1970.  When I got my preinduction physical notice to appear in Los Angeles, I requested to be...

Jim, North Carolina, 1969. No. 22: Three No-Gos

I was a junior in 1969 and attending NCSU.  Along with two other buddies we were listening to the lottery picks on a small radio.  One of our buddy's birthday was picked at number 18 and when it was called out he slapped the radio across the room and started ranting. ...

Rick, Georgia, 1969. No. 348: Chart A Different Course

When November 3rd was pulled out in the lottery drawing, my life changed  immediately.  My birthday corresponded to number 348 in the draft which meant there was little chance I would be going to Vietnam.I was married and teaching school at the time.  I immediately...

Harvey, NC, 1969. No. 189: Would Not Decline The Call

I was a sophomore at NC State in Dec. '69.  Don't recall the way I learned my number, 189, but thought I still had a low to moderate chance of being drafted.  I was not, and that allowed me to move on with marriage, finishing college, children and a career in...

Rob, NC, 1969. No. 350: Good For The Country

As an NCSU freshman, everyone I knew at school was there on a student deferment.   Everyone on our floor in the dorm gathered to listen to the radio as the lottery numbers were drawn.  Tensions were high for all as everyone knew the dangers involved in what was...

George, NC, 1969. No. 184: Last Big Weekend

I was a sophomore at NC State University in 1969 and remember the big buildup to lottery day. I was in Sigma Nu fraternity and in typical fraternity fashion we decided to make a social occasion of the event by hosting a "Lottery Party". All frat brothers and their...

Jim, Virginia, 1969. No. 328: Winner Takes All

The charter room of the fraternity house was packed.  All the brothers were crowded in front of the 25” RCA.  You would have thought there was a State /Carolina basketball game on the TV – but it was something that produced no cheers – it was the lottery for the draft...

Tom, 1969. No. 55: A Choice Not Made

I had already decided I wasn't going to go when my number, 55, was pulled. My wife wanted me to move to Canada, but I thought that was the chickenshit thing to do. I was a patriot.While I have absolutely no objection to universal national service for all men and...

Bill, Virginia, 1969. No. 93: Certain To Be Called

I joined a Naval Reserve Officer program because of my low draft number.  In '69, anything below No. 125 was a certainty to be called.  Even though I still had my student deferment and would probably keep it until May of '72 when I graduated, you could not count on...

Sam, NC, 1969. No. 313: Unusual How Things Happen

I was in the advanced portion of Air Force ROTC at NCSU when the first drawing of the lottery was held. My lottery number came out 313. I went to the Commandant of Cadets and requested a departure from the program. I was informed that I had two choices: stay in the...

Hilton, California, 1969. No. 10: A Taste For Travel

I was just talking with a friend tonight about the draft lottery at dinner here in Florence, Italy.I was born, grew up and went to school in Raleigh, N.C., including of course N.C. State. My draft number of 10 was chosen in the very first lottery based on my birthday....

Charles, NC, 1969. No. 362: Flat-Footed

I was married at the time of the lottery, with a one year-old son. I had been using the student deferment, but due to my low GPA I was out of school for a semester. There goes my deferment. I was called for physicals two times and got out due to flat feet. I was set...

David, Georgia, 1969. No Effect On Me

Being in AFROTC from 1967 to 1971, the lottery had no effect on me. I don't even remember the lottery nights that others are mentioning. I graduated in 1971, was commissioned 2nd LT, went to grad school for 2 years, entered active duty in 1973, served in Montgomery,...

Robert, Texas, 1969. No. 366: After The Fact

Of course there was a lot of interest among the male students concerning the December 1969 draft lottery drawing--the Vietnam war, although winding down, was still very much a war, and deferments were no longer available to engineering students. I wasn't concerned...

Walt, NC, 1969. No. 6: All Should Serve

On the night of the televised lottery, my girlfriend and I had gone to the library to study together.  On my return to the fraternity house, I learned that I missed the first 12 draft picks.  The brothers had put together a draft pool for the unlucky guy with the...

Stephen, NC, 1969. No. 39: Scared The Pudding Out of Me

About a dozen of us guys in Sullivan dorm (NCSU) sat up to watch the lottery.  I was never lucky and this night my number came up much too soon.  39.  Disappointment and a big dose of apprehension.  I wasn't particularly focused and at the end of the semester flunked...

Lynn, NC, 1969. No. 107: Captain For A Week

I was married, and a senior in college. My lottery draft number was 107. Bobby D., who went to NC State with me, graduated from high school with me and was born in the same hospital in Statesville, NC, just enough hours later to be born the day after me, drew No....

Robert, NC, 1969. No. 38: One Lost Semester

I was No. 38. I managed to get into an Army National Guard mechanized infantry unit. I spent six years with that group, on "immediate reserve status" for three of those years. I had to drop out of NCSU seven weeks into my final semester for basic and AIT, and later...

Wayne, Florida, 1969. No. 190: Take No Chances

Oh man! My number is 190, and the cut-off lottery number will be 180-200. Should I enlist in the navy or AF and apply to officer candidate school? Or risk being a army pvt. destined for the jungles of Vietnam? So, I go down to the AF recruiting office where I'm a...

Matt, NC, 1969. No. 12: The Competition

We were a tight group that lived as dorm rats at Bragaw Hall on the N.C. State University campus. We ate together, played together, and dated together. And we were very competitive. We competed at every level whether we went bowling or were shooting hoops or were...

Ed, Massachusetts, 1969. No. 148: The Double Bolo

I was in my senior year of college when they held the draft lottery. For many of us, the lottery and the elimination of some draft deferments turned life into a strange game of chance. I eventually got drafted, and the skills I learned in the Army helped me get...

Ron, NC, 1969. No. 344: Bitter Sweet

The draft lottery was a time of anxiety and a time of personal introspection.  With all the anti-war sentiment around us and my desire to complete my engineering degree (I was a sophomore), I kept asking the question, "What effect is this lottery going to have on...

Mark, California, 1970. No. 191: Benefits Of High School Football

Got my draft number and was not happy. The year before, the lottery had gone up to 212. I got a consultation with a "draft lawyer" who suggested that I apply for a medical exam. This was based on the fact that by the time I was 18 years old I already had three...

Jay, NC, 1969. No. 55: Weekend Warrior

I was a junior at NC State living with a couple of classmates in an apartment off campus on the night of the fateful first lottery.  Two of us got low numbers and the third guy lucked out with a number over 200.  The guy with the other low number was already in Air...

Ted, NC, 1969. No. 342: Old Ladies And Cripples First

As an ROTC cadet, we were signing the paperwork for entering the Air Force as an officer upon graduation or enlisted if you dropped out of school. As we started to sign, someone said "let's go around the room and say our lottery numbers." Most were under 100 and many...

Doug, NC, 1969. No. 366: Coming In Last

I was involved in the very first lottery in 1969.  I was a sophomore at North Carolina State University, single, and prime for the draft.  I was not an avid supporter of the Vietnam war, but was not a draft dodger either.  Had I been drafted I would have gone, but...