BROWSE STORIES

Walter, California, 1969. No. 254: All High, No Low

I was lucky.  I was in college with the usual deferment.  I got a "good" number.  So the draft did not affect me.  Oddly enough, almost all my close high school buddies and my four college roommates had high numbers.  In fact, I was the lowest of the high numbers. ...

Carl, California, 1969. No. 174: Second Priority

My lottery number of 174 was too low to feel safe about being drafted, but high enough to hope for the best, depending on any escalation in the war. My II-S deferment was good until 1972, when I would graduate. As luck would have it, that year the concept of "second...

Jim, California, 1969. No. 310: Born Again At 30,000 Feet

I was in the Peace Corps in South America at the time I learned of the results of the 1969 lottery. I read about it in Time magazine at 30,000 feet over the Amazon Jungle on a flight from Rio to Caracas. When I learned I was number 310, I had the feeling I was 'born...

Lance, California, 1969. No. 306: In The Vanguard

I remember the draft lottery vividly.   I was 21 and a senior at UCLA.  I had a history of activism dating to co-founding at least one BSU and starting my writing career at 18, having delivered many culturally-relevant essays and poetry for a variety of publications....

Jerry, California, 1970. No. 189: Far From Radical

I registered with my local draft board on March 21, 1969.  I was a full-time student at UCLA and consequently was classified II-S.  My lottery number was 189.  Like many students my age I was opposed to the war, but I was far from radical and believed in working...

Lowell, California, 1969. No. 281: Over-Corrective Lenses

This is absolutely true. I graduated UCLA in June, 1969, and was about to start graduate school in September when I received my notice to appear for the pre-induction physical. I knew this was coming -- since I had lost my student deferment -- but panicked and went to...

Bill, Texas, 1969. No. 266: To Do It Over Again

It was the Spring of 1967 and I was concentrating on graduating from high school.  The war was probably the third or fourth thing on my mind.  First of all, I wanted some time to play and celebrate graduating before heading off to college for more play and...

David, California, 1969. No. 300+: The Law Of Our Fathers

I was part of the first every lottery, December 1, 1969, if I recall correctly. I was a freshman at UCLA, and had just rushed for Sigma Chi fraternity, Delta Eta chapter. On that night (I seem to recall a Sunday evening), all the brothers in the house gathered as we...

John, Idaho, 1969. No. 267: Beware The Agenda

I was I-A from having dropped out of college briefly before I transferred to UC Berkley (Bezerkly back then). On the day of the lottery,  5 or 6 friends gathered together to watch. It was like a sports contest with teams of 1. We alternately cheered winners or...

Steven, California, 1970. No. 342: A Nervous Time

Before the lottery, I went through a nervous time when I failed a Spanish class at UCLA and, due to insufficent progress (i.e., I did not become a sophomore in the required time), lost my student deferment.  The draft office at UCLA said I could get my deferment back,...

Lloyd, North Carolina, 1969. No. 332: Access To Orthodontia

I was in my second year at UCLA, on a student deferment, of course, and I was a member of a fraternity.  We were all subject to the first lottery, and were all congregated around the radio as the numbers were being called.  A frat brother who was born about 2 weeks...

David, Rhode Island, 1970. No. 264: Correspondence Overload

Starting in late 1969, I became active in the anti-draft movement.  At the time I was a student at USC and transferred to UCLA in 1970.  I led a small group in the San Fernando Valley that decided the best way to fight the draft was to adhere to the draft regulations...

Wes, Minnesota, 1969. No. 353: All My Trigger Fingers

I had 2 years of college as II-S classification, then dropped out to make more money, and got I-A in a week's time.  That was in 1968.  In 1969, it was still going through the mill on how to do the draft lottery, and I got inducted in Oct. 31, 1969, and while I was at...

Marc, California, 1969. No. 259: Bostonian Interlude

A large crowd of dorm denizens gathered in the front lobby of UCLA's Hedrick Residence Hall, anxiously awaiting the announcement of their numbers piped in over the PA system.  With each birthday read someone celebrated or moaned.   I ended up with 259, a number I felt...

Andy, California, 1969. No. 264: Nervous Parents

My parents were particularly nervous.  Both of their boys (my older brother Mark and I) were in the very first lottery draw.  They professed at the time they would move to Canada if necessary, but we also had college (San Diego State for Mark, UCLA for me) as a...

Bill, California, 1969. No. 330: Privileged Position

With a lottery number well over 300, and being enrolled at college, I was fortunate not to be forced to resist or submit to the draft.  While I was active in our campus student political organization that worked against the war and for civil rights, I suffered no lost...

Alan, California, 1969. No. 23: Grandfather Mike And The Senator

My lottery number was 23. I immediately decided I had to find a way out of the selection process.  With my grandfather, I started a letter writing campaign to then Senators Tunney and Cranston. Through my grandfather's efforts and my bad knees that I only made worse...

Peter, California, 1969. No. 312: No Interruption

I was a sophomore undergraduate at UCLA with a II-2 deferment.  Student deferments were becoming more limited, so there was concern.  When the lottery was announced I started to make preliminary arrangements to go into a local Army Reserve unit as there was a 6 week...

Spencer, California, 1969, No. 69: Trick Knee

     The reason the stories about the lottery only go until 1972 was because the draft law only ran until June of 1973.  My student deferment ran out in June of 1972, and of course Uncle Sam sent me his love note to report for my draft physical the week my deferment...

Steve, California, 1969. No. 330: What Lady Luck Would Bring

Once the government announced that they were discontinuing the student deferment, I obtained the application for conscientious objector status and also seriously contemplated moving to Canada.  I had protested the war, marched in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and got...

Michael, Virginia, 1969. No. 230: Dropping Draft Cards Off The Pier

By the time of the lottery in 1969, I was exempt from the draft because I had already completed my active duty with the US armed forces. This doesn't mean I was unaware or indifferent to the lottery. I was pleased to see that rich kids would have to sweat a bit to...

Jon, California, 1969. No. 106: Citizen's Obligation

I was an undergrad at UCLA in 1969.  I was opposed to the war and an anti-war protester.  As the lottery approached, my father asked me what I would do if I got a low number (meaning immediately drafted).  I said I would serve because although I was opposed to the...

David, California, 1970. No. 292: Same Birthday

I was talking with one of my MD colleagues in 1988 about the Vietnam War and the draft.  He said: they weren't going to draft me because my lottery number was 292.  I then responded stating his birthday.  He thought I had memorized all 365 of the numbers and what...

John, California, 1969. No. 245: The Conscription Nightmare

Making it into the last-to-be-called third of the 366 dates, albeit literally just barely, was a huge relief for me and my girlfriend (now my wife of 35 years), and it allowed me to stop worrying about contingency plans. During the Iraq war, my wife and I have been...

Harvey, California, 1969. No. 250: Numbers You Remember

It's funny the numbers that you remember in life. Your social security number, your first phone number growing up. I even remember my brother's Air Force ID #.  And, I will always remember being 250 in the draft.I was a sophmore at Los Angeles City College with a...

Paul, California, 1969. No. 364: Intense Partying

I was a sophomore at UCLA in 1969 when the first draft lottery was held.  I lived with three other guys in an apartment just off campus in an area known as the student ghetto (remember, this is the Westwood Village part of LA, so take ghetto with a grain of salt).  I...

Howard, Wisconsin, 1969. Didn't Look No Different

It changed my life.  I had bad eyesight, enough to fail the reserves but not the draft.  I decided not to chance the lottery and wanted to get into the reserves but I had no "connections".  I had been to Israel in '67 and volunteered to fight and drove a command car...

Mike, North Carolina, 1969. No. 85: Kerouac's Blueprint

I was a sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill when the ‘69 draft lottery was held. Like many of my classmates, I’d made the transition from a clean-cut freshman from Winston-Salem to a long-haired war protester, complete with bellbottom jeans and a peace sign belt buckle.  On...

Bill, California, 1969. No. 319: Year Of Confusion

I entered the US Military Academy on 3 July 1967 and was separated from the Corps on 11 June 1968, after having been admitted to UCLA. I still have a hard time explaining why I left, and it remains one of two significant regrets in my life. It seemed like a good idea...

Peter, Colorado, 1969. Dubious But Effective

I'd hired a lawyer the previous summer to fix me up with a dubious but effective medical deferment.  He said it could come back to haunt me if I ever went into politics, then as now the least of my ambitions.  To this day I don't even know what my number was.No matter...

Joe, California, 1969. No. 226: Number Two Son

I was attending UCLA and lived in a frat house in 1969.  I had made the decision to not apply for my school deferment after being denied a conscientious objector status.  I was subsequently classified I-A.  I sat around a radio with my frat brothers intently listening...

William, California, 1969. No. 58: Only Male Descendant

I was in my first year of law school, in Indiana at Notre Dame, when I received a lottery number for the draft. Since I was the sole male descendant in my family, I filed for and received an exemption from having to go fight in the horrible war.

Lee, California, 1969. No. 87: Overnight Divinity Schools

I watched in horror as my birthday was matched to 87. I decided immediately to begin attending divinity school. The divinity schools then had a great gimmick. The program was 6 years long (no one to my knowledge ever graduated) and if you were unlucky enough to finish...

Joe, California, 1969. No. 341: Hospital Slave

By the time of the first lottery I had already been "drafted."  I somehow persuaded local draft board 92 that I was a conscientious objector.  I was re-classified, after my successful appeal of the original denial, from I-A to I-O.  That latter status did not relieve...

Hank, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 320: Pre-empted By Billy Graham

There were only three TV stations in Madison at the time of the lottery. One (CBS) was a VHF station and the other two (ABC and NBC) were UHF stations. The only TV to which I had access was VHF only. At the time the stations took their commitment to broadcast what was...

Mark, California, 1969. No. 109: Too Humid In The Jungle

I was in college at UCLA when they did the lottery. I graduated in June, 1971 & was immediately contacted about taking a physical at the Alameda Naval Air Station in Oakland. I had been accepted to a Ph.D. program at Cal. My wife & I were moving to Berkeley that...

Robert, California, 1969. No. 80: Twists And Turns

Life has its twists and turns and I am not sure what the grand plan is, but this is my story. I was a senior at UCLA and would have been drafted as my lottery number was 80.  But in the fall of 1970 I developed cancer.  I had two surgeries and three years of...

Jefferson, California, 1970. No. 12: Off To K-Town

I was part of the 1970 draft lottery, for individuals born in 1951.  My lottery number was 12.  At the time I was a student at a local junior college.  My draft status changed from II-S to I-A.  I even went  down to the local draft board to see if I could change back...

Doug, Florida, 1969. No. 48: Fly Me From Beirut

I had a low number so I looked into volunteering and ROTC, but I would have been a helicopter pilot and I didn't even know how to drive a car. I had grown up overseas, so I decided to go back abroad and get my master's degree. There was an military induction center in...

Art, New Mexico, 1969. No. 56: Rooting For A Low Number

When I graduated from UCLA in June 1969, I knew I was likely to be drafted quickly by my draft board in Oregon City, OR.  In advance of graduation, I had applied to various Reserve and National Guard units in the LA area.  The day after graduation I was married and...

Jeffrey, California, 1969. No. 325: No One Went

I remember being at my fraternity house on the UCLA campus as we brothers gathered for the numbers to be given out. Some of my closest friends got very low numbers ranging from 18 to 108. I turned out to be one of the last brothers called at #325, which corresponded...

Greg, California, 1969. No. 68: The Two Drafts

I recall the lottery as if it were yesterday. I was with a number of my football teammates at UCLA. At that time, it had already been determined that anybody in the first 120 would be drafted. When number 68 came up for my birthday, my heart sank, because I already...

Charlie, California, 1969. No. 50: Months Away From War

I was at UCLA, on a Navy ROTC scholarship. Since I was already headed to the military, my lottery number held no significance to me.  When it came up 50, I remember thinking, well, it's a good thing I'll get to go into the military on my terms and as an officer.Funny...

Ben, Utah, 1972. No. 158: Stephen King Death Roulette Wheel

I turned 18 in November of 1971. I was a long-haired pot-smoking hippie  in my first semester of college. I was totally against the war. There was no college deferment at the time (nor should there have been in my opinion). I remember feeling existentially stuck. I...

Ken, California, 1969. No. 196: Becoming Religious

The only lottery I have ever won, was the one I lost in 1969.  I can remember receiving my lottery number 196 and really not knowing whether this was going to be good or bad.  Well, by September I didn't like the prospects.I went to the local draft board and inquired...

Bill, California, 1969. No. 161: Change of Plans

I had already been drafted before the lottery, in 1968.  I was in grad school but deferments for grad school had been eliminated.  The lottery put a lot more sanity into people's lives by removing some of the uncertainty. (I gave up on going to the East Coast for grad...

Stephen, California, 1969. No 91: Waiting Them Out

I was a third year undergraduate at UCLA when the first lottery was held. I received No. 91 which was considered a low number at the time, and with it, an almost certainty of being drafted once my 4 year student exemption expired in June of 1971. I lived on the 6th...

Dave, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 308: Tumultuous Times

Like every other male our age at UW-Madison, my best friends and I sat up waiting to hear what our numbers would be.  It was a tumoultous time and before we would graduate we would see numerous demonstrations, TA strikes, riots, would get pepper-gassed, and were there...

Mark, California, 1969. No. 69: Dehydrating In The Steam Room

I was in my sophmore year at UCSB, listening to the first draw with my friends.  None of us supported the war; we couldn't understand why American boys our age needed to die to keep a country in SE Asia from falling to Communism.  The draft seemed unfair, particularly...