BROWSE STORIES

John, California, 1969. No. 95: Marriage And Career

The draft lottery was the only lottery I ever won, with a 95. As I was contemplating a career in federal law enforcement or intelligence following graduation from UCLA, I decided to enlist in the Army so I could choose a relevant career field that might provide...

Doug, Arizona, 1969. No. 103: Improving Grades

On the eve of the first lottery, I sat in the fraternity house, terrified along with most of the brothers. I was a soph and a determined anti-war demonstator. As each number was called, each of us feared the worst. The media was speculating that the first third would...

Ken, California, 1969. No. 352: Traveled The World

I had joined the Navy ROTC at UCLA because I needed a source of income.  I had the opportunity to receive a full scholarship if I signed the paperwork which would commit me to serve four years after graduation.  I didn't expect this would put me in a dangerous...

Michael, California, 1969. No Cap, No Gown

I had previously completed my military service (USNR 1957 - 1963) and was thus not eligible for the Draft in 1970. But at our UCLA graduation ceremony in June of that year, our entire class refused to wear caps & gowns as an expression of solidarity with the anti-war...

Frank, Alabama, 1969. No. 57: The Three Ironies

My story has a series of ironic twists.I was in ROTC while in college. The first irony of the lottery, as I remember it, was that it was being held after I had to commit to the final two years of ROTC training. It was a gamble, but I chose to go with the ROTC option....

Pat, California, 1969. Saddest Times

I was a student at UCLA when the lottery numbers were coming up. I was not affected for I had enlisted in 1966, US Army Airborne, Special Forces. I served in Viet Nam as a Green Beret. My saddest times were when I was discharged and basically spit on by several when I...

David, California, 1969. No. 299: Coffee And No-Doz

Before the lottery, I visited a UCLA attorney to get counseling on how to deal with the draft board. I had already been scheduled for a physical exam in downtown L.A.  I showed up with what seemed like hundreds of other guys. We were divided up into small groups to be...

Richard, California, 1969. No. 303: Relief And Remorse

I recall my father-in-law to-be stating that he would assist me and my fiancee/girlfriend to flee to Canada rather than be drafted.  At the time this astounded me, as I had previously thought of him as a fairly conservative guy.  Naturalized Italian immigrant who had...

David, North Carolina, 1969. No. 113: Not The Best Use Of My Talents

I remember the feeling of coldness as I watched my same-age, senior-year, male best-friend suite mates celebrating their safe, high lottery numbers.  Was this a turning point? It sure was.  Medical school became  the only remaining graduate field of study with draft...

Bill, California, 1969. No. 292: Equally Patriotic Ways

The real story was in the number, 292.  By any standard, a high and SAFE number.  I was getting ready to, and did go to Canada, where I hitch-hiked from one end to the other, not always on a natural high.  I was vehemently opposed to the Vietnam War, and attended many...

Alan, California, 1969. No. 35: Food Fight

     I was a senior at UCLA in December 1969 when the first lottery was conducted.  I was living in the dorms and the lottery was broadcast over the sound system during dinner.  As lottery numbers and birth dates were called the entire cafeteria erupted into cheers...

Rex, California, 1969. No. 184: Color Blind In The Corps

I was born on September 8.  On the day of the 1969 draft lottery I sat in my car waiting to hear what my number would be. My birthday was drawn at No. 184. I always thought it would be too low to keep me out of the draft.  So, I shrugged and went about my business as...

Ted, California, 1969. No. 46: Public Health Service

The draft dominated my life choices. I had already joined the Air Force ROTC before the lottery, so I could go to graduate school at UCLA. After the lottery, where I got a very bad number, I ended up leaving ROTC and going into the Public Health Service as a...

Stephen, California, 1969. No. 31: Lawyered Up

My lottery number was 31 and I had to go through some real changes to get out of the draft. I hired a draft attorney named Michael P.  His first suggestion, since my dad died in January 1971, was to try to get me out by having my mother declared dependent on her...

Dave, California, 1969. No. 357: Chemistry Building Under Guard

I started graduate school at the University of Wisconsin in the fall of 1968, with a I-A classification hanging over my head.  I spent the year trying to obtain a teaching deferment for being a chemistry teaching assistant.  In February of 1969 I had my draft board...

Dean, Arizona, 1969. No. 2: Nineteen Years

My recollection is that my lottery number was 2, corresponding to my birth date of April 24th. By the time the lottery came along, I was already enrolled in ROTC at UCLA and had a I-D deferment anyway. As it turned out, I did not have to go to Vietnam, but spent 19...

William, New Mexico, 1969. No. 300+: All Were Touched

I was a junior at UCLA and had a high lottery number (in the 300s), but one of my brothers got a lottery number under 20.  I think it was 13.  I was against the war, like most of my friends. The riots on campus and all over politicized the campus.  Students, faculty,...

Jim, California, 1969. No. 109: The Psychic Price

I remember being none-too-pleased with the number I received in that first lottery.  Fortunately I was a fairly methodical person even at that age and reacted by figuring I'd have to come up with a systematic way to approach the matter.  I was a junior at UCLA, so I...

Arnold, California, 1969. No. 231: A Nail-Biting Year

I was a senior at UCLA during the first draft lottery, getting my bachelor's in 1970.  Throughout high school and college, I was opposed to the Vietnam War, feeling that we had no right to be involved in a civil war.  I got married in the summer of 1969, and was...

Chuck, California, 1969. No. 304: Beating The Odds

As of January 1969, I was re-classified from II-S to I-A, was notified for my draft physical, and passed the physical.  I was expecting a draft notice at any time.  I was very much opposed to the war (I was a political science major at UCLA, which gives you some idea...

Jim, California, 1969. No. 147: Back In One Piece

I remember watching the lottery.  They were estimating that the first third would go, the second third probably wouldn't but might go, and the third wouldn't go.  I was low second third but got called shortly after graduating from UCLA.I spent around two years in the...

John, North Carolina, 1969. No. 310: Obviously Lame Excuse

I was a full-time student at Madison, but had my status changed to I-A because I submitted my draft deferment papers to my local North Carolina draft board a few weeks late.  I appealed with all the proper papers, but was turned down 3-0, and was told no further...

Laurence, California, 1969. No. 305: Continue The Name

My dad's death was service related during World War II. I was his sole issue and the only one to continue his name. Because of this, I was granted a deferment. My feeling at the time was great relief, though I would have traded a stint in the service to have grown up...

Tom, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 24: Graduation Delayed

I was in my junior year at the University of Wisconsin, and unfortunately drew a low number.  I had a student deferment at that time, so stayed in school, finishing four years but needing one more semester to graduate with an engineering degree.  Since the draft...

Jim, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 88: In Short Supply

I had my undergraduate degree and was already teaching elementary school in the Madison school district before the lottery. My school had a lot of high-need students, many from single parent families. The school district sent yearly letters to my draft board in...

Richard, New York, 1969. No. 51: Gaming The System

The lottery didn't mean much to me, since at the time I was going to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and was in Air Force ROTC.  Growing up in New York City I'd been pretty uptight, very conservative, and didn't really question authority.All that changed by the...

Tom, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 52: Truck Driving At Fort Ord

I was a sophomore at UW Madison, and found out that Electrical Engineering would no longer get you a deferred job, so in mid-1971, I joined the Wisconsin National Guard.  An interesting experience, with Basic Training and truck driving AIT at Fort Ord, CA from June to...

Michael, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 310: Listening In The Dark

I arrived home in the evening, after the lottery draw had begun.  I found my mother listening to the numbers being called on a radio. She, too had missed the beginning of the draw, so we didn't know if I had already been assigned a low number. I went to my room, laid...

Bob, DC, 1969. No. 118: Never Had A Chance

I watched the first lottery with my floormates in Whitbeck House-Sellery Hall.  As each guy had his number called, he left the room.  This was a totally spontaneous ritual.  The networks speculated that those whose numbers were in the first third-about through number...

Isaac, Ohio, 1970. No. 164: Just A Little While Ago

It was just a little while ago, but I was fortunate since my number was not called. I do remember some anxiety that summer on the day of the draft. I had hoped to enter ROTC as a freshman, but due to corrective glasses, I was rejected.  I believe my student status at...

Doug, Ohio, 1969. No. 141: Free And Clear

The night of the lottery, my college roommate and I were watching it on TV. The first date drawn was his birthday -- he was No. 1. I hung on until 141, which was a problem. The purpose of the lottery was supposed to be to let you know whether you were going to be...

Murray, Canada, 1969. Sheets To The Wind

I was a foreign student in grad school at Wisconsin and recall lottery evening very clearly.  My date of birth came up quite late in the proceedings, and I wished I could trade with any registrant who had not been so lucky.  One such unfortunate still had his sense of...

Rich, Colorado, 1969. No. 240: Climb Every Mountain

I was born with an abnormal left leg, and "knew" that if I were ever drafted, I'd get a physical deferment. So, I never took my II-S, and instead let myself be classified I-A. Early in 1969, Richard Nixon sent me "Greetings", and I waited to be called for my...

Dan, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 100: Making The Cut

I graduated from UW Madison in June 1972 and had been accepted at the UW Law School for the fall term.  I was working at a camp in the summer and came back for my Army physical in July.I started the fall semester of law school not knowing whether "they" would get to...

Brian, Michigan, 1969. No. 252: Many Things Converging

I was in my 4th year of a Ph.D program at Wisconsin at that time, with a II-S deferment. My lottery number was 252. Some of my friends weren’t as lucky. One of them left for Canada, where he lives today. Another was drafted and served a tour in Vietnam, working mainly...

Stephen, Oregon, 1969. LBJ The Wedding Planner

I don't recall my lottery number but I do remember that I was very concerned and very anti-war. In the summer of 1963 I met and fell in love with a lovely woman from Madison. We dated for eight months and decided to marry, and scheduled the wedding day for a Saturday...

Larry, Illinois, 1970. No. 307: A New Plan

I was attending a Methodist seminary but had decided that the ministry wasn't for me.  I wanted to become a city planner but knew that I would be drafted as soon as my status changed.  I had taken the Air Force OCS test just before the lottery took place.  Since my...

Rick, Wisconsin, 1971. No. 151: Tear Gas At The Window

Mine is not a long story. All I remember is that I was in my fourth year in school at the University of Wisconsin. I had one more year of Pharmacy School. I had already had two friends from Pulaski High School die over there and to tell you the truth I didn't really...

Ted, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 83: A Close Call

In December 1969, I was a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin, Marathon County Center.  My study habits were poor and my grades reflected that.  When lottery number 83 was drawn for my birthday,  I felt that military service via the draft was inevitable.  In...

Bill, Illinois, 1970. No. 273: Absolute Zero

I remember the draft lottery in 1970.  I was a Sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a bunch of us were sitting around the TV in the fraternity house waiting for our numbers to come up.  When my number was called, 273, I kept thinking that it was the...

Paul, New Jersey, 1969. Blood Sugar and Cross-Dressers

I was at the University of Maryland, considering graduate work in math or history, and my number -- which I do not remember -- made it certain I would be drafted. I volunteered instead, hopefully for the army foreign language training program (Chinese, but my friends...

Robert, Australia, 1969. No. 139: A Maturing Event

In March of 1968 I dutifully signed up with the Selective Service  as all 18 year old males had to do at that time. Realizing then that there was potential to end up in the military was sobering enough.When the draft lottery came around I was a carefree student at the...

Gary, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 196: Shouts Of Profanity/Sighs of Relief

Forty years have passed, but that evening when the first draft lottery was held will be remembered forever.  I was a sophomore at the UW, living in one of the residence halls.  Radios throughout the floor were glued to the station carrying the lottery.  I remember how...

Peter, California, 1969. No. 303: Letters From The Outpost

When plans for the lottery were announced, we were all nervous. Some of the kids in my dorm immediately filed for CO status, and their local draft boards in Wisconsin almost as quickly turned them down. Others sought medical deferments--or in some cases tried to...

Ed, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 150: Clara Critter's Quota

I was living on Regent Street in Madison, WI as an undergrad at the UW on December 1, 1969, huddling around a radio with my five roommates listening to the drawing. I was the first one out, at number 150. Everyone else was well into the 200s, with a couple in the...

Fred, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 333: Combinations of Three

A good friend and I were at a Wisconsin basketball game the night of the lottery.  As I recall the Badgers won the game, and it wasn't until we got back to our dorm room in Ogg Hall that we learned the results of the lottery.  I entered my dorm room to find my...

Mike, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 36: A Growing Experience

I was a junior at the University of Wisconsin when the first draft was held.  I was living with four roommates at the time.  My number was 36, the rest of my roommates had numbers in the 200 and 300's.  I was allowed to graduate in January of 1971.  Six days later I...

Tom, Wisconsin, 1971. No. 17: Six Months of Suspense

I was in my senior year at the UW, and wound up with lottery number 17.   Then, around early December, as I recall it, Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird commented that there probably would not be a draft for the first six months of 1972.  This was followed by news...

John, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 303: A Card From The Neighborhood

I was a freshman college student at the time.  Several of us sat in a dorm room watching the lottery on an officially banned TV.  As the numbers rolled across the screen, we felt very sorry for those selected early and cheered for those selected late.  As we left the...

John, Virginia, 1969. No. 304: The Divide Remains

I was a sophmore, having transfered to Madison from what was then Oshkosh State University.  An "upstate" Wisconsin native, everything about UW-Madison was strange and wondrous.  The draft lottery was one of a string of extraordinary experiences that year -- the...