BROWSE STORIES

Rod, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 90: Two Letters

I graduated from U. Wisconsin  with a B.S. in January of 1968 and was in premed.  I had not heard from the UW about medical school and continued to take courses with the thought of teaching if I did not get into medical school.  I received my notice to take my...

Jonathan, Pennsylvania, 1969. No. 272: Wearing The Number

I was a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin in Madison when the first draft lottery was drawn. The day after the lottery we all got up to go to class and were amazed at what we saw. Whether by conspiracy or coincidence many students were walking around with their...

Robert, New York, 1969. No. 117: One of the Chosen

I recall that day in horror. I was a second year student at the now infamous University of Wisconsin, Madison campus. We were well known as one of the leading schools in the country of protesting the war. I was on my way to a basketball game, listening on the radio to...

Jonathan, Oregon, 1969. No. 240: An MD Behind Your Name

The number didn't matter.I graduated from the Univ. of Wisconsin in 1968 and went on to the UW School of Medicine.  Graduating in 1972 and completing an internship the following year, I was 100% draft eligible and in the sights of the draft board as the military was...

Scott,Wisconsin, 1969. No. 119: Staying In School

My dominant thought when the numbers were drawn was to focus on staying in school. I always felt somehow the draft wouldn't grab me. I remember hearing of a frat boy throwing a television at the wall and others getting "fall down" drunk. 119 was a number that was a...

David, Wisconsin, 1969. Parameters of Conscience

Truthfully, I don't actually remember my specific lottery number, just that it was rather high (near the likely breakpoint for call-ups).  I was already a university student so my original draft status of 1-A-O granted when I turned 18 for religious objection to war...

George, Florida: Army Tutorial

When the lottery began I was an Army Captain on extended leave from the military attending law school at the University of Florida.  As a consequence the lottery had no impact on me.  Not so my fellow law students who were in a state of panic as they saw their...

Terry, New York, 1969. No. 162: Uncle Sam's Wedding Present

I entered graduate school at UW-Madison in Fall, 1967, and was married in the summer of 1968. A wedding present from Uncle Sam was a low draft number and induction proceedings started the next year, I think. My physical didn't exclude me (Darn!) but when I went before...

William, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 81: Army Cooking

I had a student deferment until the lottery was implemented.  In December of 1969 I was in my first year of law school at the University of Wisconsin.  In early 1970 the 826th Ordinance unit of the U.S. Army Reserves, headquartered in Madison, returned from Vietnam. ...

Jon, Bosnia, 1969. No. 365: ROTC Shoes

I was draft-able, I-A I think they called it, for about a year before the lottery because my grade point was not that good. I had been in ROTC for about 2 years and thought that may have been why I was not in Viet Nam. Guys younger than I were being called up near...

Andy, New Jersey, 1969. No. 311: History of Struggle

I took a deep breath and realized that I was home free.  I could quit school, travel the land and no longer worry about the draft.  I also realized that the lottery took the wind out of the sails of the anti-draft movement and co-opted so many who, in a moment, were...

Tom, Texas, 1969. No. 208: Volunteering Not An Option

I had a student exemption before the draft lottery. I remember being very concerned about no longer being "protected" by the student exemption and I considered my options. Getting a reasonably high enough number put an end to my concerns and tentative planning....

Ramon, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 354: Tenor of the Times

I was at the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1967, and unsure of a major. The Vietnam Conflict was escalating, thanks to President LBJ, and I was concerned, and more than a little frightened. I was 18, away from home, meeting new and exciting people. It didn't...

Dennis, 1969. No. 324: Hello New Zealand, Bye-Bye America

I'll never forget that number 324. The next year when the numbers they called for active duty got up to 90 pretty fast I started to worry, again.  324 saved me a fast trip to Canada from Detroit and then the plan was to go to New Zealand.  It was going to be bye, bye...

Dave, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 182: The Final Semester

I watched the drawing on TV with my girlfriend  The projection was that the Selective Service would get beyond 182 in 1970 but maybe not in 1971. So I rescheduled my final semester of school and got a I-S deferment and got into the 1971 pool when they only drafted up...

Mike, Florida, 1969. No. 356: The Luckiest Moment

I can remember sitting in my parents' living room, in  front of the TV, with my best friend who was my age.  We were both very anxious about the lottery and spent the time by making bad jokes about what our numbers would be and what would become of us.  I remember my...

Mark, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 300: Geometry Not GPS

I was an ROTC cadet. I was not a good Army student, but was on track for getting my commission as a 2nd lieutenant. I fully expected to join the 98% who got their commission in the infantry. At that time, 2nd Lts. were forward observers, the guys who sneaked into...

Dennis, North Carolina, 1970. No. 88: Pleading With The Draft Board

In the spring of 1970 (April I think), four friends and myself gathered in an off-campus apartment to listen to the lottery drawing on the radio.  On that fateful day, while I was a junior in the College of Engineering at the University of Florida, my friends and I...

Richard, Pennsylvania, 1970. No. 243: The Boys On The Bus

I received a high lottery number in 1970 but don't recall the exact number, except that it put me pretty much out of harm's way. What was curious is that I was classified as 4-F in 1969 and I didn't expect to be in the lottery. I got the classification after my second...

Don, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 202: Safer Than Dodging Bullets

I was actually drafted in January of 1969 PRIOR to the lottery. I had dropped down to 12 credits at UW-Madison which, according to the draft board, made me eligible. An acquaintance of mine was a 20-year Naval Reserve vet who pulled some strings and got me in the...

James, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 235: Don't Shoot The General

I never had to get a student deferment -- I was classified 1-Y by my draft board on the basis of my terrible eyesight (they were afraid I'd shoot the general if I ever were to lose my glasses) and a history of asthma. There was great apprehension in the days leading...

Allen, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 7: First Degree Heart Block

We sat by a crackling radio listening to the draft lottery, which could determine the status of the rest of our lives.  The numbers moved very slowly.  We were anti-war and had participated in the student protests, some of which became violent.  It was a very exciting...

Robert, Washington, 1969. No. 294: Life in the Draft Lane

I attended UW-Milwaukee from 1965 to 1969 and then transferred to UW-Madison Law School in the summer of 1969.  I had been "protected" by a II-S deferment for my undergraduate years but sometime in 1968, I recall, the undersgraduate student deferment was ended and...

Stephen, Colorado, 1969. No. 51: A Bittersweet Moment

   When I received my undergraduate degree from UW Madison I was immediately sent my draft notice.  I decided to join the US Army reserves which was an option at that time.  I remember expecting to be sent to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri for training and being...

Bill, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 212: Dropping A Load

     In 1969 I had a student deferment since I was a full time student at Madison. My lucky number was 212, while my brother's number was in the 30's. He enlisted after college, but never went overseas. I waited to see how high the numbers would go at my county draft...

Paul, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 360: Just Like A Game Show

In the fall semester of 1969, I started graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  I had just graduated, having had the good fortune of a student deferment; but I probably would have been drafted by the end of the summer, were it not for two changes of...

Bill, Oregon, 1969. No. 34: The Sword of Damocles

When I headed off to the University of Wisconsin as a freshman in September, 1967, I didn't know much about Vietnam. My fellow freshmen and I assumed then that by the time we graduated, Vietnam would be behind us. But the war dragged on, and sometime during my...

Bob, Florida, 1969. No. 333: Difficult and Strange Times

The first 1969 lottery was a Monday night, broadcast nationally, in December of my sophomore year at the University of Florida. Before I left for class, a number of my fraternity brothers and myself each contributed $10 into a pool, to be given for the lowest number...

John, Florida, 1969. The Random Nature of Things

The lottery made me appreciate the random nature of things. I volunteered for the infantry and the Rangers and served overseas for 4+ wonderful fun-filled years. I thought I owed the country at least that much. Some gave a whole lot more. There isn't a day that I...

Fred, Florida, 1969. No. 325: No Need To Flee

I had just entered Grad School at UF the first year of the lottery.  I had a student deferment throughout my undergrad studies but learned that enrollment in Grad School didn't provide a deferment.  I really didn't know what I was going to do but was afraid to be...

Dave, Florida, 1969. No. 3: Remembering the Physical

I was in Atlanta, healing from a car accident when the lottery was done. Once back in college, I learned that there were many resources there to help fail the physical, and many people willing to help. My resolve to flunk the physical was fueled by my roommate who...

Andy, Indiana, 1969. No. 3: The Cowboy Doctor

I was a graduate student on a student deferment in Iowa City.  Damn, if my birthdate (Dec. 30th) didn't come up third!  I immediately got notice to report to Chicago for the physical. Because I was in Iowa, I petitioned for a change of location for the physical and...

Kiki, Florida, 1969. No. 69: All Evidence Returned

I started college in the fall of 1964 with a student deferment. After two years, I dropped out for a year, got married and had a kid. When I reapplied for my student deferment in 1967, some kind soul, to whom I will always be grateful, sent back my application with a...

Jeff, Florida, 1969. No. 257: What If?

I entered the University of Florida in 1964 and enrolled in the Army ROTC program the mandatory two years.  In order to ensure myself an educational deferment to attend law school and to serve as an officer if I had to serve at all, I voluntarily enrolled in the...

Bob, Florida, 1969. No. 256: The Draft Board's Landlord

I don't think anyone who was of draft age wouldn't remember that night. To my knowledge it wasn't even on TV but on the radio and if I remember correctly Ted Kennedy pulled the ping pong balls. I was at our apartment in Landmark with my roommate Bill who was also a...

Tony, Georgia, 1969. No 135: Greetings From Uncle Sam

I drew number 135 (well, if my memory is correct), but it was within the numbers actually called.   I took a chance and let my college deferment lapse, hoping my number would not be reached.  But it was.  I was called to Jacksonville for a pre-induction physical.  I...

John , Florida, 1969. No. 24: Life Turned Around

Even though I did not go to Viet Nam, this draft affected my life forever.  I was a college junior and ended up at No. 24.  Like many of us, I knew a lot of guys who had gone over there and a number who were never coming back.  I didn't want to go.We had student...

Pat, Florida, 1969. No. 335: High and Low

Because of my job I was unable to listen to the first 100 or so birthdays drawn in the first lottery.  When I returned to my apartrment my three roommates were all listening to the broadcast.  When I asked if my birthday had been called they responded that they didn't...

Geoffrey, Florida, 1969. No. 357: The Waste of War

Like everyone I was listening for my number on the radio. I couldn't believe my good luck. Over the next few days numbers were all anyone was talking about on campus (UF). I was glad of course but also sad for the fellows who did not do as well. In a way the guys with...

Jim, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 113: Forced Out

My birth date was 113 in the lottery.  I had to go to Milwaukee on a bus with a bunch of other young men and go through the military's screening tests.  I did NOT want to go to the war, which I thought was immoral and just plain wrong.  So I "checked the box" - that...

Edmund, New Jersey, 1966. Pre-Lottery MOS Draft

This is the story of Edmund Weinberg who served as a captain, Veterinary Corps, attached to Army Munitions Command, Ford Detrick, Frederick Maryland, 1966-1968. I write this to point out that everyone who served was not selected by or subject to the lottery; rather,...

Alan, Illinois, 1969. No. 364: Cramming At The Library

The evening of the very first lottery had everyone on campus glued to the TV or radio, save a few of us who had other considerations.  I was facing a major Econ exam scheduled for early the next morning and, not being an A student, needed every minute of study. ...

Tom, New York, 1969. No. 30: Packing Up A Life In Five Days

Since 1969 I have been telling friends that the only lottery that I have ever won was the 1969 draft lottery.  I remember being in the den of my dorm (I was the Housefellow) watching TV with all the other residents. Just men at the time and most all eligible for...

Ron, Illinois, 1969. No. 95: The Built-Up Heel

I attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison, during the years 1969 - 1971 after completing my first two years of college near my home at the UW Sheboygan Center Campus. I feel privileged to have attended the UW during that unique and memorable time in history. I...

Robert, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 9: Local Board Rules

I grew up and went to undergrad school (BS, 68) in Kansas where as far as my local draft board was concerned your only choices were: join the weekend warriors (National Guard), go to college for 4 years – with a C average - and then submit to the draft, shoot off a...

Michael, New Jersey, 1969. No. 354: Late for the Lottery

I was a grad student in Chemistry and our laboratory planned to listen to the radio as the numbers were read.  (I was 1-A and slated to go....) I got stuck in traffic on Park Ave. and arrived late after the lottery had started--the numbers were already up to...

Dan, Indiana, 1969. No. 22: Smoking Stogies

I was a junior at the University of Wisconsin and lived with 5 other guys in a dumpy house on Orchard Street.  We gathered in our living room that evening to watch the lottery.  I "won" when my number was drawn at 22.  I was relieved in a way since I knew that I had...

Ridgley, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 45: Sole Surviving Son

I sure remember the night of the lottery.  My friends and I gathered at the KK (the old one on State) to watch the proceedings. I was number 45 (August 2), a very low number.  Quite the party ensued that evening.  In those days, all males had to take 6 weeks (I think)...

Nick, Florida, 1969. No. 59: C.O. Status–Pumping Cheap Gas

I was in my junior year at UW-Madison under a student deferment when the lottery was initiated and my birthday came up No. 59; so I knew that meant I would likely go to Viet Nam upon graduation in June 1971.  I went to Milwaukee in the spring of 1971 for my physical...

John, Florida, 1969. A Second Crack

I rebroke a cracked finger just to qualify for what turned out to be my high lottery number. The draft made me anti-war and ant-draft for life.