BROWSE STORIES

Ted, Virginia, 1969. No. 114: The Luckiest Draftee

I was with a group of my fraternity brothers the night they announced the numbers. One of them actually got #1 but as it turned out my #114 wasn't any better.  Got my induction notice in Sept. 1970 and flew from Richmond, VA to Ft. Campbell, KY for basic training.  At...

Mitchell, New Jersey, 1971. No. 153: That Simple Reality

Deferments were relegated to history by the time I became eligible for call-up, as was only fair. As it turned out, no draft board went above 95 for 1972, which turned out to be the last full year of the draft. Although I took no evasive action to avoid service, to...

Charlie, Georgia, 1969. No. 253: Like Watching the Super Bowl

I graduated from Robert E. Lee high school in Jacksonville in '67.  Guys I knew where already in Vietnam by their own enlistments, including my brother.  I was enrolled in junior college which gave me a deferral for the remainder of '67 and the first half of '68.  I...

Brad, South Dakota, 1969. No. 191: No Regrets Whatsoever

I graduated from high school in 1966.  My dad was a WW-II veteran and I always had it in the back of my mind to eventually enter the service.  I bounced in and out of two different colleges after getting out of high school and in the late fall of 1969 it became...

John, Ohio, 1971. No. 287: Contrary Opinion

The draft ended for me when I received the number 287 in the 1971 lottery. From the  results of previous lotteries, I knew that I had a high enough number that I wouldn't be called. I had grown up with the draft and came to several opinions.I opposed military service...

Bob, Texas, 1972. No. 005: Heard About It on the Radio

The date of my draft lottery was Feb. 2, 1972.  I was riding home from college with my two best friends since high school when we heard about it on the radio.  The news announcer read off the first five dates in order and when he said "and, July 21" as the 5th number...

Eric, Missouri, 1969. No. 136: Fortune Smiled

As a graduating senior – Class of 1970 – I followed the Selective Service Lottery with a great deal of interest. That famous December night in 1969 found a large group of us huddled around the television in my fraternity house. We hung on every number as it was drawn...

Terry, Maryland, 1969. No. 026: Smoothing Sharp Edges

I graduated from Carolina in the spring of 1969, with only a vague notion of what to do with my life. After taking creative writing under Max Steele, I fancied myself a budding novelist; Carolina law school was Plan B. But nothing could happen until the dark cloud of...

Dan, 1971. No. 095: What I Needed to Do

I had drawn number 95 and a good friend of mine had drawn number 96. We just figured that we would both be drafted and that maybe we could end up together. It was in the summer of 1972 when my mother showed up at my work with my draft notice. I can still remember the...

Tom, Missouri, 1969. No. 071: What the Air Force Does

When I entered college in 1965 I knew that no war in our history had lasted over 5 years, and was convinced that Vietnam would not either. Surely I could nurse a II-S deferment for that long.  I'd graduate and live happily ever after!  Well, that part came true.  As...

Robert, Missouri, 1969. No. 050: Learning Our Fate at Midnight

I was a senior student at the University of Missouri in the fall of 1969 and was due to graduate in May of 1970 thereby losing my college exemption. On lottery night I went with all my other Sigma Nu fraternity senior brothers to our favorite beer joint in Columbia,...

Steven, Oklahoma, 1969. No. 274: Women and Children First

My friends and I met at the Heidelburg Tavern to watch the drawing on TV. I went to college because I was able to get a student deferment.  When they did away with that, it was the lottery that protected me.  My number that night was 274 and I was happy because it was...

Robert, Missouri, 1969. No. 013: Lucky Thirteen

The evening of the first lottery drawing, I was listening to the radio in my apartment while shaving and showering in preparation for a date with my wife-to-be, Carol.  I thought I'd heard my birth date announced very early, but I wasn't sure.  They kept repeating the...

Ken, Missouri, 1969. No. 193: Negative Reinforcement

Vietnam conscription was my negative reinforcement to remain in college, not drop out in my sophomore year on account of indecision. When I graduated high school 1965 it was with honors and a full scholarship to VMI (VA Military Institute) if I wanted it. Because of...

David, Minnesota, 1969. No. 001: Fort Benning School for Boys

I enlisted in the US Army Reserve in 1968, being one of the thousands of graduate students whose deferments were cancelled by LBJ in the spring of 1968.  At that time, before the lottery, the draft was applied on the basis of oldest first.  All of us who had held...

Kent, Texas, 1969. No. 234: Never Heard From Again

In November of 1965 while attending Washburn University (as a junior) I was kicked out for violating their rules regarding the use of alcohol.  Within four days of that event I was notified by my local draft board in Wilson County, Kansas to report for a pre-induction...

David, Kansas, 1969. No. 163: Defense Work

I was caught up in it like everyone else at that time. The night they held the lottery, I was busy with other things, and did not know the results until the next day. When I saw that my number was 163, I knew it probably was not high enough to escape the call-up. I...

John Ben, 1969, New York. No. 013: The Licorice Strategy

I knew the moment I found out my number, even though it was very low, that I would not have to serve in Vietnam.  13 has always been my lucky number as it is my birth date.  Indeed, I graduated from the University of Kansas at mid-year and knew no school district...

Mark, Kansas, 1969. Three Outcomes

I was a senior living in a scholarship hall at KU when the lottery numbers were drawn.  I had already been accepted into medical school, so I was deferred.  After my residency, the military had no interest in me anymore.  My two senior roommates had different...

David, 1969. No. 016: No Vietnam

In 1969 my lottery number was 16. I was attending college part time when I was drafted in December 1970, with orders for Ft. Polk (basic) and then Vietnam. So I ran around looking for other options. I enlisted a few days later in the Army Reserve and went to basic...

Bob, Texas, 1969. No. 323: Basic Training Chow Line

I graduated from KU in June of 1969. Local Board 47 in Independence, Kansas had me reclassified to I-A and drafted even before KU mailed my diploma to me. I was standing in a basic training chow line when I found out my lottery number was 323--talk about bad timing....

Mark, Missouri, 1969. No. 290: Listening On The Transistor Radio

After graduation in '69 I went to work for a large science company which had over twenty engineers affected by the lottery.  We had our own lottery that cost $5 to get in; in '69 a dime could buy morning coffee, the afternoon candy bar and the daily newspaper.  A...

Stephen, Washington, 1969. No. 098: Keep the Bag in Your Hand

I'm amazed to think how unaware I was, beyond the desire to stay out of the Army.  If my eyes had been better I would have gone into the Air Force and might have ended up at the Hanoi Hilton.  The Air Force would have taken me but not as a pilot.  I opted for Naval...

Michael, Kansas, pre-lottery: Regardless of Validity

I was drafted in the summer of 1969 a few months before the lottery went into effect.  I am now a disabled combat veteran of Viet Nam due to Agent Orange, PTSD etc.  I am very proud of my service and that I was patriotic enough to go to war for my country and not try...

Frank, 1971. No. 034: Serving My Way

I was a pacifist Bahai at the time of the war, having applied for a I-A-0 and been dropped to II-S since I was in college.  Saint Louis Univ. started a BSSW program so I transferred to the School of Social Work.  Never having draft age men they didn't know how to...

Phil, Texas, 1969. No. 130: The Army Won't Pay

Graduated from KU in June, 1969. Went home to St. Louis area and went to work. Got a notice (don't remember when in 1969) to report to the St. Louis (Missouri) Army Depot for a "pre-induction physical". Got on a bus near where I lived and got a ride to the Army...

Marty, Arkansas, 1969. No. 058: Renewed Enthusiasm

Memory and fact do not necessarily match.  I could swear I was in Lawrence, Kansas at the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity common room watching the draft lottery on TV when my number was drawn.  However, that cannot be true, because I graduated in June 1969 and was in...

Dennis, Kentucky, 1969. No. 168: Dateline

29 May 1969: graduated High School7 August 1969: turned 19 years old28 September 1969: I-S classification (high school student) expired16 October 1969: draft physical passed26 November 1969: draft lottery signed into law29 November 1969: enlisted Kentucky National...

Kevin, Florida, 1971. No. 256: Years of Pondering

The Draft wasn’t scary. At least not to me. Even in high school I understood that rich, connected kids didn’t go to war unless they wanted to establish an appearance of honor upon which to build a career as a politician.  I thought everybody should “serve” doing...

Randy, Kansas, 1969. Best Meal of My Life

I graduated in the spring of 1969. There was no lottery at that time. In the summer of that year I was instructed by my draft board to go to Kansas City for the physical. I can’t remember if we were bused over or took the train, but the induction center was nearUnion...

Mark, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 064: AWOL After Kent State

I was one of those caught up in the first draft lottery. I can remember sitting around with a group of friends in Madison, Wisconsin watching the lottery picks on TV. My number was 64 and I knew that I would get drafted.The day after the lottery picks were announced...

Tim, Kansas, 1969. No. <100: Coast Guard No, Teaching Yes

I had considered but rejected applying for CO status (I philosophically endorsed WWII), and yet I objected to the Vietnam war. When I got a lowish (under 100) number, I also applied to the US Coast Guard (my option if Graduate School did not get me a deferment) but...

Larry, New York. Happily Ever After

Here is my story about the draft.  My classification was changed from II-S to I-A during that time.  I was notified to put my affairs in order, such as tell my landlord that I had been called up and that I would no longer need my apartment.  I did so.  I also packed...

Keith, Kansas, 1969. No. 327: America Was Saved

I could never recall my SSN without looking it up until I turned 65, but my draft number in the lottery is one I have never forgotten. July 6th, No. 327.  Even though I had no trouble maintaining my grades, that announcement removed all pressure from the selective...

Pat, Missouri, 1969. No. 027: Poor Choice of Day To Be Born

The night of the first draft lottery all the guys in my fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, were listening to the radio for the draft numbers to be called. When my birthday (July 21st) was called as No. 27, there was a great deal of screaming and yelling at my expense by my...

Mark, Kansas, 1969. No. 300: Not Considered Equal

I was in the first class to be in the lottery but unlike the class to follow we were still able to keep our student deferment if we stayed in college.  I was living in Ellsworth Hall at KU and all the guys were gathered around the 7th floor lobby TV as it happened. My...

David, Kansas, 1969. No. 195: Renege on the Pledge

Oliver Hall, 10th Floor, had a TV in the common area lobby. Everybody gathered to watch the lottery as it was broadcast live. As numbers came out, there were groans and cheers. I drew number 195, reasonably safe, but it was irrelevant to me because I had a I-D...

Chris, Missouri, 1969. No. 007: On My Own Terms

At the time of the draft lottery I had 3 roommates in an off campus apartment.  I was a first year law student. One guy was in the Coast Guard, one was in Navy ROTC and due to be commissioned an Ensign, the third was a draft dodger who swore that if he got drafted he...

Alan, North Carolina, 1969. No. 128: Admonition From A Sergeant

In that first draft lottery I drew number 128, and most of the significant events in my life flowed from that moment, in one way or the other. After graduation from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1970, I began preparing to be drafted for service in Southeast Asia. A friend...

Steve, Kansas, 1969: At the Fieldhouse

I vividly remember being in Allen Fieldhouse, at a KU basketball game, sitting with friends in seats directly behind the basket (where we always sat), when I learned that my lottery number was sufficiently high that I could avoid going to war.  It was bittersweet--I...

Cliff, Kansas, 1969. No. 179: Agony and Ecstasy

I was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon at KU when the initial draft lottery was held. Like a number of houses, we had a $5 pool amongst the members with the lowest draft number winning the pool. The chapter room was packed with guys as the draft pull began. Everyone was...

Carmelo, Kansas, 1969. No. 168: Temporary Sigh of Relief

I recall being very nervous before the lottery. My GPA was struggling at the time as I had just been dismissed for poor scholarship, and had to apply for probation status to continue for one more semester. My brother Charles and I were registered with Draft Board 100...

Bill, Kansas, 1969. No 008: The Difference A Day Makes

I was a sophomore at KU when the drawing was held, but having a student deferment kept me from dwelling on the reality of the situation.  As 1971 was nearing its end, I had accepted my certain fate and had even signed up to get the physical (just in case I wasn't as...

Peter, Kansas, 1968. Year of Reckoning

My year of reckoning was 1968. I had already decided to volunteer for Navy flight but after acing the written test was told I didn't pass their physical. I had no interest in being a swabby or being in the Air Force (bad uniforms) and the Marines were a little too...

Steve, Kansas, 1969. No. 204: The Determinator

I felt relatively comfortable with 204 until I received my "Pre-Induction" notice to report for the physical examination (PE). Impending doom fell over me, for I then believed that the Selective Service forecasters presumed I would be drafted. I had 100 percent...

Marvin, Florida, 1969. No. 002: Go Figure

I had been in Vietnam for almost 9 months when they had the lottery drawing in December 1969, so go figure, that's how my luck is. I have still not won another lottery since. I did win something though--I came back alive.

Craig, California, 1971. No. 077: Whole Different Perspective

I can remember thinking, it's just my luck to get a low number.  You have a whole different perspective about the war when it goes from watching it on TV to the reality that you can be in the front line fighting for your life.  I ended up enlisting in the Army....

Stephen, Alabama, 1971. No. 056: Fuel For The Colonel's Jeep

My birth date is December 11, 1952. I finished high school in May 1971. I began college September 1971. My lottery number 56 was called up so I had to leave college and began basic training August 21, 1972 at Ft Knox, Ky. While in basic training I volunteered to go...

Dave, Kansas, 1969. No. 041: Clueless

I was clueless. I knew about the draft, but didn't give it much thought. I had no control over the outcome. I was headed out to a bar that night, but stopped by the 'tube' room to check out the proceedings. My number--41--was called early, which only gave me more time...

Mark, Iowa, 1969. No. 348: Still Remember

I was at my parents' house for a family gathering when my father turned the TV on. We both sat there and watched the lottery being played. After I don't know how long, my birthdate, November 3rd, was called. To my relief, I was No. 348. Most of my friends were not so...