BROWSE STORIES

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...

David, Kansas, 1969. No. 285: It Was Maddening

I remember very distinctly sitting with about 400 other guys in the dormitory at KU (Templin I believe) watching the TV show that would announce our lottery numbers.  As the evening started, men that got a low number were shocked.  Many started weeping, some seemed ok...

Charles, Kansas, 1969. No. 335: What Were The Odds?

I was attending the University of Kansas when the 1969 draft lottery was implemented. At the time I was living in a coed dorm, McCollum Hall and we all gathered around the television in the main lobby. This is a large dorm; three wings, 10 stories so there was a...

Mark, Kansas, 1969: No. 289: Wrong Birthday

I was keenly aware of the televised draft lottery on December 1, 1969 and very scared for the outcome and how it might affect me.  Rather than suffer through watching all the 366 draws, I chose to attend KU's home basketball game vs. Marshall University.  I'm not sure...

Rich, Kansas, 1969. No. 159: Random Absurdity

There are a handful of numbers you always remember. The street address of your childhood home. Your social security number. The date of your wedding anniversary. And, if you are a man of certain age, you remember your draft lottery number. Mine was 159.You remember...

Rick, Kansas, 1969. No. 357: We Need to Celebrate

I was a junior at the University of Kansas, studying for a physical chemistry test that night and somewhat oblivious to the drawing.  My girlfriend called me and said they just drew my number.  I asked "OK, so what was it?"  "No. 357".  "The hell with P Chem, I think...

Mark, Kansas, 1969. No. 016: Not on the Plan

I was in medical school with a deferment when the lottery was held. I was due to graduate in 1972 so I was considering the Berry Plan. The Associate Dean was a General in the Air Force Reserves and told me that the draft would end for sure in 1972, and not to sign up...

Craig, Illinois, 1969. No. 129: Ignore the Army

My draft number in the 1969 lottery was 129, but I beat the draft.I received a draft notice in December 1966, but by then I had already enlisted in the Marines for 4 years in November 1966, and was scheduled to go on active duty to Parris Island in March 1967. I asked...

Bruce, Kansas, 1969. Winning His Own Pool

I was a member of the Delta Chi fraternity, and one of the guys that was a math major started a pool for the upcoming draft lottery. It cost five dollars to enter and the person with the lowest draft number would win the cash in the pool. Don went through the house...

George, Minnesota, 1969. No. 001: That Was Yesterday

I thought I was just lucky but after I watched the lottery at my parents' house everything changed.  My birthdate of September 14 was drawn first. I went in the Army and after basic I was told I would drive a Tracker Trailer in Vietnam. I was assigned to the 534th...

Toli, Kansas, 1969. No. 104: NROTC To Annapolis

In 1970, I was living in Naismith Hall on the top floor with other KU graduate students.  I was already enrolled in the NROTC program, so I was not going to be drafted no matter what my lottery number turned out to be.  It was 104.  I did not even know my number until...

Roger, Kansas, 1969. No. 234: Appreciation

I was at Sterling College when the first lottery was drawn that affected me.  I remember that we were all in the basement TV room. As the early dates were drawn, if it was a birthdate of one of guys in the room they just got up went to  their rooms and packed up and...

David, Oregon, 1971. No.003: One of the Fortunate

I was drafted on March 18, 1971, two weeks before I graduated from high school. I was 18. I went to the recruiter office in Portland Oregon and asked if they could wait until I graduated before I went to get killed. They said yes. But then my brother-in-law who had...

Bob, Florida, 1969. No. 271: What Might Have Been

I graduated from High School in 1967. After graduation I registered for the draft and qualified for a college student deferment. I kept up my student deferment through the first 2 years of Community College and then transferred to the University of South Florida. I...

Fritz, Kansas, 1969. No. 350: Small Town Doc-Delivered and Deferred

Throughout my college years I enjoyed a college deferment,  until graduating and losing my deferment in 1969, before the lottery in December of that year. This made me subject to the draft--my eventual high lottery number did not yet apply.  So I was called to report...

Charles, Indiana. The Draft v. All Volunteer Force

In 1969 I was an undergraduate student at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS. I had served in the U.S. Air Force from 1960-1964.  My classification was "non-obligated". In 1965 I joined the Air Force Reserve and served at Richards-Gebaurs AFB, MO. I was able to...

Tom, Pennsylvania, 1969. No. 283: Not the Winner

In 1969 I transferred to KU as a junior and lived in Ellsworth Hall.  We had a great group of guys on my floor and the lottery was a big deal that all of us viewed with trepidation. As that first lottery night approached the tension mounted--all of us concerned about...

Bob, Texas, 1969. No. 309: Follow The Dream

The only reason I was going to school at Texas Tech was because of the Vietnam War. I had a student deferment and as long as I stayed in school and made my grades, for the immediate future at least, I couldn't be "called up." I didn't know what to do with my life, but...

Kevin, Ohio, 1969. No. 273: Moans and Cheers at Sigma Nu.

All the brothers were gathered in the basement of the Sigma Nu house for the drawing. There were moans and cheers going on all night. Many got low birth dates and rushed out to join the National Guard the next day. I for one got a fairly high number abd dropped my...

Bud, Michigan, 1969. No. 061: Thanks For Nothing

Out of high school in 1968. Drafted into the Army 1970. Sent to Vietnam 1970. 15 months in-country, discharged. Welcomed back at the Chicago Airport in 1971 by protesters yelling "baby killer". Muscle problems at the age of 63 due to Agent Orange exposure. Thanks a...

Stephen, Oklahoma, 1969. No. 365: Thanks to Mom and Dad

My fraternity brothers and I listened to the first lottery on the radio.  The reception was so poor, I had to listen to the recap to finally hear what number I was. I thought I had missed it. The people with low numbers left that night for Wichita, Topeka or Kansas...

Alan, California, 1969. No. 279: Born On The Fourth of July

Sometime before the lottery I made a sarcastic comment that I would automatically draw No. 1 since my birhtday is July 4th.  In fact, I only watched maybe the first 120 numbers being called, then I went to my room to study.  One of my roommates got number 17.  He was...

Tom, Iowa, 1969. No. 063: Focus, Fear And Intimidation

I thought I was against the war (it was the popular position). When I drew lottery number 63, it seemed like Canada was in my future. But there was this girl named Judy, and I loved her, and she was not interested in Canada.Then Rocky (friend of Judy's) and I talked,...

Paul, Kansas, 1969. No. 068: Advantages Of Being A Dentist

In 1969 I was a fourth year student in pharmacy school at the University of Kansas.  Pharmacy school was a five year program and I was draft deferred. A friend of mine was in dental school (also deferred).  He spoke highly of the advantages of being a dentist.  I...

Eddie, Georgia, 1969. No. 346: What Did Letterman Do?

I didn't know the 1969 lottery was announced on TV or the radio.  The next day we all went to a friend's house and got the Atlanta Jounal to search for our birthdays.  When I got to the 300th birthday listed, I thought I must have missed my birthday of April 12th.  I...

Leigh, California, 1970. No. 292: Russian Roulette

I was an undergraduate at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, pursuing a degree in English and recently married. I had been opposed to the Vietnam War since 1965 and had participated in protests at KU. When I heard about the proposed lottery, I told my wife...

Gus, Kansas, 1969. No. 127: Fact of Life

I enrolled at Kansas University in the fall of 1966 from a small town in southwest Kansas.  The Viet Nam war was on and there were occasional protests on campus in the late 60s.  On the day the lottery numbers were announced, all of us in the Sigma Nu fraternity...

Jetz, Kansas, 1969. No. 257: Worked For Me

We listened to the lottery on the radio in a study room of the frat house. I remember holding my breath each time they called a number. I got really nervous when the first number called was Sept 14. My birth date was Sept. 28. Then two more September numbers were...

Vince, Kansas, 1969. No. 358: Mood Change

I had just returned to my fraternity house after a KU basketball game. The lottery numbers were being announced on the radio. As the numbers were drawn the mood changed dramatically as those with low numbers realized their lives were immediately changed. Girlfriends...

Bruce, Illinois, 1971. No. 044: Welcome Home

I was 19 years old when my number (44) was drawn in the 1971 lottery (June 19th). I was called to duty in July 1972, having turned 20 by then. I had been married about 18 months and had a little boy about the same age. I went to Ft. Leonard Wood, MO for my basic...

James, Kansas, 1969. No. 017: Unknown Directions

Throughout my early years at K.U., I knew that mandatory military service was an issue I would need to address eventually.  I was not shying away from it, but it was just easier to postpone it until after graduation. My student deferment would expire in June 1970, and...

John, Kansas, 1969. No. 210: Not Going Back To San Antonio

After the Selective Service called up 30 lottery numbers in each month for January, February, and March of 1970, I felt like the lottery was just another government joke to get the public (mainly those of us of military age) off their backs...a postponing action.  It...

Al, California, 1969. No. 190: Green, Blue or White

My roommate Pete and I decided we didn’t want to listen to the lottery that night; instead we would wait for the numbers to be published the next morning.  When I awoke the next day I found Pete in the bathroom holding up a green shirt, blue shirt and white shirt in...

John, Ohio, 1969. No. 167: Terrifying and Mesmerizing

It was my Junior year at the University of Kansas. The Vietnam War raged on, both abroad and at home. Overseas, my high school classmates, college fraternity brothers, and college classmates fought and were injured or killed in a conflict that, to this day, honestly...

Tom, Kansas, 1969. No. 180: Undiluted Protest

In 1969 I was a sophomore at KU, and my older brother was a senior, my younger brother a freshman.  We had all been opposed to the Vietnam War since at least 1964, and had many dinner table conversations about it, finally even convincing our World War II Navy veteran...

David, Kansas, 1969. No. 300: Pre-Internet

I was a junior at the University of Kansas when the draft lottery was introduced. While I don't remember my number exactly, I know it was in the 300's. I was a reporter at the University Daily Kansan (UDK), and worked the night of the Lottery. This was well before the...

Steve, Illinois, 1969. No. 020: After the Game

I remember I was at KU and on the draft night I wanted to go to the KU basketball game--I did not miss a game. When I came back afterwards, I was told my number was 20, which was a real jolt for me because I knew with that number, I would be drafted. And it seemed...

Don, Kansas, 1969. No. 109: Stage Presence

I was at a Kansas-Wisconsin basketball game at the U. of Kansas the night of the lottery. One of the cheerleaders announced, "September 14, you're number 1." When I got back to my apartment, I called my parents, and my tearful mother informed me that I had a low...

Joseph, New York, 1969. No. 188: Truly Useless

I remember watching the draft on TV in New York City. I'm not sure if I was at home or at college that day, but to me it was academic as I was in college with a student deferment until 1972.I graduated high school in 1967 and was considered an outcast as I was...

Steve, Texas, 1969. No. 039: How I Met My Wife

I didn't know it at the time, but having a low lottery number would enable me to meet and marry the most wonderful woman ever. I was a senior at the University of Kansas majoring in electrical engineering when my number of 39 was drawn.  I thought, oh xxxx!  I went on...

Steve, Nebraska, 1969. No. 190: Submitted Without Consent

It was the year of the first lottery. I recall sitting around the television room at my fraternity house, drinking beer, and watching our futures unfold. Kind of scary. My number was fairly high but I felt badly for those in the room who had a low number drawn. This...

Terrill, California, 1969. No. 001: Same Number, Different Paths

The lottery really didn't affect me personally.  By the time the first number was being drawn, I had been in Vietnam for a little over 3 months.  I was with the 3rd Marines in I Corps, and had been running patrols and night ambushes all that time.Here's the thing, I'm...