BROWSE STORIES

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...

Paul, Kansas, 1969. No. 167: No One Shot At Me

I found out my number from the TV in my dorm lobby. (McCollum Hall). My number might have been high enough to keep me out but my home county (Doniphan) had a small population.I enlisted in the Navy to avoid the Army and spent the next four years in California and...

John, Kansas, 1969. No. 082. Faced With Decisions

As I recall, KU had a home basketball game that night.  I and one of my roommates went to the game; the other stayed home to watch the drawing.  When we returned it was obvious the roommate who had stayed home had been drinking.  I said something to the effect that...

James, Texas, 1969. No. 011: The Gates of Leavenworth

     In December 1969 I was a married, fourth-year graduate student in chemistry at the University of Kansas when I drew No. 11 in the draft lottery. I had successfully completed the requirements for a Ph.D. and was in the process of publishing my doctoral thesis. In...

Carl, North Carolina, 1969. No. 078: Mostly Came Back

In October 1969 I decided I would finish that semester, then drop out of college and bartender for awhile. I wanted to take a break. I was skinny, had flat feet and thought I would never qualify for service. The night of the lottery everyone was watching. My number...

Robert, Kansas, 1969. No. 247: Life or Death For Some

I was studying electrical engineering at the University of Kanas, which was a 4 1/2 year program.  We had to convince my draft board to give me the final 6 months draft deferment to finish the degree. I had been notified earlier in the year that I would be drafted as...

Ron, Texas, 1969. No. 256: Ride Out The Year

My experience with the draft began in 1964. That year, like many men, I asked for a four year college deferment. Since my degree was Architecture and it was a five year program, I was not sure what would happen at the end of year four. I then had to beg for the fifth...

Pete, Kansas, 1969. No. 193: A Big Target

I was lottery number 193.  At the time of the drawing I was a senior at the University of Kansas and was going to graduate in May of 1970.  I felt sure I would be drafted as soon as I graduated.  I'm 6'4" tall and weighed about 250 and all my buddies made fun of how...

Scott, Colorado, 1969. No. 168: On the Air.

At the time I received my draft lottery notification, I decided to enlist in the U.S. Air Force for four years.  I majored in Journalism (Radio-TV-Film) at KU and received my B.S. degree in 1970.  The Air Force needed broadcast journalists at that time, so I...

Greg, Texas, 1969. No. 244: Change of Outlook

The lottery was pretty scary on the campus of the University of Kansas, and a lot of the fear of getting a low draft number was masked by gallows humor.  One fraternity had a "you bet your life" drawing.  Each member put in $5.00 and the one with the lowest number won...