BROWSE STORIES

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...

Michael, Kansas, 1969. No. 027: Procrastination

Mine was a paradoxical story.  Although I drew a low number, I had a I-Y classification at the time due to a congenital back condition.  Later when I was accepted to medical school I again became draft eligible.  Most of my medical school classmates signed up for...

Stephen, Kansas, 1969. No. 232: Lottery Night Romance

I was a senior at the University of Kansas. Oh, yes! I remember well the night of the first draft lottery in 1969. First of all, I was enjoying the company of a beautiful, young woman, Donna, to whom I later proposed and married. We decided to lay in bed and enjoy...

Doug, Texas, 1969. No. 343: Good Use of A Reprieve

I happen to have kept my draft card. Dated 6-20-67, and signed by Mildred E Walters. My selective service number was 14 68 49 ***, and I was classified II-S. I came across it, for the first time in 40-some years, just last week.  Luckily for me, my date of birth...

Paul, Kansas, 1969. No. 166: The Band Plays On

I graduated from the University of Kansas in January, 1970 with a degree in Music Education. In those days we came back to school for a couple of weeks after Christmas break, had finals, and then the semester was over. February 1, 1970 my wife and I purchased a music...

Jon, Kansas, 1969: Fortunate Son

I was among the fortunate sons who received a draft deferral or exemption simply because I was able to attend college. That privileged status continued through medical school and into residency. Nonetheless, on that fateful (for some) night, we crowded in to watch the...

Charles, Illinois, 1970. No. 167: Beneficial Training

My lottery number was called in my last month of eligibility, and I received an induction notice during my first year of law school at Boston College.  I notified my Selective Service Office, which gave me a deferment to the end of the school year.  In the interim I...

Al, Colorado, 1969. No. 135: By The Grace of God

I had one quarter of school left to complete my degree requirements.  In August of 1969 a busload of potential draftees, self included, had been bussed to Denver AAFES (Army Air Force Examining Station) for our pre-induction physical. I passed with flying colors. I...

Terry, 1963

I started college in 1963 (age 18) at SUNY Stony Brook New York and continued for 5 semesters before joining the Marine Corps. I expected to serve 2 years then return and complete my engineering degree. We all knew that service of some kind was bound to occur sooner...

Don, Illinois, 1969. No. 048: Six-pack in Hand

I was a senior at Eastern Illinois University. I was in the trailer of a fraternity brother, six-pack of beer in hand. My number came up 48. I signed up for the delayed entry program -decided on schooling for air traffic controller - but my father, a retired Army Lt...

Terry, Maryland, 1969. No. 087: Tower Rat

I was living in Annapolis, Md. In October 1969 I turned 19. In November 1969 I took and passed my pre-induction physical in Baltimore. In December 1969 my birthday got No. 087 in the lottery. Then I heard nothing more for all of 1970. My family moved to South...

Bill, Georgia, 1969. No. 206: Events and Reactions

My memory is clear regarding that day in 1969.  We were all huddled on the front porch of our fraternity house in Athens, Georgia with our radio tuned to 960 AM, WRFC.  Our friend, Don Cox, was on the air as the wire services were releasing the birth dates as they...

Mark, Kansas, 1969. No. 127: Marriage and Scotland

I was to get my B.Sc. degree from KU in May 1970, and planned to be married that same month. My wife and I would then be off to Scotland for graduate school in Aberdeen in August 1970. I had received a Direct Exchange Scholarship from KU to attend school in a UK...

Brian, Oregon, 1969. No. 080: Getting Fat for Six Months

Several of us spent the evening drinking and listening as the numbers were called.  There were six of us and as it turned out five of us wound up in the first 100 numbers called.  By the end of the evening we were all drunk.  Despite the fact we were all students we...

Phil, Oregon, 1969. No. 125: Bumpy Career

For 45 years I have been haunted by the fact that if I had been born less than four hours earlier my lottery number would have been 359 and, most certainly, my life would have been very different. Standing on the steps of a college dorm on that evening in December,...

Dan, Maryland, 1969. No. 300: Another Way to the Army

Prior to the draft lottery, I had received a notice from Selective Service to report for my Armed Forces physical the day after college graduation. I figured that if I was going to be drafted, I would explore volunteering so that I'd have some say in what I did in the...

Houston, Florida, 1969. No. 353: 40 Years Is Enough

The night of the 1969 draft lottery, I was a junior at the University of Georgia. I was a junior college transfer. We were gathered around the TV in the fraternity house. I thought I had missed my number as it was getting towards the end. I then heard my birthday and...

Craig, Georgia, 1969. No 016: Leaving for the Bar

I watched the lottery on TV with my fraternity.  As our birthdates were selected we left for the bar, some out of depression and some out of joy.I spent the following 3 years staying in school.  After graduation I spent the next 6 months appealing my I-A for medical...

Terry, Georgia, 1969. No. 229: The Peril of Run-On Sentences

I remember the draft well. Pass all your classes, you keep a II-S deferment. Fail one class, I-A! One of my friends failed his English term paper because of run-on sentences and fragments. (Today your computer would catch those errors). He failed the class, was...

Neil, South Carolina, 1970. No. 083: Before and After

Like B.C and A.D., the lottery divided my life on earth into two distinct parts: before this and after this. In advance of the lottery, military experts had informed us that people with numbers lower than about 150 were sure to be drafted. My number was 83. Thus I was...

Rus, North Carolina, 1969. No. 305: On the Radio

Five or six of us gathered in my Russell Hall dorm room at the University of Georgia. We didn't have a TV, so we turned our radio up so as not to miss a date. The early dates were met with a hushed tension, but as the time scrolled on, most of us became more relaxed...

Michael, Louisiana, 1969. No. 212: Anti-War Rally With Forrest Gump

Even though I got a relatively high number in the draft, I was still nervous about the impending pre-induction physical. When I went in to Fort Hamilton (in Brooklyn) for my "reguired by law pre-induction physical," all I could think about was, "How the hell am I...

Lamar, Georgia, 1969. No. 250: Biggest Lottery of Our Lives

I graduated high school in 1968. Some of my friends volunteered for the Navy and Air Force to keep from being drafted into the Army and having to go to Vietnam. Others were drafted. I had two friends that walked point in Vietnam and lived to tell about it, although...

Rob, North Carolina, 1969. No. 016: Full Circle

I was a junior at Norwich University, a military college in Vermont (home and founder of ROTC) and was in ROTC with an expectation of going to either Germany or Vietnam. I chose to go to Norwich since if I had to go to Vietnam I wanted to go as an officer.  I chose...

Hank, Georgia, 1969. No. 330: Televised Happening

When the lottery was drawn in December of 1969, I was a sophomore at UGA and had just moved into an apartment with a high school buddy and former Tucker Hall roommate, Wayne.  We had several neighbors and two additional roommates crowd into our 2 bedroom apartment...

Allen, South Carolina, 1969. No. 345: Leaving McHenry Behind

I dealt with the draft lottery of 1969. I had graduated from undergraduate school, a small, liberal arts school in Iowa named Wartburg College in spring '67, and had planned to go to graduate school if I could get an assistantship, starting that fall. Student...

William, Georgia, 1969. No. 018: Volunteering For Hawaii

Turns out, Hawaii's not badAfter graduation from the University of Georgia in the summer of '69, I started job interviews.  After repeatedly answering the inevitable question about my draft status (I-A), it sunk in there would be no jobs forthcoming. I decided to make...

Chip, North Carolina, 1969. No. 262: The Look On Their Faces

I could tell by the look on their faces.I was a Junior at UNC-Charlotte struggling with my grades the day after the 1969 draft lottery.  I, like every other male student there, had tracked the lottery and knew my number.I had a French lab that afternoon in a tiered...

John, Georgia, 1969. No. 029: Greetings From The President

Five or six guys were gathered in my dorm room at Abraham Baldwin College in Tifton, Georgia when we heard who were the lucky winners.  It was the first and only lottery I ever won. I stayed in college and after graduating from the University of Georgia in June 1972...

Gary, Georgia, 1969. No. 308: The Reserve Haircut

I was a sophmore at UGA and lived in the AEPi fraternity house in Athens.  I recall the TV news shows announcing the numbers off and on throughout the day.  I forget what day of the week it was, but my fraternity brothers would come and go, looking for their...

Tom, Georgia, 1969. No. 091: The Last Draftee

As I recall, the entire frat house was watching and listening to the lottery and drinking beer.  After about number 200 or so, I took a bio break and while standing there, another brother came to use the head.  He was one year older than me, but we both had the same...

Ben, Georgia, 1969. No. 366: Bowl of Destiny

I was sitting in a dorm room at Georgia with 4 or 5 other resident friends, drinking beer and listening to the live draft on the radio. There was a lot of tension in the room as your number had a huge impact on your immediate future and the choices you faced. A low...

Tom, Georgia, 1969. One Year Teaching Was Enough

Before the date of the first lottery I had already been in Air Force ROTC for four years. After graduating in 1969 I was slated to be commissioned in the Air Force. However, on the morning of my signing up I decided I actually did not want to be commissioned as a...

Dee, Georgia, 1969. No. 262: Lacing Up The Hightops

I was living in the fraternity house when the first lottery was held. Everybody put a dollar (or five or whatever it was) in a pot and whoever had the lowest number "won" the money. As you might imagine, it was a pot no one wanted to win. My friend Joel's number was...

Michael, Georgia, 1969. No. 241: Left Its Mark

I entered the University of Georgia as a freshman in the fall of 1967.  I was 17 years old when I walked into my first ROTC class.  Sgt. Lunsford strode in and declared, "Firepower is bullets hitting people!"  That's all I remember from ROTC that quarter, except that...

Walter, Georgia, 1969. No. 228: Better Than I Knew

I remember being at the fraternity house that night in 1969 when the lottery took place.  I was a sophomore at UGA.  My number was actually a good one (228), but I didn't realize how good it was. A good friend of my father's was on the draft board in Albany and he...

Butch, Georgia, 1969. No. 300+: Pressure's Off

I was a freshman at Georgia on scholastic probation after the first quarter.  I needed to bring my grades up by the end of the second quarter or I was toast...surely heading to Vietnam!  I was under a lot of pressure grade-wise when the lottery rolled around.  Wow,...