BROWSE STORIES

Stu, Georgia, 1969. No. 305: Germany Instead

Like all male students at a Land Grant college, I had to take the first two years of Basic ROTC courses.  One fateful day, I got a letter from my "friends" at the Draft Board informing me that, since I was 1 credit shy of where I should have been in my academic...

Steve, California, 1969. No. 046: Trails of Destiny

Life is about choices.  Timing of those choices creates one’s personal destiny. I believe the 1969 draft lottery led to certain personal choices that greatly affected the destiny of who, what and where I am today, in 2013.I had been assigned a II-S educational...

Mike, California, 1969. No. 239: The Meaning Of A Number

239 was the number that saved my life. That "luck of the draw" kept me from going over to Vietnam to fight in some useless war based on the lie known as the "domino theory".The "Domino Theory" was to Vietnam as "WMD" was to the Iraq war. It was a lie generated by the...

Waymon, Georgia, 1969. No. 118: Pay My Way Through

Like most all other freshmen & sophmores at UGA, I was required to take those two years of ROTC. Most were Army, some of the others chose Air Force. My two years ended in the fall of 1968. I then had to sign on the dotted line to take advanced ROTC, which meant an...

Terry, Kentucky, 1969. No. 348: Prodded, Poked, Declared Fit

I'd marched through Cincinnati streets to the draft board and been prodded and poked and declared fit, but I had student deferments and then a teaching deferment for one year. I drew No. 348 in the lottery. I always remembered that number because it matched the engine...

John, Georgia, 1969. No. 058: Reserved Spot In The Guard

I had a date the night of the lottery and we went to the Beechwood Cinema for a show. We left after the movie was over and went to a friend's apartment close by. All there were watching the lottery drawing with bated breath! Eventually everyone but me had breathed a...

Carl, N.C., 1969. No. 021: Look At The List And Pick One

I was a Senior majoring in wildlife management at the University of Georgia.  I lived in Tucker Hall, a dormitory consisting mainly of Agricultural and Forestry students.  The evening of the lottery, everyone was crowded around a radio.  There must have been twenty...

Steve, Pennsylvania, 1969. No. 364: No Ticket Needed

Not being much of a gambler, I've never bought a lottery ticket of any sort over the years.  However, the draft lottery was not something which I could choose not to participate in.  I was in my sophomore year in college when the lottery was conducted.  My birth date,...

Gary, Maryland, 1969. No. 253: Two Days Before

On 29 November, 1969, I began my two years of service as a 2LT in the US Army Field Artillery.  Two days later, the first draft lottery was conducted. My number was 253. I read about the lottery in the newspaper while I was at Fort Sill, OK. I just laughed about...

Stephens, Georgia, 1969. No. 052: No Volunteering

I was in my senior year at the University of Georgia. All of the officer candidate schools were full (except the Marine Corps). I took the test for the Marine Corps Officers Candidate School and was accepted almost immediately. Of course, the mortality rate for a...

William, Georgia, 1970. No. 268: Missed The Bus At Poncy's Place

I worked all the way through UGA with a II-S draft deferral. Then I missed a quarter in my sophomore-junior year due to not having enough money for tuition. Within 3 weeks I received a draft notice making me I-A and I was immediately sent to Atlanta for a physical....

John, Georgia, 1969. No. 235: Funny Thing About The Lottery

The funny thing about the whole lottery process is that I was going to join the Navy when I completed high school and use the GI bill to attend college just like my father had for WWII.  But my parents talked me into going straight to college from high school, since...

Charles, Georgia, 1969. No. 211: Experiences of Life

In late 1968, while in my second year at  the University of Georgia which included enrollment in Air Force ROTC, I became aware of the opportunity to join a new local National Guard unit. My choices were: to continue in ROTC, to stay in school and take my chances with...

Harry, North Carolina, 1969. No. 025: S. Georgia To The Gulf of Tonkin

I was raised in South Georgia on a farm with a loving family and a HERO as an older brother. My brother spent 18 months in the Marines (1968-69). He too is a UGA graduate (1966). He spent time in Quang Tri, Viet Nam and made it home safely, thank the Lord. I remember...

Chuck, Illinois, 1969. No. 358: Unhappy Roommates

My two room mates and I sat in front of a TV at the Calloway Gardens Apartments and watched while they pulled out the draft numbers in 1969. One room mate's number was 14, the one was 17.  My number never came up, the reason being that they only had the first 300...

Patrick, Georgia, 1969. No. 001: The Wire Report

The night of the lottery I was working at the office of The Red and Black, UGA's student newspaper.  The first wire report read September 4 as the first number drawn; after I had breathed a sigh of relief, a correction came through:  September 14.  My life was changed...

Frank, Georgia, 1969. No. 070: Flying In My Blood

In 1966 I graduated from a public all-boys high school that had mandatory Army ROTC. Those were good years but I learned enough about the Army to realize that I did not want to walk through Rice Paddy 101. Being accepted to UGA gave me a II-S deferment plus they had...

John, Georgia, 1969. No. 257: The Big Haircut

I had graduated high school in 1963 at age 17 and was already in college when I registered for the draft.  We filled out the forms and sent them to the draft board every quarter the entire time we were in school, to keep the all-important II-S deferment.  The war was...

Wyman, Georgia, 1969. No. 272: Numbers At The Game

I was at a Georgia basketball game when they called out the lottery numbers. I drew 272 but since I was already in Advanced ROTC, it didn't matter.  I received my orders for Vietnam on Friday the 13th of August 1971 and served with the 60th Signal Bn in Phu Lam until...

Tony, Georgia, 1969. No. 239: Out Of Touch In The Hospital

1969-70 was my senior year at UGA. From high school, Vietnam had been an ever-growing issue in the nation and in my life. There was collecting care packages for the troops, registering for the draft, taking the exemption exam as a freshman at UGA, the daily body count...

Jay, Florida, 1969. No. 269: Transistor To My Ear

My future wife and I were sitting in the stands at a University of Georgia basketball game at Stegman Coliseum when they began calling out the draft numbers on the radio.  I had a transitor pressed to my ear as did many, many others. By the end of the game, they still...

Bill, Georgia, 1969. No. 176: Real Serious, Real Fast

I was a a senior at UGA scheduled to graduate from Business School in the fall of 1969.  My brother graduated from Fla. State with an accounting degree the year before, was immediately drafted and within 12 months was in country and avoiding firefights. He was with...

Dan, Florida, 1970. No. 160: Dodging Into the Marines

We all knew the date of the lottery. That night we gathered around the TV in the living room of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity house at the University of Georgia.  Probably the best attended function ever. As the numbers were called out you would look around the room...

Kemp, Georgia, 1969. No. 090: Two Years From A Life

The draft impacted the men of my generation in many, many ways, whether they were called or not. Some good, some bad, some enriching, some deadly. The fraud of avoiding being called would have scarred me no less than a bullet, so I did my duty and came out better for...

Joseph, Georgia, 1969. No. 358: Often Wondered

In 1969 I was in the graduate program in Psychology at the University of Georgia.  I had already been called by the selective service to have a physical at Fort Jackson in Columbia SC and had been classified I-A following that physical.  The physical was completed in...

Stephen, Georgia, 1969. No. 273: Limbo

I finished at the University of Georgia in December 1969.  I remember the night of the draft lottery and the wild time after.  Some were celebrating and some were drowning their sorrow.  I remember that many guys in ROTC had high numbers and were drowning their...

Chuck, Alabama, 1969. No. 219: Embrace The Challenges

I grew up in the Atlanta area and graduated from Marist, a private Catholic military high school at the time. The grades were, frankly, average but I was expected to attend college, any college, to have a chance at success in business and life in general.I enrolled at...

Claude, 1969. No. 037: First SOB With Nothing Wrong

I had number 37 drawn for me, but I had a student deferment as I was in college. I graduated from college December 1970. Got my notice for my physical the latter part of January--they said to bring my suitcase because when I passed the physical I was going straight to...

Steve, California, 1972. No. 338: Delayed Delivery

I was born January 5, 1953, but according to my dad I was supposed to be born earlier. My folks told me that in late December 1952, my dad took my mom out for a drive on a very rough and bumpy dirt road in an attempt to start labor. I didn't budge, and waited until...

Jim, Kentucky, 1969. No. 359: Watching Over Me

My story actually begins in the fall of 1965.  After graduating high school in 1964 and attending UK School of Architecture for one year, not applying myself at school, flunking out, then sitting out the fall semester of 1965, I was then drafted into military service...

John, New Jersey, 1969. No. 059: The Bar Next Door

I was in a college town when the lottery was held.  I saw the numbers listed on an Associated Press teletype that had been set up in a downtown storefront.  Fortunately, the store was next to a college bar which soon had an overflowing crowd.  I kept my deferment...

George, Massachusetts, 1969. No. 049: Looking Back

The lottery changed my life forever. In 1969 I was a senior in high school and the Vietnam War was very hot. The neighborhood hero was an Air Force pilot who was shot down and killed over North Vietnam. My girlfriend's only brother stepped on a mine and was killed....

Robert, England, 1972. No. 358: Home for Christmas

Although I now live in England, I lived in Buffalo, NY, USA throughout the Vietnam War.  I was never sorry that I got out of going to war with a high number, 358.  I have composed lyrics to "I'll Be Home For Christmas" for those who got exempted with high numbers. ...

Jeb, Georgia, 1969. Building Disney World

I very well remember the lottery. I had a number in the lowest 3rd, which we were told would guarantee being drafted. I was in my senior year at UGA, with one quarter remaining until graduation in 1970. I was scheduled to finish classes in December of 1969. In August...

Mike, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 146: Unused Skill

I was a junior in college when my number was drawn. I was scheduled to graduate in May, 1970. I figured I would be drafted by November 1970, so I "volunteed" for the draft and went into the service in June 1970. I entered the Army as a college graduate, so I thought...

Tim, Georgia, 1969. No. 300: Rather Lucky Than Good

I was in AFROTC when my number was chosen and I thought it funny at the time that my number was so high and I actually wanted to get into the Air Force as soon as possible so I could learn to fly.  My goal was to fly a fighter and get to Viet Nam, while most of my...

Don, Kentucky, 1969: No. 345: Staying In

I was a 1965 high school graduate scheduled for college graduation in 1969. Those times were very stressful if you were "in the zone" of draft eligibility. The main source of stress for many of us was the uncertainty of it all (before the lottery). When I went off to...

Dale, Kentucky, 1969. No. 239: High Number Dropouts

I was in my last senior semester, in the fall of 1969, and was sweating bullets as I had a I-A classification. There were several of us (seniors in CE) in the same circumstances. On the night of the first draft lottery announcement we all were on pins and needles. I...

Denny, Alabama, 1969. No 273: Dream Assignment

I graduated from UK in 1969 and accepted a position with Saginaw Steering Gear Division of General Motors. But then I was drafted in the last group prior to the lottery of December 1969, volunteered for Officer Candidate School before my November 10 reporting date,...

Shack, Kentucky, 1969: Smartest or Luckiest

My college grades were below the 2.00 GPA required to maintain a student deferment in 1966.  A friend of the family who sat on the local Draft Board told my mother that I was almost guaranteed to be drafted.  I figured that if I got into ROTC, it would allow me to...

Gary, Kentucky, 1969. No. 001: Should Have Known Better

I was number ONE in the draft lottery. I was to graduate in December, 1969shortly after the lottery. Word can down that we could get a one year deferment by going to graduate school. I found money for a fellowship and started graduate school. I planned on trying to...

Dana, Kentucky, 1969. No. 345: Big Relief

I will never forget the day after the lottery dates were drawn. I missed them in the evening news so all of the draft eligible recent college graduates in my department (engineering) gathered around the newspaper in the conference room the next morning. I looked down...

Bob, Kentucky, 1969. The Tunnels of Cu Chi

After graduating from high school in 1962 I got a job in a warehouse.  I had no intention of going to college, but after working for a year I began to understand the value of a college education.  The company I worked for had a tuition re-imbursement plan so I started...

Ronald, Texas, 1969. No. 137: Nothing But 50,000 Names

I received a notice in the mail at my dorm room to report to the Selective Service office for a physical, at 6:00 in the morning in late February. I was in my last semester of college and would graduate in May. I went to the draft office a few days before and...

Thomas, Kentucky, 1969. No. 155: Deciding Who Would Die

I remember vividly the draft lottery that took place during those years immediately after graduating from UK. I had several draft designations on my selective service card during that time. I started with a II-S as a student, then went into a I-A for a while, then a...

John, Ohio, 1969. No. 113: At The Naval Shipyard

In 1968 I took a summer job at a Naval Shipyard. After graduating in December 1969 I returned to that job full-time. My job often involved working on nuclear submarines so I was readily granted deferrals. After being deferred several years the draft board asked me to...

Ed, South Carolina, 1969. No. 004: Favorite Number

My father was a career Army officer.  I had polio in Puerto Rico in 1951 at age 4.  When I turned 18 I went to the draft board for my physical and was declared IV-F due to the polio.When the draft came up in 1969, I was a senior at the University of Kentucky, but knew...

John, Kentucky, 1969. No. 262: Respect and Disrespect

My father was a WWII B-17 pilot and POW, and my father-in-law had been an Army officer who spent 3 years in the Pacific theater. I grew up with a strong belief that military service was one of the obligations of citizenship.  I wanted to fly and enrolled in AF ROTC at...

Lloyd, Texas, 1969. No. 238: Go Figure.

My birthday is January 14, 1950 (No. 238). I was put on status 1-H after reporting to the San Antonio, Texas induction center in February, 1970. I was a dependent of an Air Force officer for 20 years and lived on bases all my life up to that point, including France....

Dave, Pensylvania, No. 021: Nothing Resembling A Thank You

My lottery number was 21. I had left Pa. looking for work and my draft notice followed me out to Chicago. The draft center there looked like it had been revived from WW I. As we walked in there were people outside yelling for us to burn our draft cards. Someone was...