BROWSE STORIES

Bernie, Georgia, 1969. No. 200: Sick Feeling

I was a student/athlete at UK loving my new-found independence and doing what I loved the most, playing football.  I was home in Atlanta for Christmas break when the first lottery was televised in 1969.  My friends from high school and I were sitting around an old...

William, Arizona, 1969. No. 256: Name and Number

The number 256 has been very much a part of me since it was drawn for March 23 in the 1969 lottery. I was very much opposed to the war and I was seriously considering going to Canada if I was going to be drafted. Needless to say I was very lucky and life carried on as...

Bryan, Ohio, 1969. No. 089: Never Hurts To Be Lucky

Hanging around the fraternity house drinking beer one night in the fall of 1969 when the numbers came out. Not thrilled with No. 89 but was sure it wouldn't be an issue.Fast forward to spring of 1971 and graduation was coming up and war was still going strong and...

Bill, North Carolina, 1969. No. 200: Best Decision I Didn't Make

We listened to the lottery results on my roommate's radio in his car that night. I got No. 200 and he had over 300. With that number, everything was still up in the air for me--I did not know where I stood. I was then a junior at UNC, Chapel Hill. In my senior year I...

Stephen, Pennsylvania, 1969. No. 180: Selective Service Heartburn

I had filed with the local draft board all the documentation needed (I thought) to be classified as a conscientious objector.  Although there was plenty of background information and references, they never ruled on it.   I did then get a notice to go for the draft...

David, Ontario, 1970. No. 238: Volunteer Service

When I was eighteen, during my first semester at UK, I registered for the draft like everyone else. Within six months, I petitioned the draft board to have my draft status changed to I-O, conscientious objector, based on my religious beliefs generally and particularly...

Skip, Kentucky, 1969. No. 111: Send Everyone

I was a senior at Transylvania University in Lexington in 1969 when the first draft lottery was held. All of our fraternity watched the drawing on TV. I remember that two brothers sitting next to each other got No. 1 and No. 366.I had No. 111 and I knew that my...

Randy, Ohio, 1969. No. 019: Good or Bad

I started on a Design Apprenticeship at GE Jet engine division in October, 1968.  While on this program I still had a II-S student deferment  After the 1969 lottery with 19 as a lucky number, I wasn't really big on the idea of getting drafted when my apprenticeship...

Douglas, Virginia, 1969. No. 232: Born On A Good Day

I remember not staying up for the lottery and going to bed instead.  I felt that my student deferment was still going to take care of me for the next three years. I was living in a dorm at UK. The next morning my next door neighbor was pounding on my door saying...

Jerry, Colorado, 1969. No. 171: Just Missed

We were all gathered in the TV room of Kirwan Tower on the University of Kentucky campus to watch the draft lottery. A roommate drew a number in the low 30s, and soon joined ROTC to stay at UK. My number was 171, right in the middle range. At the time I was a writer...

Randy, Connecticut, 1971. No. 052: Navy Man

I was born in 1952 and my lottery year was 1971.  Back then I was pretty much directionless. I flunked out of college in 1971 and was employed in a series of dead-end jobs.  I was no fan of the war (who was?) but I lacked the initiative to try to evade the draft. When...

John, Illinois, 1969. No. 183: Not What I Expected

in 1970, Illinois was significantly behind the national average in supplying draftees.  My draft board offered some encouragement that I would not be called despite having a mid-range  draft number (183).    In August, however, the Selective Service announced that...

Ken, Tennessee, 1969. No. 018: Forget Graduate School

I was a student at Emory University when the lottery took place. It was my sophomore year in the fall of ’69. I was sitting in the TV room at the fraternity house (Delta Tau Delta) along with several of my brothers and remember watching the numbers being called. I...

Larry, New Jersey, 1969. No. 121: Fickle Finger of Fate

I was No. 121 in the lottery, for which I won an all-expense paid trip to Ft. Knox, KY. At the completion of AIT and about to be sent to an even better vacation spot in Southeast Asia, President Nixon stopped sending troops to the 'Nam. I saw the last contingent of...

Beau, Georgia, 1969. No 191: Two Kinds of Patriot

I was in first year at UK Law School on Dec 1, 1969. The draft lottery did not affect me. When I graduated from undergraduate school at UK with a political science BA in May 1969, I was also sworn in as a 2d Lt in the U.S. Army as an ROTC graduate. I received my law...

Gene, Kentucky, 1969. No. 121: Bumper Sticker On My Skivvies

I was studying as a PoliSci/History major (with a II-S deferment) at the U of KY in 1969 and ready to graduate and head on to Law School the following year. The threat of the war and actually going there was foremost on my mind. I was going to SDS meetings and...

Buck, Oregon, 1969. No. 050: Basic Training x 2

WTF! 50?!  Just as well, I was just whoring around much of my freshman year in college.  End up a daddy if something didn't happen.  Scared?  You bet.  I watched the news.  Saw the body counts.  So, I went in the Air Force on the delayed enlistment plan.   Partied for...

Stanley, Kentucky, 1969. No. 065: Short End of the Stick

The only good thing for me regarding the 1969 draft lottery was it forced me to graduate in four years.  In order to keep our II-S deferment we were required to make satisfactory progress to complete a degree, i.e. 25%, 50%, 75%, and completion.  It required that I...

Sam, Pennsylvania, 1969. No. 351: A Year In The Pool

I married right out of high school, but by 1969 this merited no special draft status or deferment. I recall that this first draft lottery (of my generation) was actually a reinstatement of the lottery system used in WW II. The 1969 lottery was televised live. My wife...

Rick, California, 1969. No. 049: Not A Winner

I was at a UK basketball game that night and when we returned to our fraternity house (Lambda Chi Alpha) there was a list on the bulletin board that showed the results of the first lottery, listed from #1 to #365.One of my fraternity brothers saw his birthday at #1...

Jerome, Massachusetts, 1969. No. 143: Fearful of the Future

I was part of the generation of college men who "sweated" through the first lottery experience. I was with a group of other non-fraternity UK college guys who met at an apartment that evening, with plenty of beer, liquor, and spaghetti, glued to the TV screen. We...

Mike, Ohio, 1969. No. 207: Contradictions

I was in my fifth year of college when the first draft lottery occurred in December, 1969. I followed the lottery on local television in Toledo. There was no continuous coverage, just a few numbers mentioned at commercial breaks. So it wasn't until the 11 p.m. news...

Andy, Colorado, 1969. No. 275: Divine Signal

I was due to be drafted when I flunked out of Colby college in 1969 and was certified I-A and given an induction date. Between that date and the date of my induction, they changed over to the lottery system and I drew a number of 275, which meant I was way down the...

Marc, Virginia, 1969. No. 350: Laugh It Off

I tried half-heartedly to get out of the draft in the 1966 and 1967, my senior year in college. I applied to join the Peace Corps. Turned out there were more applicants in 1966 than in any other year in the Peace Corps' history. I didn't get in. I applied to Air Force...

Ben, Kentucky, 1969. No. 108: Fighter Pilot's Son

I remember it like it was yesterday.  About 40 young men all crowded into the Television Room of the Sigma Chi Fraternity House on the campus of the University of Kentucky in Lexington.  I really can't remember the month ... just the moment.  As birthdates were pulled...

Jim, Ohio, 1969. No. 003: Draft Bus To Louisville

I received my undergraduate degree from Ohio State in December, 1967. When I called my draft board in Butler County, Ohio, they advised me that I was number one on its list, as my college deferment had ended. I decided to enlist and did so in January/February 1968....

Eddie, Kentucky, 1969. No. 015: Not a Day More

I lived in a house on Transylvania Avenue with 5 other guys.  On the night of the drawing I went over to the School of Journalism to see the lottery results with a friend.  My number came up 15 and I knew that serving my country was ahead for me. A few beers were...

Donald, New York, 1972. No. 028: My War, My Time

I had watched the Vietnam war unfold since 1965 when my uncle headed to Vietnam with the 3rd Marine division. He ended up in Danang, a strange name I'd never heard of before, but I guess that's the nature of any war, even today. I was just entering high school in 1965...

Jim. Kentucky, 1969. No. 348: The Box Score

The night of the first lottery I was with a gal pal in Shawnee Town south of campus, babysitting for some married friends of hers. We poured some drinks from the bottle of whiskey I had brought along and turned on the tube to watch the drawing. My birthdate is...

Rich, New York, 1969. No. 228: Mother's Loophole

The prospect of being called to Viet Nam was a sobering one. Like many of my colleagues, I felt the war was a waste of lives with no legitimate goal in sight, and I felt genuine sorrow for those who were called.  I was fortunate to have a student deferment, but...

John, Kentucky, 1969. No. 155: Never Forgot

John and I met in a summer school class at UK during the summer of 1969.  John was finishing his studies at UK and had been accepted into the Peace Corps program.  Although John was scheduled to leave for his Peace Corps assignment in Liberia, we began a very intense...

Bob, Florida, 1969. No. 184: One Wild New Year's Eve

I received my lottery number of 184 from the first lottery drawing in 1969, but I had a deferment since I was then a full-time student at the University of Kentucky, where I played football.  When I graduated in '71, I lost my deferment.  After being cut by the New...

Gary, Kentucky, 1969. No. 328: An Occasion To Drink

I remember how I felt when I first heard about a draft lottery.  I had never been very lucky in my life. In fact I don't ever recall winning anything before the lottery came into existence.  When the magical night came to pass, me and several of my fraternity brothers...

Danny, Kentucky, 1969. No. 331: High And Low

I remember watching the lottery broadcast in my apartment with Ron, one of my best friends from college.  This was the first year that we lived off campus, in efficiency apartments at Midtowne Terrace.  The previous summer the two of us had even gone together to New...

Gary, Kentucky, 1969. No. 319: Not The American Dream

I was sitting in the Engineering building, alone, next to a wall, doing homework.  The lottery was being broadcast on TV and I was watching when my birthday and number were called.  I had heard them say that probably no one with a number above 140 would be drafted. ...

Tom, Kentucky, 1969. No. 357: Over The Intercom

I was dating a young lady in one of the sororities and was in the AGD house on the night of the lottery. I heard my draft number come over the radio as the girls had the radio on and it played into the intercom system.  My number was 357.  I was currently I-A in the...

Patrick, California, 1969. No. 053: Behind Tricia Nixon

My student deferment ran out in 1970, when I was immediatly classified I-A and received  instructions to report for an induction physical.  I went immediatly to the Army enlistment office and signed on for a program called Warrant Officer Flight.  I figured at least...

Dwyte, Kentucky, 1969. No. 254: Heart In Kentucky

My part of the story starts in Chicago although my heart was in Kentucky.  The lottery occurred two days after I married the love of my life.  I was in my fraternity house at Northwestern and my wife was in the dorm at Kentucky.  We had not talked about the draft very...

Patrick, California, 1969. No. 125: On The Bus

My deferrment as a UK student was up in May of 1971 and I received a "Greetings" letter from the draft board about a week prior to the end of that semester. I had to report to their office in Lexington early one morning and board a bus with about 40 other young men....

Bobby, Tennessee, 1969. No. 366: Used Up All My Luck

I was enrolled in ROTC at Kentucky, getting ready to sign up for the advanced program with a 6 year active duty commitment.  I sure could use the $50 a month it would pay me during my junior and senior years!  I figured I was going into the military as soon as I...

Larry, Kentucky, 1969. No. 362: Colonel Sanders' Advice

I remember very clearly the night of the first lottery.  I was out drinking beer with a few friends and when I arrived back to my apartment my mother called and told me that my number was 362.  She was very excited that I would not have to go to the military. I had...

Paul, Kentucky, 1969. No. 192: Brief Encounter With The Military

I truly enjoyed my experience in graduate school at UK. Great teachers, wonderful basketball games, and lots of research papers for this English major. Working part-time at Kennedy's bookstore was a plus, financially and socially. It was about the only social life I...

Stephen, Kentucky, 1969. No. 360: Without Obligation

I entered UK in Civil Engineering in September, 1965, and also enrolled in Air Force ROTC. My plans were to become a pilot in the Air Force, then begin a business career. However after two years in the College of Engineering, I decided to change majors and enter the...

Ron, Kentucky, 1969. No. 125: Pharmacy and Tank Training

I was attending the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy in 1970.  My lottery draft number was 125; my draft board was in Lexington.  It was my last year of college, as I was about to finish a 5-year professional program, and my wife was pregnant.  The lottery...

Jeff, Kentucky, 1969. No. 091: West Point No, Football Yes

In 1961 I was in high school at St. Joe Prep, Bardstown, Ky. Our team was playing football against Old Kentucky Home. I was covering a punt and another player rolled on my right arm, breaking my arm and dislocating my elbow. I rehabbed it but did not regain full range...

Douglas, New York, 1969. No. 008: The Value of Education

I had arrived at UK as a pretty typical Louisville boozy redneck. I left as a stoned long-haired freak. (The value of education?) Actually I have always considered pot to have been my salvation from alcohol, as after a time I got real bored with being stoned and have...

Dale, Maine, 1969. No. 330: Lottery Night At The Game

I was in the midst of my final year at UK with graduation coming in May. The war was escalating and yet there was very little anti-war sentiment on the campus at that time, much different from places like Madison, Wisconsin. Nonetheless, I was quite anxious, but...

Lloyd, KY, 1969. No. 125: Fortuitous Visit

The night of the draft lottery in December '69 is etched in my memory.  My family and I knew that the drawing could immediately determine the course of my life, including the possibility of losing it on a battle field in Viet Nam, where tens of thousands of young...

George, Virginia, 1972. No. 85: The Joking DJ

I remember sitting in my parents family room listening to what my future would be on WRFK public radio in Richmond Va. I had always felt lucky and I was sure that day would be no different. When my birthday was pulled at No. 85, well I lost my mind. The next thing I...

Benjamin, TN, 1969. No. 96: Six Generations

I grew up in Maysville KY, son of a family practice physician, who graduated from UK in 1942 and went to UL Medical School through the US Army in a three year program with only 2 weeks vacation each summer.  My Dad had told my brother and me that we would serve (it...