BROWSE STORIES

Ken, Kentucky, 1969. No. 036: Loss of Appetite

I had been 'drafted' a year earlier in 1968 as I completed my senior year of college. I had gotten married that summer, and was immediately 'greeted' for a chance at exotic travel and adventure (in Vietnam).  My new wife started graduate school, and I worked while...

Steve, Kentucky, 1969. No. 199: Obligation In My Blood

To me, this is an interesting project. I either never knew or had long forgotten my lottery number. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the lottery, given that I apparently escaped the draft by the skin of my teeth.As an engineering student at the University of...

Mike, Ohio, 1969. No. 289: One Hard Course

I was a student at the University of Kentucky when the draft occurred. My best friend, Dick Hitt, got the lottery number 2. He went right out and enlisted in the Air Force. He spent 6 months at Lackland Airforce base in Texas, and 3 and one-half years in Hawaii. No...

John, Ohio, 1969. No. 72: No Regrets

I recall sitting around with my fraternity brothers listening to the balls being drawn in December 1969.  It seems like a distant memory.  My number came up quite early although it was not the first one drawn within my peer group. It was a strange time for me. I had...

Patrick, Delaware, 1969. No. 355: Deep Wound

My story is much like many draft age men in December 1969.  I was a 5th year Architectural Senior, recently married, and living in an off-campus non-UK apartment on North Main Street in Lexington. Since architecture was a five year program, I needed a clarification...

Doug, California, 1969. No. 024: Still Wondering

I enlisted in the Navy the summer of 1968 following high school graduation. I didn't go to boot camp until January 1969 and was stationed at Naval Air Station, Key West, Fla when the draft lottery was held. I felt relieved I was in the Navy and not a grunt in Vietnam...

David, Kentucky, 1969. No. 50: Late Eligibility

I had a student deferment up until May 1970, when I failed the the pre-induction physical due to an ear infection.  I was retested in November and passed.  I got my I-A classification in December 1970 after the December call had already been issued.  President Nixon...

Vic, Ohio, 1969. No. 250: Interesting Years

I entered college at UK as a freshman in 1966. I was in the ROTC program, which meant I had a I-A draft classification--no  student deferral. When the lottery drawing took place my number was 250. My draft board said they would probably not go over 115. As soon as the...

Robert Neil, England, 1972. No. 358: Seasonal Singalong

Although I have already written a story dated 12 December 2009 about "jumping for joy" I have composed lyrics about celebrating exemption from conscription for the Vietnam War by luck of the draw to the tune of a Christmas Carol called "Joy To The World" below.Joy for...

Wally, Kentucky, 1969. No 323: The Politics of War

After four years at the U of K ('65 to '69) I needed one more hour to graduate. I could take that one hour anywhere, and still earn my degree from U of K (which I did). So I decided to take some classes at Murray Stata University, to try another campus. I had loved my...

Joey, Kentucky, 1969: 50/50 Chance

I was at Ft. Polk in La. doing basic training at the time of the lottery.  I had joined the US Army reserves in 1967.  My number was low and I would have been drafted had I not joined the USAR. One half of my basic training unit was destined for Vietnam while the rest...

Greg, New York, 1969. No. 005: Not Even The Cash

I was at the University of Rochester when the lottery was held, and I knew I would have a student deferment if I had to use it.  A bunch of us guys met in the common room and each put in $1 for a pool. The man with the lowest number, since he would be the biggest...

Philip , NY, 1969. No. 125: A Flag When I Die

I was in the first lottery and given number 125. I went through college and was made I-A within days of graduating. My one year of eligibility began. I had a very difficult time finding a job because employers knew I could be called at any time. One company offered me...

Bob, West Virginia, 1969. No. 125: The Groundskeeper

I was in the Peace Corps in West Africa when I learned of my draft number.  It was considered too low at the time. I extended for a 3rd year, returning to the US in 1971.  While substitute teaching in Cleveland, I secured conscientious objector status base on my...

Robert, California, 1969. No. 209: Drafted With Family

The lottery number 209 was assigned to my birthday, 30 June, in the first lottery drawing held on December 1, 1969.  I had registered in June 1966 and had been granted a II-S student deferment.  In December of 1967, I married, and in July of 1968, my first son was...

John, NC, 1969: Amid The Protesters

When I turned 18, I lived with my family in Nashville, Tennesee; therefore that's where my draft board was.  By the time the lottery system was in place, I had decided that, even though I opposed the war, I would not resist the draft.  This was equal parts idealism...

Ron, Washington, 1969. No. 309: Still See The Faces

I grew up in Asheville, NC, and by the time the lottery began, a number of friends and acquaintances from the mountains had died in Vietnam. My father had been in the Service in WW II in the 1st Marine Division in the Pacific. He was adamantly opposed to any of his...

Leo, 1969. No. 001: Burst of Profanity

I was watching TV in the day room in my home at the time: the 4533rd Tac Traing squdron at Eglin AFB, FL. I had rotated to Florida. after nineteen months in Okinawa, and temporary duty in both Japan and Korea during the Pubelo incident.I was half paying attention when...

Randal, Michigan, 1969. No. 128: Watching In Danang

On December 1, 1969 I was in Danang with my unit and some guy had a black and white tv with the lottery on.  We watched for our birthdates and mine was No. 128.  I was 60 days short and was glad my tour was almost over.  I didn't want a day more.  19 years old and...

David, D.C., 1969. No. 052: Not On Purpose

I remember having a foreboding premonition the night of the lottery -- I'd become involved in the anti-Viet Nam war movement on campus my junior year and had participated in the March on Washington.  I feared that payback, even if left entirely to chance, was coming. ...

David, Newfoundland, 1969. No. 005: Tactical Invisibility

In 1969 I was living in York House at Duke. In the spring I graduated from the certainty of classes into the uncertainty of the real world--the draft.I had no strong political views, so in late June, to put an end to uncertainty, I dropped by the draft office to say...

Bill, Virginia, 1969. No. 256: Guilt-Tripped

I had considered dropping out of college and enlisting, but instead joined the USMC PLC program (less school year but more summer commitment than ROTC) in October of '66.  Since I had the student deferment I didn't see the reserve deferment as an escape, and fully...

Robert, Colorado, 1969. No 321: Off Road In The Peace Corps

The news came to me, ironically, over Armed Forces radio.  It was one of two (the other being the BBC) English-speaking, shortwave radio stations that I was able to receive.  I was in Tibga, Burkino Faso (then called Upper Volta), serving in the Peace Corps.  I was...

William, Georgia, 1969. No. 365: Old Men/Young Men

I won a lottery in our fraternity section (Phi Kappa Sigma) for having the best draft number.  My next older brother was just finishing his PhD, and received a low draft number and after extended discussion of fleeing to Canada, submitted to the draft and was taken...

Dean, North Carolina, 1969. No. 204: Fellowship Declined

I graduated from Duke in 1969, summa cum laude, and was offered a fellowship at MIT.  I wanted very much to go to MIT.  But because I expected to be drafted immediately if I went to graduate school, I declined the fellowship and went to work for a defense contractor,...

Andrew, California, 1969. No. 98: Two Digit Troubles

When the numbers were drawn and mine had two digits, it was obvious that I had one more factor to be managed as I emerged from college.  My academic college experience fell short of superb--the discipline of advanced education did not connect with me until graduate...

Robert, Michigan, 1969. No. 054: Plastics

I entered Duke University in 1968 in the graduate chemistry program. Mine was a class of 16 with, I think, two or three women. By the time I left Duke, all of my male classmates were gone. Some went into teaching, some joined the National Guard, some were able to...

John, Ontario, 1969. No. 007: North Of The Border

I graduated from Duke in June 1969. When I had entered as a freshman in 1965, I had the rather blase attitude that the war could not last another four years, and so I would not have to worry too much about the draft. Obviously, that strategy failed. As the date of my...

Mason, Illinois, 1969. No. 317: Take My Chances With The U.S. Army

In March, 1969, my draft board in Buffalo, NY sent me a form requesting my graduation date from Duke. I wrote back that it was June 2nd. I spent April and May exploring alternative services. My eyesight kept me out of the Air Force, and my GPA of way below 3.4...

Quinn, Virginia, 1969, No. 191: From The Car Lot To The Pentagon

When I received my 191 lottery number, I thought I would be safe from the draft.  I therefore passed up an offer to join the National Guard and decided to take my chances.  As luck would have it, the Bethesda MD draft board that year (1970) went through number 195 and...

Robert, North Carolina, 1969. No. 236: Sad Day But Happy

I originally was given I-A status by the local draft board even after I told them I suffered one bout of asthma at age 13. Then I got a I-Y deferral through 1969 while I was at Duke.I tried for CO status but at the hearing with my local board, that was quickly...

Greg, California, 1969. No. 257: Not A Ground-Pounder

I was at Duke from 1965 until graduating in 1969.  EVERY YEAR in June while I was in college my draft board (#220 Webster Groves, MO, Dorothy Laburay Clerk--can never forget that witch!) classified me I-A.  Each time I had to get a letter from the registrar at Duke...

Juan, New York, 1969. No. 10: Broader Perspective

I was a graduate student when the first lottery was conducted in 1969, and was not watching when they first started drawing numbers.  I joined the telecast when they were around No. 100 and hoped that my number wouldn't be drawn anytime soon.  When they got to about...

Jack, Georgia, 1969. No. 291: Freedom Isn't Free

I was one of the lucky ones.  Watching the lottery drawing with my fraternity brothers at Duke University, many of whose lives changed during those agonizing few hours, became increasingly gleeful for me with the ongoing consumption of beer, and the number of...

Larry, Alabama, 1969. No. 279: Ministry And Teaching

I graduated from Duke in 1969 and started that fall at Yale Divinity School. I had an automatic IV-D deferment as a divinity school student, and I felt guilty about it--but not guilty or courageous enough to turn down my deferment and claim conscientious objector...

Russ, Ohio, 1969. No. 363: Survivor's Guilt

I received my draft physical notice shortly after graduation in 1969.  At the time there were several schemes passed by word of mouth regarding how to fail the physical, among them being to eat a bushel of bananas.  My preferred method was to find a doctor who could...

David, Georgia, 1969. No. 169: The Monster Was Real

The Vietnam war and the draft were an immense weight on male college students. And of course, far more intense for those non-students who were drafted. Students had the II-S deferment, but there was always this monster--the draft and shipment to Vietnam-- just over...

John, North Carolina, 1969. No. 028: Karma Is A Bitch

I remember sitting around the commons room getting drunk and cheering as each number was drawn. Mine was pretty low at 28. I remember that it was low enough to make it suicidal to drop out of school.I had considered taking time out of school for "personal...

Larry, North Carolina, 1969. No. 230: Convoluted Escape

I had originally planned to enroll in Navy ROTC when I entered Duke, but my major (Physics) advisor AND the ROTC Commander both suggested that I finish my undergraduate degree and then apply to OCS. So I was not unwilling to serve when the lottery was held, but I just...

Bill, Illinois, 1969. No. 012: Watching The Generals

I remember that day well, the day they drew the draft numbers. I went with my friends at York House over to an early season Duke basketball game in Greensboro. During the timeouts, the announcer would read the latest draft numbers that were drawn. Mine didn't take...

Mark, Louisiana, 1969. No. 228: Rainy Night In Durham

There are some numbers you never forget.   One is your Vietnam era lottery number.  You also don't forget that first year of the draft lottery and listening to it on the radio.  I wonder what the Nielsen number was.My memory is not necessary accurate 41 years later. ...

Pierce, Nebraska, 1969. No. 341: Angel of Death Passed Over

I remember that night pretty clearly; after all, this first compulsory draft lottery was to be America's ultimate game show.  I was a sophomore at Duke.  My roommate from freshman year, Darryl D. (who had been the freshman class president), had pledged, and invited me...

Fred, Georgia, 1969. No. 246: Induction Day

I got my draft notice in November of 1969, and was inducted on December 1, 1969.  Of course, December 1 is the day that the lottery numbers were drawn. My number would have been 246. Tough luck for me, or maybe a day late and a dollar short. On the other hand, I was...

Bob, Virginia, 1969. No. 118: Priceless

I was a sophomore at Duke in December, 1969, living in York House--one of the "new" dorms on west campus. The night of the draft lottery a group of us attended a basketball game at the old Greensboro Coliseum. The freshmen were tasked to take turns listening to the...

Cym, Texas, 1969. A Fine Diversion

I had already served in the Navy in Vietnam before college and law school and the draft lottery. My draft number ended up being very high in any event. About a third of our law school class (1969-1972) was composed of veterans.  There were an ample number...

Fred, Georgia, 1969. No. 154: Take Your Chances

In my senior year at Duke my student deferment was rapidly coming to an end. I remember thinking that the draft had always gotten well beyond my number in the past and if I didn't want to end up slogging around the jungle on foot I needed to enlist. Because I wanted...

Nick, California, 1969. No. 300+: Drink More Beer And Pray

I remember the Draft Lottery well. I was a senior at Duke University and awaiting acceptance to Medical School. Clearly, the Vietnam War was not supported philosophically by many college students then eligible for the Draft and hence the unhappiness and angst that...

Dolgan, Michigan, 1969. No. 341: 18 And Immortal

Several things were going through my mind that night:  I had no control over what was going to happen so why worry; I might be IV-F; I was ambivalent about going because the discipline might be good for me; it might be a great!? adventure; and at 18 I was immortal and...

Harry, Virginia, 1969. No. 229: A Good Day To Enter The World

The draft and then the lottery dominated not only my life, but everyone around me during my college years until I "placed out" of a likely trip to Vietnam.  Once I realized that going to Vietnam was a real possibility, I did not want to rely only on chance as a way...