BROWSE STORIES

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...

Larry, New York, 1969. No. 029: My Goose Was Cooked

I remember listening number by number that night and being surprised that no March birthdays had been called. Until No. 29 which was March 2. So I knew my goose was cooked and it was just a matter of time until I was over there.However, in late December 1970,...

Mark, Maryland, 1969. No. 246: Positively Euphoric

The night of the first lottery, when I was a freshman at Duke University, I was in the "Pep Band" at a Duke basketball game in Greensboro, NC.  The bus ride to the game (about an hour away) was interminable and deadly quiet, and we were all nervous wrecks during the...

Dennis, New Jersey, 1969. No. 080: Flying Fighters

College sophomore sitting around the TV drinking beer, watching the lottery.  Probably 20 fraternity brothers, all of us gathered around.  Cheers and hollers when our birthdays were called.  Other then real low numbers like my roommate, No. 26, most of us didn't know...

David, Tennessee, 1969. No. 001: Taking A Bow

It is early December and a group of us from Canterbury are in Greensboro for an early season Duke basketball game at the recently refurbished Greensboro Coliseum. We are sitting in the stands and the draft lottery begins.Transistor radios are in use but not real...

Joel, NC, 1969. No. 025: Life-Threatening Diagnosis

I remember the night we gathered around the Delta Sigma Phi Chapter Room in House S, eyes glued to the television. When No. 1 was chosen, the phone rang and a sad mother apologized to her unlucky son. As the night progressed, sighs could be heard, not only in the...

Jim, Pennsylvania, 1969. No. 187: Clattering Teletype

On the night of the draft lottery, I was working at the campus radio station at Duke University.  For all the men on campus, this was the news story of the decade.  As the birthdays and numbers came across the ancient, clattering teletype, the newsmen and women would...

Dan, California, 1971. No. 104: Lucky Stars

I joined Air Force ROTC as a freshman in college in 1967, at Duke. I liked airplanes and I was deathly fearful of getting drafted into the Army as a foot soldier. Duke was a fairly safe place to be in ROTC and having to wear a uniform one day per week, though during...

Peter, Florida, 1969. No. 005: $100 And A New Career

I was a student at Duke University when the first lottery was held.  Our dormitory had a pool for the lottery.  Approximately 100 guys in the dorm put $1 each into the pool.  The person whose birthday was drawn first in the lottery would win the pool of $100.  I "won"...

Chris, New York, 1969. No. 185: The Gamble

My memory is that it was late Thanksgiving Weekend in 1969, and I was up from North Carolina visiting with a friend at Harvard.  A bunch of us were sitting in the common room of his suite, and since we were all born between 1944 and 1950, we were intently listening to...

Tom, Texas, 1969. No. 038: MPs European Vacation

I think about that episode all the time, both for the arbitrary nature of who had to serve and for the way it affected my life.Like several of the other stories, I was also at that Duke basketball game in Greensboro. We had a guy a couple of rows up listening to his...

Mark, NC, 1969. No. 116: Dark Humor Was The Only Humor

I do recall the draft lottery. It is one of those things that stays with you, especially if your number was low. Mine was 116, too low to chance getting drafted in 1971 following graduation.The day of the lottery, I was in Greensboro watching a Duke basketball game....

Rusty, Maryland, 1969. No. 262: Free To Teach

I was in our house (which I rented along with six other students, all class of '71) at 1218 Broad Street the night that the Draft Lottery results were announced. At about 11 that night, I heard a couple of my fellow tenants coming through the door and talking...

Bob, Arizona, 1969. No. 213: A Role In My Future

The commons room of my dorm at Duke was as full as I'd ever seen.  All the excitement was early as the low numbers were called. My number, 213, was relatively high, but not high enough for me to relax. I'd heard from some friends that if you turned in your student...

Bill, Georgia, 1969. No. 012: Pressure Filled

I have vivid memories of that night. My college roommate and I had been studying and started watching the lottery when it had reached number 20. We watched until almost 300 and decided we were home free. We went out to celebrate and found out the next day I was number...

Tom, Maryland, 1969. No. 025: The New Reality

I did not watch the first half of the lottery, having had a bad (and accurate) premonition of how it would turn out for me. What I remember most about what I did watch was the smiling faces of the people my age as they participated in the process of selecting numbers...

John, North Carolina, 1969. No. 325: It Wasn't Your Fault

I was one of the few males in my immediate circle of friends at school that was not concerned about the first draft lottery in December 1969 due to the fact that I had already served my country in Vietnam. My college sophomore year was 1965-66. President Johnson was...

Gary, Virginia, 1969. No. 031: Looking For An Out

I was a junior at Duke, and we were driving back from the double overtime victory over Virginia Tech at Greensboro when we tuned into the middle of the lottery on the radio.  I recall hearing from about 150 until 365, and my birthday was not mentioned.  Finally, they...

Cliff, West Virginia, 1969. No. 168: Induction Refused

I arrived at Duke in 1970 to start graduate school. I had previously applied for conscientious objector draft status in my sophomore year of undergraduate school. My CO file was quite large as you were allowed to submit anything you thought was relevant. While at Duke...

Thomas, Massachusetts, 1969. No. 174: Measuring Down

I remember the night the 1969 draft lottery results were broadcast.  Several of my friends gathered at a friend's dorm room at Duke University to listen to the results (we were all juniors).  If my memory is correct, I did not hear my number until the list was...

Bob, SC, 1969. No. 237: The Chart

We were back in our fraternity dorm room at Duke after watching the TV broadcast of the draft, trying to understand the implications of our respective lottery numbers.  My roommate, Richard, was there - everyone called him The Chard.  A kid we didn't know stuck his...

Seth, New Jersey, 1969. No. 014: The Greater Generation

I was and am a conservative.  I was the Duke Chapter Chairman of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF).   I believed in the war and was ready to do my part.  My draft lottery was in 1969.  In 1970, I was selected by YAF to visit Vietnam for two weeks for a fact-finding...

Sim, New York, 1969. No. 102: What's Going On Here?

I recall riding on a bus to Raleigh with others for our physical exam--we were a number of white Duke students and many Durham residents of color. My mood on the trip to the physical was one of anxiety but basic trust--the system would be fair, of course, as it had...

Jeff, New York, 1969. No. 280: Might Does Not Make Right

What I remember most was my number: 280. It meant I was safe and would not get drafted. I knew a couple of guys who had low numbers and just walked around numb. We all knew we didn't want to go, but it would be years before I realized how much Vietnam changed so many...

Ted, Minnesota, 1969. No. 006: Common Bond

The first draft lottery, in December 1969, had a profound impact on my life. I still keep a reminder from that night: among my college memorabilia is a page from Newsweek magazine with the lottery results.I was out with friends early in the evening and didn't return...

Buzz, Washington, 1969. No. 343: On Thin Ice

I remember the lottery well. I was mid-way through my second year at Duke Law School. I was working in the law library at the time, and everyone was talking about the lottery, especially the first year students. The law school had already been decimated by the draft,...

Fred, North Carolina, 1969. No. 068: Not In Country

My case was unique, to say the least. My birthday, February 12, was No. 68 in the lottery. For once I had WON something!In the same month as the draft, I started experiencing moments of paralysis, which I simply wrote off as a back spasm, stress, pulled muscle, or...

Bob, South Carolina, 1969. No. 205: Bathroom Break

I remember the night of the lottery well. We all gathered in the common room of the fraternity house to see what numbers would be selected for our birthdays in the lottery. I got there a few minutes late and they had already picked the first ten numbers. I asked did...

Bob, NC, 1969. No. 156: You Bet Your Life

I was a student at Duke from 1966 to 1970--a very volatile period for everyone, but especially for males over the age of eighteen. Draft statuses were constantly changing, with the result that none of us who were classified II-S (student deferment) felt any security...

Phil, NC, 1969. No. 096: No Dodging

The night of the first lottery I was at a Duke-VPI basketball game in the Greensboro Coliseum. (Va. Tech was known as VPI in those days, as you may recall). A fellow sitting several rows below me had a transistor radio and was writing down dates and draft numbers as...

Jim, NC, 1969. No. 051: C.O. Status At The Library

I had a lottery number of 51, which helped me make my decision to pursue a conscientious objector status, which I was able to get. I ended up (after a false start) working at the Wake County Public Library, cataloging books.The biggest impact of all this was that it...

Philip, NC, 1969. No. 310: Felt Lucky

I don't remember much except joining my fraternity brothers in the commons area and watching the drawing on TV. I really had no plan for what I'd do if drafted; I admit I simply felt lucky. Having torn up my knee the previous summer, I knew I couldn't pass any...

Daniel, Ohio, 1968. Names On The Wall

I was a sophomore at Duke University in 1968, a turbulent time to be sure.  My roommate had just flunked out and soon enlisted in the navy in order to avoid being drafted in to the army.I did not support the war in VietNam as it seemed to be a senseless intervention...