Jeff, Texas, 1969. No. 179: College Instead of War

I received a letter at my parents’ house. I had just traveled that summer to surf in southern California. I called home from a pay phone and my mom read the letter from USAF asking me to join. The letter explained that if I were to enroll in college and hold a...

Lee, Missouri, 1969. No. 310: Another Life to Live

After seeing a couple of my friends go to Canada to avoid the draft and several others comb the country for open spots in any military reserve unit, I considered doing the same, but decided to take my chances. Although declared I-A and expecting to be drafted, I was...

Chris, Tennessee, 1969. No. 247: Joining the Guard

I remember watching the lottery in the rec room of my college along with many other guys. The mood was quiet and somber. The number of people grew smaller as the numbers were drawn. I stayed longer than most as my number was 247. This number meant that I probably...

Dennis, Missouri, 1969. No. 003: Auditioning for the Band

I finished high school in 1969 and immediately started college. That fall was the first draft lottery. I remember before finding out my number all of the activity on campus. Guys we’re hanging bannners out their dorm windows saying things like “Goodby...

John, Wisconsin, 1949. No. 102: My Duty To Go

I came from a small town in north central Wisconsin. When I was drafted by my country I felt it was my duty to go. I went for my physical in Milwaukee. One month later I was in the Army, at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Next Fort Polk, Louisiana. Next to NCO School in Fort...

Terry, Missouri, 1969. No. 272: Never Had to Find Out

“Greetings,” the letter began. I’d gotten it in the mail in September, 1969. I’d known it was coming, but that didn’t make it any less horrifying. It felt like an advanced notice of my upcoming death. I’d graduated with a B.A. In English Lit...