My senior year at NC State University I earned a full scholarship to graduate school in Virginia when I drew 48 in the lottery. I knew I was going into the service since my student exemption would not carry over. I accepted a job with Eastman Chemical Company since they offered job deferments due to their military contracts. I was on the way to pick up a car I had ordered when the news came over the radio that Nixon had abolished all applications for new job deferments. At that time everyone seemed to know we weren’t in the Vietnam War for victory, and nobody wanted to fight and possibly die for a cause that wasn’t supported.
I was drafted and lucked out. I was stationed in Germany and did guard duty on the Czechoslovakian border. I met a lot of guys that were cycled through Germany after their tour of Vietnam. I sensed the military didn’t want to return many of them to the States until they had gone through a readjustment period. I also lost four high school classmates out of 62 males in that war. Knowing what many of these guys went through, I can’t complain. It was a positive experience, and I often think my life wouldn’t have been better if I had the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree.