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, Westinghouse Aerospace. I was deferred in the draft until 1971. My draft lottery number was 204. They were calling draftees in groups of ten numbers. The last callup in 1971 was #186 to #195. They didn’t call the next group, which would have included me.
The work I did during those years contributed to saving American lives in Viet nam. We built electronic countermeasures for F-4 Phantom jets, as well as other electronic defense products.
I started Medical School in 1972 and continue to practice medicine. Since I passed my year of draft eligibility in 1971, I was no longer eligible for the regular draft, but there was another draft for physicians. I remember having a difficult time convincing some medical school admission committees that the only way I could still be drafted was to go to medical school.
I have great respect for all those who served in the military, either by the draft or by voluntary enlistment. I still mourn the 60,000 who didn’t return from that war.