I remember sitting in my parents family room listening to what my future would be on WRFK public radio in Richmond Va. I had always felt lucky and I was sure that day would be no different. When my birthday was pulled at No. 85, well I lost my mind. The next thing I remember is later that same day I was getting ready to beat the disc jockey doing a remote broadcast with my empty beer pitcher. He was in a 3.2% "restaurant" doing a remote and he made the almost fatal mistake of thinking the lottery was good for a joke. I was 19 and as drunk as possible on 3.2% beer. The only thing that saved both of us was how drunk and bloated I was.
I guess I knew in that moment that I was not a conscientious objector. and Canada was for far braver kids than me. So I took myself down to the Air Force Recruiter when I sobered up. The way I remember it I explained to the recruiter that if he ever wanted to stand up again he would find me a spot in the Air Force. I doubt he was worried or maybe he was, who knows. He offered me a slot in Electronics, radar repair. That sounded good and it did not involve dying so I took it. As it turns out the radar I was taught to repair had a data tag from 1952. Not state of the art, and almost useless.
Off to basic I went with a good attitude. I was going to do the Air Force right and be a good Airman. That lasted a few weeks until they decided to "motivate" me. I was sent to the Motivation Flight for brain washing exercises. When I got out weeks later I was properly motivated–to never again cooperate with the Air Force. I succeeded in that but it set the tone for the rest of my life. I was RIF’d after less than two years ( I wonder why).
I am just lucky I never got drafted or went to Vietnam. If the Air Force was that bad for me Vietnam would have been at least a magnitude worse, as I learned from people that came back as well as the ones who only came back physically, or not at all. Thank god for small mercies. I will work to see that America NEVER DRAFTS AGAIN. It costs too much for too little return.