BROWSE STORIES

Dan, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 100: Making The Cut

I graduated from UW Madison in June 1972 and had been accepted at the UW Law School for the fall term.  I was working at a camp in the summer and came back for my Army physical in July.I started the fall semester of law school not knowing whether "they" would get to...

Brian, Michigan, 1969. No. 252: Many Things Converging

I was in my 4th year of a Ph.D program at Wisconsin at that time, with a II-S deferment. My lottery number was 252. Some of my friends weren’t as lucky. One of them left for Canada, where he lives today. Another was drafted and served a tour in Vietnam, working mainly...

Stephen, Oregon, 1969. LBJ The Wedding Planner

I don't recall my lottery number but I do remember that I was very concerned and very anti-war. In the summer of 1963 I met and fell in love with a lovely woman from Madison. We dated for eight months and decided to marry, and scheduled the wedding day for a Saturday...

Larry, Illinois, 1970. No. 307: A New Plan

I was attending a Methodist seminary but had decided that the ministry wasn't for me.  I wanted to become a city planner but knew that I would be drafted as soon as my status changed.  I had taken the Air Force OCS test just before the lottery took place.  Since my...

Rick, Wisconsin, 1971. No. 151: Tear Gas At The Window

Mine is not a long story. All I remember is that I was in my fourth year in school at the University of Wisconsin. I had one more year of Pharmacy School. I had already had two friends from Pulaski High School die over there and to tell you the truth I didn't really...

Ted, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 83: A Close Call

In December 1969, I was a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin, Marathon County Center.  My study habits were poor and my grades reflected that.  When lottery number 83 was drawn for my birthday,  I felt that military service via the draft was inevitable.  In...

Bill, Illinois, 1970. No. 273: Absolute Zero

I remember the draft lottery in 1970.  I was a Sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a bunch of us were sitting around the TV in the fraternity house waiting for our numbers to come up.  When my number was called, 273, I kept thinking that it was the...

Paul, New Jersey, 1969. Blood Sugar and Cross-Dressers

I was at the University of Maryland, considering graduate work in math or history, and my number -- which I do not remember -- made it certain I would be drafted. I volunteered instead, hopefully for the army foreign language training program (Chinese, but my friends...

Robert, Australia, 1969. No. 139: A Maturing Event

In March of 1968 I dutifully signed up with the Selective Service  as all 18 year old males had to do at that time. Realizing then that there was potential to end up in the military was sobering enough.When the draft lottery came around I was a carefree student at the...

Gary, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 196: Shouts Of Profanity/Sighs of Relief

Forty years have passed, but that evening when the first draft lottery was held will be remembered forever.  I was a sophomore at the UW, living in one of the residence halls.  Radios throughout the floor were glued to the station carrying the lottery.  I remember how...

Peter, California, 1969. No. 303: Letters From The Outpost

When plans for the lottery were announced, we were all nervous. Some of the kids in my dorm immediately filed for CO status, and their local draft boards in Wisconsin almost as quickly turned them down. Others sought medical deferments--or in some cases tried to...

Ed, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 150: Clara Critter's Quota

I was living on Regent Street in Madison, WI as an undergrad at the UW on December 1, 1969, huddling around a radio with my five roommates listening to the drawing. I was the first one out, at number 150. Everyone else was well into the 200s, with a couple in the...

Fred, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 333: Combinations of Three

A good friend and I were at a Wisconsin basketball game the night of the lottery.  As I recall the Badgers won the game, and it wasn't until we got back to our dorm room in Ogg Hall that we learned the results of the lottery.  I entered my dorm room to find my...

Mike, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 36: A Growing Experience

I was a junior at the University of Wisconsin when the first draft was held.  I was living with four roommates at the time.  My number was 36, the rest of my roommates had numbers in the 200 and 300's.  I was allowed to graduate in January of 1971.  Six days later I...

Tom, Wisconsin, 1971. No. 17: Six Months of Suspense

I was in my senior year at the UW, and wound up with lottery number 17.   Then, around early December, as I recall it, Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird commented that there probably would not be a draft for the first six months of 1972.  This was followed by news...

John, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 303: A Card From The Neighborhood

I was a freshman college student at the time.  Several of us sat in a dorm room watching the lottery on an officially banned TV.  As the numbers rolled across the screen, we felt very sorry for those selected early and cheered for those selected late.  As we left the...

John, Virginia, 1969. No. 304: The Divide Remains

I was a sophmore, having transfered to Madison from what was then Oshkosh State University.  An "upstate" Wisconsin native, everything about UW-Madison was strange and wondrous.  The draft lottery was one of a string of extraordinary experiences that year -- the...

Rod, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 90: Two Letters

I graduated from U. Wisconsin  with a B.S. in January of 1968 and was in premed.  I had not heard from the UW about medical school and continued to take courses with the thought of teaching if I did not get into medical school.  I received my notice to take my...

Jonathan, Pennsylvania, 1969. No. 272: Wearing The Number

I was a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin in Madison when the first draft lottery was drawn. The day after the lottery we all got up to go to class and were amazed at what we saw. Whether by conspiracy or coincidence many students were walking around with their...

Robert, New York, 1969. No. 117: One of the Chosen

I recall that day in horror. I was a second year student at the now infamous University of Wisconsin, Madison campus. We were well known as one of the leading schools in the country of protesting the war. I was on my way to a basketball game, listening on the radio to...

Jonathan, Oregon, 1969. No. 240: An MD Behind Your Name

The number didn't matter.I graduated from the Univ. of Wisconsin in 1968 and went on to the UW School of Medicine.  Graduating in 1972 and completing an internship the following year, I was 100% draft eligible and in the sights of the draft board as the military was...

Scott,Wisconsin, 1969. No. 119: Staying In School

My dominant thought when the numbers were drawn was to focus on staying in school. I always felt somehow the draft wouldn't grab me. I remember hearing of a frat boy throwing a television at the wall and others getting "fall down" drunk. 119 was a number that was a...

David, Wisconsin, 1969. Parameters of Conscience

Truthfully, I don't actually remember my specific lottery number, just that it was rather high (near the likely breakpoint for call-ups).  I was already a university student so my original draft status of 1-A-O granted when I turned 18 for religious objection to war...

George, Florida: Army Tutorial

When the lottery began I was an Army Captain on extended leave from the military attending law school at the University of Florida.  As a consequence the lottery had no impact on me.  Not so my fellow law students who were in a state of panic as they saw their...

Terry, New York, 1969. No. 162: Uncle Sam's Wedding Present

I entered graduate school at UW-Madison in Fall, 1967, and was married in the summer of 1968. A wedding present from Uncle Sam was a low draft number and induction proceedings started the next year, I think. My physical didn't exclude me (Darn!) but when I went before...

William, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 81: Army Cooking

I had a student deferment until the lottery was implemented.  In December of 1969 I was in my first year of law school at the University of Wisconsin.  In early 1970 the 826th Ordinance unit of the U.S. Army Reserves, headquartered in Madison, returned from Vietnam. ...

Jon, Bosnia, 1969. No. 365: ROTC Shoes

I was draft-able, I-A I think they called it, for about a year before the lottery because my grade point was not that good. I had been in ROTC for about 2 years and thought that may have been why I was not in Viet Nam. Guys younger than I were being called up near...

Andy, New Jersey, 1969. No. 311: History of Struggle

I took a deep breath and realized that I was home free.  I could quit school, travel the land and no longer worry about the draft.  I also realized that the lottery took the wind out of the sails of the anti-draft movement and co-opted so many who, in a moment, were...

Tom, Texas, 1969. No. 208: Volunteering Not An Option

I had a student exemption before the draft lottery. I remember being very concerned about no longer being "protected" by the student exemption and I considered my options. Getting a reasonably high enough number put an end to my concerns and tentative planning....

Ramon, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 354: Tenor of the Times

I was at the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1967, and unsure of a major. The Vietnam Conflict was escalating, thanks to President LBJ, and I was concerned, and more than a little frightened. I was 18, away from home, meeting new and exciting people. It didn't...

Dennis, 1969. No. 324: Hello New Zealand, Bye-Bye America

I'll never forget that number 324. The next year when the numbers they called for active duty got up to 90 pretty fast I started to worry, again.  324 saved me a fast trip to Canada from Detroit and then the plan was to go to New Zealand.  It was going to be bye, bye...

Dave, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 182: The Final Semester

I watched the drawing on TV with my girlfriend  The projection was that the Selective Service would get beyond 182 in 1970 but maybe not in 1971. So I rescheduled my final semester of school and got a I-S deferment and got into the 1971 pool when they only drafted up...

Mike, Florida, 1969. No. 356: The Luckiest Moment

I can remember sitting in my parents' living room, in  front of the TV, with my best friend who was my age.  We were both very anxious about the lottery and spent the time by making bad jokes about what our numbers would be and what would become of us.  I remember my...

Mark, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 300: Geometry Not GPS

I was an ROTC cadet. I was not a good Army student, but was on track for getting my commission as a 2nd lieutenant. I fully expected to join the 98% who got their commission in the infantry. At that time, 2nd Lts. were forward observers, the guys who sneaked into...

Dennis, North Carolina, 1970. No. 88: Pleading With The Draft Board

In the spring of 1970 (April I think), four friends and myself gathered in an off-campus apartment to listen to the lottery drawing on the radio.  On that fateful day, while I was a junior in the College of Engineering at the University of Florida, my friends and I...

Richard, Pennsylvania, 1970. No. 243: The Boys On The Bus

I received a high lottery number in 1970 but don't recall the exact number, except that it put me pretty much out of harm's way. What was curious is that I was classified as 4-F in 1969 and I didn't expect to be in the lottery. I got the classification after my second...

Don, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 202: Safer Than Dodging Bullets

I was actually drafted in January of 1969 PRIOR to the lottery. I had dropped down to 12 credits at UW-Madison which, according to the draft board, made me eligible. An acquaintance of mine was a 20-year Naval Reserve vet who pulled some strings and got me in the...

James, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 235: Don't Shoot The General

I never had to get a student deferment -- I was classified 1-Y by my draft board on the basis of my terrible eyesight (they were afraid I'd shoot the general if I ever were to lose my glasses) and a history of asthma. There was great apprehension in the days leading...

Allen, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 7: First Degree Heart Block

We sat by a crackling radio listening to the draft lottery, which could determine the status of the rest of our lives.  The numbers moved very slowly.  We were anti-war and had participated in the student protests, some of which became violent.  It was a very exciting...

Robert, Washington, 1969. No. 294: Life in the Draft Lane

I attended UW-Milwaukee from 1965 to 1969 and then transferred to UW-Madison Law School in the summer of 1969.  I had been "protected" by a II-S deferment for my undergraduate years but sometime in 1968, I recall, the undersgraduate student deferment was ended and...

Stephen, Colorado, 1969. No. 51: A Bittersweet Moment

   When I received my undergraduate degree from UW Madison I was immediately sent my draft notice.  I decided to join the US Army reserves which was an option at that time.  I remember expecting to be sent to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri for training and being...

Bill, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 212: Dropping A Load

     In 1969 I had a student deferment since I was a full time student at Madison. My lucky number was 212, while my brother's number was in the 30's. He enlisted after college, but never went overseas. I waited to see how high the numbers would go at my county draft...

Paul, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 360: Just Like A Game Show

In the fall semester of 1969, I started graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  I had just graduated, having had the good fortune of a student deferment; but I probably would have been drafted by the end of the summer, were it not for two changes of...

Bill, Oregon, 1969. No. 34: The Sword of Damocles

When I headed off to the University of Wisconsin as a freshman in September, 1967, I didn't know much about Vietnam. My fellow freshmen and I assumed then that by the time we graduated, Vietnam would be behind us. But the war dragged on, and sometime during my...

Bob, Florida, 1969. No. 333: Difficult and Strange Times

The first 1969 lottery was a Monday night, broadcast nationally, in December of my sophomore year at the University of Florida. Before I left for class, a number of my fraternity brothers and myself each contributed $10 into a pool, to be given for the lowest number...

John, Florida, 1969. The Random Nature of Things

The lottery made me appreciate the random nature of things. I volunteered for the infantry and the Rangers and served overseas for 4+ wonderful fun-filled years. I thought I owed the country at least that much. Some gave a whole lot more. There isn't a day that I...

Fred, Florida, 1969. No. 325: No Need To Flee

I had just entered Grad School at UF the first year of the lottery.  I had a student deferment throughout my undergrad studies but learned that enrollment in Grad School didn't provide a deferment.  I really didn't know what I was going to do but was afraid to be...

Dave, Florida, 1969. No. 3: Remembering the Physical

I was in Atlanta, healing from a car accident when the lottery was done. Once back in college, I learned that there were many resources there to help fail the physical, and many people willing to help. My resolve to flunk the physical was fueled by my roommate who...

Andy, Indiana, 1969. No. 3: The Cowboy Doctor

I was a graduate student on a student deferment in Iowa City.  Damn, if my birthdate (Dec. 30th) didn't come up third!  I immediately got notice to report to Chicago for the physical. Because I was in Iowa, I petitioned for a change of location for the physical and...

Kiki, Florida, 1969. No. 69: All Evidence Returned

I started college in the fall of 1964 with a student deferment. After two years, I dropped out for a year, got married and had a kid. When I reapplied for my student deferment in 1967, some kind soul, to whom I will always be grateful, sent back my application with a...