BROWSE STORIES

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...

Jeff, Florida, 1969. No. 257: What If?

I entered the University of Florida in 1964 and enrolled in the Army ROTC program the mandatory two years.  In order to ensure myself an educational deferment to attend law school and to serve as an officer if I had to serve at all, I voluntarily enrolled in the...

Bob, Florida, 1969. No. 256: The Draft Board's Landlord

I don't think anyone who was of draft age wouldn't remember that night. To my knowledge it wasn't even on TV but on the radio and if I remember correctly Ted Kennedy pulled the ping pong balls. I was at our apartment in Landmark with my roommate Bill who was also a...

Tony, Georgia, 1969. No 135: Greetings From Uncle Sam

I drew number 135 (well, if my memory is correct), but it was within the numbers actually called.   I took a chance and let my college deferment lapse, hoping my number would not be reached.  But it was.  I was called to Jacksonville for a pre-induction physical.  I...

John , Florida, 1969. No. 24: Life Turned Around

Even though I did not go to Viet Nam, this draft affected my life forever.  I was a college junior and ended up at No. 24.  Like many of us, I knew a lot of guys who had gone over there and a number who were never coming back.  I didn't want to go.We had student...

Pat, Florida, 1969. No. 335: High and Low

Because of my job I was unable to listen to the first 100 or so birthdays drawn in the first lottery.  When I returned to my apartrment my three roommates were all listening to the broadcast.  When I asked if my birthday had been called they responded that they didn't...

Geoffrey, Florida, 1969. No. 357: The Waste of War

Like everyone I was listening for my number on the radio. I couldn't believe my good luck. Over the next few days numbers were all anyone was talking about on campus (UF). I was glad of course but also sad for the fellows who did not do as well. In a way the guys with...

Jim, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 113: Forced Out

My birth date was 113 in the lottery.  I had to go to Milwaukee on a bus with a bunch of other young men and go through the military's screening tests.  I did NOT want to go to the war, which I thought was immoral and just plain wrong.  So I "checked the box" - that...

Edmund, New Jersey, 1966. Pre-Lottery MOS Draft

This is the story of Edmund Weinberg who served as a captain, Veterinary Corps, attached to Army Munitions Command, Ford Detrick, Frederick Maryland, 1966-1968. I write this to point out that everyone who served was not selected by or subject to the lottery; rather,...

Alan, Illinois, 1969. No. 364: Cramming At The Library

The evening of the very first lottery had everyone on campus glued to the TV or radio, save a few of us who had other considerations.  I was facing a major Econ exam scheduled for early the next morning and, not being an A student, needed every minute of study. ...

Tom, New York, 1969. No. 30: Packing Up A Life In Five Days

Since 1969 I have been telling friends that the only lottery that I have ever won was the 1969 draft lottery.  I remember being in the den of my dorm (I was the Housefellow) watching TV with all the other residents. Just men at the time and most all eligible for...

Ron, Illinois, 1969. No. 95: The Built-Up Heel

I attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison, during the years 1969 - 1971 after completing my first two years of college near my home at the UW Sheboygan Center Campus. I feel privileged to have attended the UW during that unique and memorable time in history. I...

Robert, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 9: Local Board Rules

I grew up and went to undergrad school (BS, 68) in Kansas where as far as my local draft board was concerned your only choices were: join the weekend warriors (National Guard), go to college for 4 years – with a C average - and then submit to the draft, shoot off a...

Michael, New Jersey, 1969. No. 354: Late for the Lottery

I was a grad student in Chemistry and our laboratory planned to listen to the radio as the numbers were read.  (I was 1-A and slated to go....) I got stuck in traffic on Park Ave. and arrived late after the lottery had started--the numbers were already up to...

Dan, Indiana, 1969. No. 22: Smoking Stogies

I was a junior at the University of Wisconsin and lived with 5 other guys in a dumpy house on Orchard Street.  We gathered in our living room that evening to watch the lottery.  I "won" when my number was drawn at 22.  I was relieved in a way since I knew that I had...

Ridgley, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 45: Sole Surviving Son

I sure remember the night of the lottery.  My friends and I gathered at the KK (the old one on State) to watch the proceedings. I was number 45 (August 2), a very low number.  Quite the party ensued that evening.  In those days, all males had to take 6 weeks (I think)...

Nick, Florida, 1969. No. 59: C.O. Status–Pumping Cheap Gas

I was in my junior year at UW-Madison under a student deferment when the lottery was initiated and my birthday came up No. 59; so I knew that meant I would likely go to Viet Nam upon graduation in June 1971.  I went to Milwaukee in the spring of 1971 for my physical...

John, Florida, 1969. A Second Crack

I rebroke a cracked finger just to qualify for what turned out to be my high lottery number. The draft made me anti-war and ant-draft for life.

Ray, Florida, 1969. No. 65: The Speeding Heart

I had a II-S college deferment in 1969 when they did the draft lottery. The year before there was something of a pre-cursor to the lottery in that if you were in college, you had to take a nationwide SAT-like test and get a minimum score to keep the II-S deferment. I...

Danny, New York, 1969. No. 48: Wages of Fear

In the years I attended the University of Wisconsin, 1967-1971, my classes seemed to be sandwiched between attending a never-ending series of protests and going to hundreds of movies on campus. On December 1, 1969, the day of the first draft lottery, the classic...

Mickey, Tennessee, 1969: No. 194: On The Bubble

I can still remember Lottery Night like it was last night.  I was a Resident Advisor in Sledd C Hall in my senior year at the University of Florida.  Most of the guys from the dorm were gathered in my room listening to the radio.  The rumor was that anyone with a...

Dick, 1969. No. 352: What Will Be Will Be

I graduated from college in May 1969 on a 2-S deferment. I was almost simultaneously reclassified 1-A and took (and passed) my physical at the Chicago induction center in June or July 1969. I also got married that summer and was accepted into grad school at the...

Charles, Florida, 1970. No. 215: Last To Be Called

The lottery will always be for me one of those events one always remembers where he or she was when it took place.  I was in my car on the way back from Jacksonville, Fl, after a University of Florida basketball game.  In the car were my roommate and a friend.  We...

Michael, 1969. No. 360: One Came Back

I was born on June 20, 1950.  At the time of the draft lottery I worked at U.S. Steel and I still do. My best friend, who is the same age as me, also worked at the mill. We always rode to work together. I remember on the night of the very first draft we were working...

Peter, New York, 1969. No. 178: Planning A Life On The Run

I was in my third year at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and was perched with 30 others friends in front of the TV to watch the draft number picks. The mood was almost that of a party as we all thought we were invincible and unable to be drafted into the army...

Roger, 1969. No. 221: Hanoi Jane

On the night of the lottery I drove around for an hour listening to the drawing.  Got No. 221 and felt more or less relieved.  The draft did not affect my direction or schooling.  It did, however, expose me to civil disobedience related to the draft and the war.  I...

Fred, Alabama, 1969. No. 168: Suing the Selective Service

     I remember watching the drawing from the tv room of my fraternity house.  I had No. 168 while a sophomore at UNC.          I left college and was drafted well past my cut-off date. Being strongly against the war I hired a lawyer and sued the selective service...

Gary, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 23: Sergeant Major Six-Pack

In 1969, I was in my fourth year at the University of Wisconsin in Madison (I was on the "five year plan").  I lived in a small apartment building on Frances Street, behind the Brat House on State Street.  The rent was cheap -- $500 for the entire semester.  I was the...

Ben, California, 1969. No. 195: Leaving Academia

As an east coast out-of-state graduate student working as a teaching assistant and living in a grad student dormitory, I was living with a number of returned Vietnam vets who had come back to complete an interrupted education.  They provided more than enough firsthand...

Robert, Kentucky, 1969. No. 329: Asthma Exemption

I was at UW-Madison, had dropped to 11 credits the previous semester and was reclassified 1-A losing my student deferment.  Heard from the Selective Service and took my pre-induction physcial, where my asthma later made me classified IV-F.  The Draft Lottery was a few...

Mike, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 309: Five Great Years in the Air Force

In 1969, I was in my senior year at the University of Florida.  I was in the Air Force ROTC program and would be going into active duty after graduation, so, at that point, my lottery number was not a concern.  It's hard to say if I would have gone the ROTC route if I...

Roger, Florida, 1969. No. 221: No One Forgets

At the time of the draft I was a graduating senior at the University of Florida, so I had student deferment.  My roommates and I listened to the draft on the radio and my birthday came up at No. 221.  At that time, I did not know what to make up of my chances--all I...

David, 1965. To Go Or Not To Go-That Was The Question

I went to the  Oakland Center in the Fall of '65 in response to my draft notice. I had received the Kennedy Exemption in 1963 when my girlfriend married me to help me get it. By early '65 we were separated and divorced. Around September, I was sitting in front of a...

David, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 250: Not At Woodstock

I started college at the University of Wisconsin in Madison in the fall of 1967.  Student deferments were still being granted then, so I was ableto concentrate on my schooling.  I was included in the first draft lottery, along with a few years worth of draft age men. ...

Randy, Florida, 1969. No. 198: Two Possible Futures

We were all nervous about the lottery. In 1969 I pulled 198 but I had a deferment until I graduated which was to be Aug 1970. By the summer of 1970, I knew that the first year (1969) took guys to, I think, 225. It was higher than my number so I figured I better...

John, New York, 1970. No. 305: No Way I Was Going

I was a Junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I graduated in 1971, so it may have been the 1970 lottery. I am not sure. This was after Woodstock, which I attended, and after I was arrested in New York State for a pencil thin joint of marijuana. (I spent a...

Jonathan, Massachusetts, 1969. No. 303: Fortune Smiled (On Some)

I understood the war to be an atrocity visited upon the people of a small country defending itself against foreign invasion by colonialist powers, first the French and then by the most powerful nation on earth, my own beloved U.S.A., causing untold suffering also to...

Mike, Florida, 1969. No. 226: Very Scared

At No. 226, I gave up my student deferment and made myself available for the draft.  I was not called.  We were all very scared at the University of Florida when the numbers were announced.  My roommate got a low number.  He flunked his physical.  Another friend was...

Allen, Florida. No Welcome Back

I was in the lottery, but I volunteered for the Marine Corps and went through Naval Flight Training from Oct '63 until May '65.  I then went to Vietnam twice as a Marine fighter pilot and a forward air controller.  I don't regret volunteering.  I do regret the lousy...

Jerry, California, 1969. No. 332: Wings of Gold

I was a student at the Univ. of Wisconsin during the first draft lottery in 1969. I had a student deferment in any event, but I drew number 332. That meant getting drafted would have been a non-event, but it mattered not a whit as I was also a Midshipman in the...

Dennis, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 154: JAG Reserve Unit

We all sat around in our apartment living room waiting to hear our numbers being drawn. I was No. 154 which was akin to being in limbo. I finished out my degree at UW and interviewed for jobs. The year before I graduated I recall they drew numbers up to the low 200s. ...

Jack, Wisconsin, 1969. No. 163: Numbered Faces At The Pub

The night of the first lottery I began watching it at the Beta House at Wisconsin with several of the guys. The atmosphere was too tense, so I walked over to the Library and began studying in the second floor reading room. About an hour later, my girlfriend June came...

Juan, Florida, 1969. No. 215: The Six-Month Draft Diet

Sheer panic ran through my veins in anticipation of the lottery.  Like most of us, I had a II-S student deferment and thought I would not be exposed to the draft.  Well, the lottery came and I did OK (#215) but my cousin, born on Sept. 14, drew #1.  He ended up in...

Dave, Wisconsin, 1970. No. 48: Bad Trigger Finger

I was "between" schools, having spent the first two years out of high school at Stout State, mostly drinking and being remembered for being able to open a beer can with my teeth and slam the contents down, all in less than 30 seconds. Perhaps it was my lack of...