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What's Your Number?

By Vietnam magazine 
Originally published on HistoryNet.com. Published Online: November 25, 2009 
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366 blue plastic capsules contained the birthdays that would be chosen in the first Vietnam draft lottery drawing on December 1, 1969. The first birth date drawn that night, assigned the lowest number, "001," was September 14. (Selective Service Archive)
366 blue plastic capsules contained the birthdays that would be chosen in the first Vietnam draft lottery drawing on December 1, 1969. The first birth date drawn that night, assigned the lowest number, "001," was September 14. (Selective Service Archive)

During the Vietnam War, young men gathered in college dorms and friends' homes to listen to live TV and radio broadcasts of the U.S. Selective Service System drawing lottery numbers to determine who would and would not be drafted. The 2010 issue of Vietnam magazine revisits those days in the article, "LIVE FROM WASHINGTON, IT'S LOTTERY NIGHT 1969!"

How would YOU have done?
To find what number you would have received, click here to upload a pdf showing the Results of the First Vietnam Draft Lottery by month and day.

*How did Prominent Figures do?
Oliver Stone: 113, September 14, 1946
Pat Sajak: 007, October 26, 1946
Bruce Springsteen
: 119, September 23, 1949
Sylvester Stallone
: 327, July 6, 1946
Samuel Alito
: 032, April 1, 1950
Clarence Thomas
: 109, June 23, 1948
Dan Quayle: 210, February 4, 1947
Al Gore
: 030, March 31, 1948
Bill Clinton: 311, August 19, 1946
George W. Bush
: 327, July 6, 1946
Billy Crystal
: 354, March 14, 1947
David Letterman
: 346, April 12, 1947
Tom Daschle
: 043, December 9, 1947
Howard Dean
: 143, December 17, 1948
Tom DeLay: 312, April 8, 1947
Jay Leno
: 223, April 28, 1950
Rudy Giuliani
: 308, May 28, 1944
Stephen King
: 204, September 21, 1947
Donald Trump
: 356, June 14, 1946
OJ Simpson
: 277, July 9, 1947
Bill Murray
: 204, September 21, 1950

*Some in this list, who were already serving and whose draft status had been resolved, were not affected by the draft lottery. Otherwise, every male aged 19 to 26 had a stake in the 1970 draft lottery, as it determined the order in which men with birth dates between 1944 and 1950 were called to report for induction in 1970. Some on the above list were already serving, received student or medical deferments, volunteered for other service, or for various other reasons were not drafted in 1970.


92 Responses to “What's Your Number?”


  1. 1
    Tommie Stallings says:

    Got drafted in 1970

  2. 2
    John Chalus 359 says:

    I was a volunteer. I enlisted in the US Navy while still in my senior year in high school. I graduated in 1969. I became a Navy SEAL and did a deployment to RVN in 1971. I am proud of my service and of having the honor of serving my country as a SEAL.

  3. 3
    Scott L Powell says:

    I was a volunteer. I was number 11! I immediately went down and enlisted prior to graduating from high school. I enlisted in the Navy and served two tours in 'Nam and retired as a Chief Petty Officer in'91.

  4. 4
    Dennis M. Rog says:

    After high school I immediately enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. I would
    have enlisted regardless even if there was no war because my father
    and my uncles were in WW2 and I personally felt that it was my duty
    to serve. I was in from 1969 to 1973 received an Honorable Discharge
    and one of the best benefits I received was that I was able to attend
    college on the G.I. Bill. I am proud of my service and would do it again.

  5. 5
    Harry G. Reeder says:

    As it was, I was a 20 year old just working and hanging out in 1968 so I got drafted in February.
    If I would have made it through most of 69, my December birthday would have pretty much sealed my fate anyway.
    I served 2 years as a draftee in the Army, served in the Nam, and received an Honerable Discharge.
    I wouldn't have necessairly wished it on anyone else, but it was a life's experience that I can still pass on.

  6. 6
    Ron Buchnat says:

    I enlisted in the Navy in 1963 and after "A" School and flight school training with VP-31, I received orders to VP-4. My squadron participated in Operation Market Time in 1965 and again in 1967. If I didn't enlist and waited for the draft, my number would have been 113. I enjoyed my four years of service and would do it all over again.

  7. 7
    SFC Howard C Hudson (Ret) says:

    My number was 005. I was drafted in December of 1969 and went in in January of 1970. At the MEPS Station that day the told us the Marines were taking 20%. I went to Ft Lewis and the first thing I discovered was after you got that mighty fine haircut, how cold it was outside. Went to AIT at Ft Rucker and on to Vietnam, Republic of. Spent eighteen months at Long Thanh and Bearcat with side trips to Bien Tuy. I was with the 210th Avn Bn, the YO-3A Army-Lockheed Team and finally the Garrison Unit at Long Thanh. Came home to the world and got the hell out. Sixteen months later I came back in as a grunt and retired after twenty-two years. Would I do it again. Absolutely!

  8. 8
    chas b pfeiffer, sp4 says:

    drafted 12/63 enetered service 12-10-63 served 504th MP Co. Ft Eustis, Va Home of the Transportaion Corps. Never in country. Served 32 yrs Long Beach Policeisability retired. went thru Tiger Land with several co-workers who also continued their service with their country,

  9. 9
    Michael LaLone says:

    Graduated from high school in 1968, joined the Marine Corps immediately. Never had a draft card until I was discharged in '74. Radio Operator/Viet. Language Specialist, in country w/ the 3rd Mar Div in Sept 69, fortunate to be pulled back to Okinawa in November. 3 years active service, damn proud of it. 27 yrs Natl Park Ranger in emergency services, now retired.

  10. 10
    Warner DeFord says:

    I knew I would be drafted when I reached the age to go and decided that I would dodge the draft by joining the Marine Corps in December 1967… I got to Vietnam in August 68 and was released from active duty with an early out in September 69…. When the draft lottery was drawn in January 1970 I was still 19 years old and my birthday was the 4th number drawn… I was successful at not being drafted.

    • 10.1
      Dr. Jerry says:

      Okay, you were successful at not being drafted but you ended up in Vietnam anyway, so what's the point? If you're intention was to avoid the war—which is normally why people wanted to avoid being drafted—then joining the Marine Corps was just about the worst possible way of accomplishing that goal. Marines were the first to be deployed over there into combat situations and they suffered a very high casualty rate.

      • 10.1.1
        Susan Shaw says:

        If you "joined" instead of being drafted, many times you got the job you wanted instead of the body they needed. The job put you either in or out of harms way….so to speak. And not everyone who joined were wanting to avoid the war. And being "one of the few" is still the best job in the world. Why would anyone want to be an Army of one?

      • 10.1.2
        kristie07 says:

        Seriously?1? Can you really be that cowardly Dr. Jerry??? I was born in 74 . . . my dad was too young to be drafted or join the military. He attempted to join USMC but, his mother refused to give him permission to drop out of school and join. However, I spent many years listening to my grandfathers accounts in Germany during WWII. I was raised to appreciate the service of all our US Vets for their sacrifice that has given me the freedom to post my opinions here!
        I am very proud to say that my family's service also included 3 cousins who have served in Iraq; a great-great-great grandfather who served as a Union Officer during the Civil War and I believe multiple grandfathers who served in the Revolution and received land payments that brought my family to KY.
        THANK YOU Mr. DeFord and THANK YOU to all our service men and women, as well as their families who have sacrificed SO MUCH to ensure mine and my childrens' freedom!!!

      • 10.1.3
        Mike Wilde says:

        I have nothing but respect for the brave men who served our country in Vietnam! I'm ashamed at the way our country treated returning soldiers! Thank you for your service and sacrifice!

  11. 11
    Benjamin Parks says:

    I joined the Air Force while still in High School via the Delayed Enlistment program in 1966, my draft status after service indicated that I had already served. My number, 351 was wasted on me, I wish I could've traded it with some friend who had other plans.

    • 11.1
      Katie Nielsen says:

      I'm studying the Vietnam war in US History right now. we have to do a narration using certain terms. one of the terms is the draft. I was reading your comment to this post, and was had a question for you.you said that before you graduated, you signed up for the Air Force. When you were called, it ready said you had served when you hadn't? thank you:)
      Katie
      10th grader, IA

  12. 12
    John Zoomie says:

    I was #330, knew I would not get drafted, but volunteered at the end of Vietnam anyway. I did not go over there, but worked with the incoming Vietnamese refugees. I never felt as if I ever served my country, quite the contrary, MY COUNTRY served me. Within my 20 year career I used tuition assistance and the GI Bill to net five college degrees and the skills to excel in this wonderful country to include my own business. God bless America, there is no place like it. Professor John, retired USAF.

    • 12.1
      Susan Shaw says:

      I too worked with the incoming refugees on Camp Pendleton, CA. Where did you do your work with them? I have never heard from someone who did what I did…

  13. 13
    Mike Jett says:

    i wanted to be in the service. Tried to join the Navy and the Air Force, but flunked the physical. So when I came up number 11, I really thought the routine would be the same, but to my surprise, the same physical taken for the third time at the same place was okay for the army. Today marks the 41st anniversary of my induction. I will never forget the moment at the induction center when we were told to count off our number in line and the officer said all odd numbers go to the Marine Corps. I ended up in the 101st at Phu Bai working the AO that the Marines had just left. Forty years ago to the week we were in an operation that had us living in holes at Khe Sahn. Probably the worst days of my life, but I survived and went on to have three marriages, 7 children and 13 grand children. The funny thing is I probably would not be so blessed if I had not been called on that fateful night.

  14. 14
    Jimbo 256 says:

    The first commandment is "thou shalt not kill". I never did accept the right of the government to force me to break that commandment.

    • 14.1
      rich says:

      Still go to church Jimbo or did you stop right after the draft.

    • 14.2
      Dan says:

      But you sure dont mind enjoying the freedoms that we have because of those who did step up to do the job.

    • 14.3
      Rich says:

      Correct and the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion.

      Interesting that Moses brought that commandment down and he and his followers then embarked on a military campaign to take land – and they did kill. Wonder how theologians reconcile that one.

    • 14.4
      Kerry says:

      My understanding of the original Bible commandment in Greek was "thou shalt not do murder". Killing was justified depending on the circumstance.

    • 14.5
      Mark says:

      Thou shall not murder is way down the list dear bible thumper. You might read it some day. There are only 10 for God's sake.

    • 14.6
      kristie07 says:

      The first commandment, Jimbo . . . REALLY? Everyone who has SACRIFICED to protect YOUR freedom can tell just how IMPORTANT religion is for you!
      Again, Thank you to all our BRAVE men and women who have served . . . to protect ALL our freedoms.

      • 14.6.1
        Dave says:

        I think I heard where the last WW I Vet died last year ….if he were in a WW I blog He would have had no one to argue with ….lol This will never be settled but, eventually there will be a last man standing here ….and he'll have the final word but sadly he won't have anyone to dispute his view of the war. This place opened up a whole can of worms …. I used to write about my thoughts and haven't looked at them in years. Today I did.
        "Ever silent is the night
        of who was wrong and
        who was right,
        of who will go and who remains
        who now is chosen to hold me sway
        as dust to the wind cast lots o'er my soul
        and wonder not "for whom the bell tolls"
        for now is my time …… this night I must flee
        one day to be your time, "It will toll for thee"

  15. 15
    Jolyn says:

    I was drafted in the marines January 26 1970, but was not in country, guest i luck out, stay in the states, Treasure Island , SF.

  16. 16
    Shelly says:

    I was an 18-year-old female in 1969. If I had been a boy, I would most certainly have been called up due to my lottery number. My heart ached for all the young men who had to leave. I am deeply respectful and grateful to all of you who went for all of us at home. Every one of you is a hero!

  17. 17
    rich says:

    I was drafted in 1956, nothing to do with Vietnam Obviously.
    I served In Germany with the 7th Army Ernst Ludwig Kaserne.
    Darmstadt, Germany. 553rd F.A HQ Battery.
    My Father, Uncles, Brother, Son and a lot of good friends have all served in the Military. It builds Character. One of my Grandsons
    serves with The Navy at Lamoore Naval station in California. going
    on 7 years. Two tours of duty aboard Aircraft Carriers.

  18. 18
    rich says:

    Jimbo the First Commandment is I am the Lord thy God you shall not have any other God's before me.

  19. 19
    Mike says:

    Trump graduated from college in May/June of 1968, so he would have been prime draft material from that date until Dec of 1969, when the first lottery was held. That's a year and a half of unexplained "skating" for him. He should not be included in this article. He states his love for the country, yet never had the stones to serve it as some of us did. Would love to hear "the rest of the story."

  20. 20
    Kelly says:

    I just wanted to say Thank You for all of those who fought for this country, and the people who live here. Because of you bravery, I am able to raise my daughter in freedom. I also want to thank the Men and Women who are fighting for our freedom today. You will always be our hero's!

  21. 21
    Phil Edwards says:

    I I remember that night and the televised draft lottery which seemed almost too bizarre to be real. Gathering around the family television set, where my parents and I had so often enjoyed the many great TV programs of the 1960's that had been broadcast for our entertainment, we were now trying to take in an event that was affecting us all most personally. Like others around me at school, I was somewhat uneasy with the idea of serving in Vietnam but had always considered it fairly inevitable that I probably would someday the way the conflict was dragging out. The wait for the lottery program to come on and to hear my birth date read was a fairly intense experience but when November 1 came up almost immediately and took number 19 on the board, I recall feeling surprised as well as disbelief that it was all over for me so quickly. Having to drop out of college in my freshman year, I was inducted in the Army in 1970.

  22. 22
    Mike says:

    My draft number was 53. I didn't know this until recently. But I went in on the delayed enlistment with a friend of mine. I passed the physical, he didn't. I spent 7 1/2 years in the Amry Security Agency, and spent 4 years in SE Asia but not Vietnam. Volunteered twice for Nam but was turned down both times. Had lots of fun times in the Army til I went to Ft. Hood Tx. Got out after Ft Hood. I didn'y like the Army, but liked the Army Security Agency.

  23. 23
    Gene says:

    As I write this on Veteran's day, I certainly have the utmost respect and admiration of all who have served. I graduated in '69 and had a draft number of 254. I grew up in the country within a mile of the Ft. Hood reservation. My dad was a mechanic at the base and we had a steady stream of GIs that seemed to adopt my parents. I knew a lot of the young men that were sent to Vietnam. I saw the concern in their eyes and the anxiety in their voices. I didn't join and I wasn't drafted. But I am thankful for all who did serve. God bless you!

  24. 24
    Dale says:

    Joined the Navy after HS in 1970. Intent was to become corpsman but the tests landed me on a submarine. Spent most of my enlistment hiding from Ivan waiting to launch Polaris missiles. The draft wasn't a factor in my decision. If I had it to do over, I wouldn't change a thing other than I might have re-enlisted after my six was up. But the culture had a very different opinion of the military back then.

  25. 25
    Patty says:

    So if you enlisted in the army in the mid 1960s, how long did you have to serve? Likewise, if you were drafted how long did you have to serve if you did not sign up for another tour of duty? How much of that time would be spent in active duty versus training? For instance, if you signed up, and were sent to Nam how long would you have been in 'Nam?

    • 25.1
      Steve says:

      Your service commitment depended upon the MOS that you enlisted for. Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) is the training that the Army provided.
      Most guaranteed MOS training required a 3 or 4 year service commitment. Draftees were not assured of a specific MOS and were enlisted for 2 years of active duty. Training counted as active duty service. A standard tour in Vietnam was for 365 days in country.

  26. 26
    Roger says:

    In 1969 my birthday was 277.

    In 1970, my first year of eligibility, I won the lottery July 9th

    I was drafted in 1971

  27. 27
    robert says:

    just watching an amazing history channel show(3 parts) on the vietnam war. actually, heartbreaking is a better word. i'm 61 and was #25 in the lottery. i was on my way to india after 1 year in college. we were in venice at the grand opera house seeing thelonious monk. met an american woman who asked me if i knew my "number", as the lottery had just happened. i said "no." she asked my birthday and gasped when i said feb. 19th. "that's my brother's birthday. you're number 25."
    the rest is a good story, indicative of the times. i did not serve. and i feel for all who did. i still am a strong believer in PEACE!!!!!

  28. 28
    Mike Jett says:

    Even though I've already commented here, I would like to say something else that's not about me. The other day I was at the VA clinic for a routine check-up and I saw something that took me back. This young fellow, probably not more than 25 was cheerfully calling out to someone down the hall and his spirits were very positive. The thing is about half his skin was grafted onto him and most people would say he was pretty disfigured. In Vietnam he probably would have been a KIA, but thanks to advance battlefield medtech he survives. I got through Vietnam without a physical scratch. These people are coming back from Iraq and Afganistan in this kind of shape are the heroes, as are the ones unscathed…Thank you ladies and gentlemen for your service.

  29. 29
    Brian Kramer says:

    My birthday was 5-29-52. my no. was 81.
    I went into the Reserves in March of 71. I never did find out if I would have been drafted. If my number would have been low enough to be called up. Where can I find that ? Can anyone help?

  30. 30
    Al Hubbard says:

    My number was 309. I remember watching with anticipation (until I fell asleep at about #200) even though I had already decided to join the Navy. In my family we had 2 Marines, 2 Army, & 1 Air Force. All that represented the Navy was 2 outlaws (In-laws). After I partied out of college in March of 1971 I joined the Navy on the 180 day delay plan. I went in Nov 29 of 1971 in San Diego, went to Hospital Corps School, then to Lab Assistant School in Oakland, then to Mobile Construction Battalion 10 (MCB-10). Deployed to Puerto Rico, Diego Garcia, & Guam. Intended to stay for 20 years, but got tired of being called "baby killer" and having garbage thrown at me from cars.

  31. 31
    Number 107 in 1970 says:

    I was drafted in May 1971 and served my two years. The military chose not to send me to Viet Nam but I did spend 19 months in an overseas assignment. For most of my life I have not been accepted by both those that did not serve and by those that served in Viet Nam. Because of that, I do not readily admit that I served and definitely do not decorate myself with every pin, patch and military insigna that I can find. Just because someone did not serve in a combat assignment does not mean that they gave any less to their country.

  32. 32
    Number 107 in 1970 says:

    I believe the draft should be brought back, with modifications.

    1. Every eligable male and female should be included.
    2. The time of service should be 18 months AFTER minimal training is completed.
    3. The 18 months of actual service would provide for no additional job training or benefits after discharge.
    4. The draftee would be able to select military service or work for a civilian agency. Pay would be just above the national minimum wage with all medical, dental, vision paid along with a housing and clothing allowance. A mandatory savings program would provide a lump sum "nest egg" but no other benefits after discharge.
    5. No combat or other hazardous duty assignments for those serving the 18 months.
    6. Those desiring additional/specialized training, higher pay or to have benefits (including college) tthat would extend beyond discharge would be required to volunteer to serve for longer periods with the minimum being three years of continous service.

    Those successfully completing their 18 months would now have work experience, a little money saved and some type of job training. Those that wanted more, could opt to re-enlist, expand their training or extend their draftee service time to obtain civilian job and educational benefits.

    Many of todays youth would benefit from the opportunity to get away from their enviroment, earn some money, learn a job skill and gain some very valueable experience.

    • 32.1
      #330 in 1970 says:

      Are you INSANE?

    • 32.2
      Dave says:

      Is this a variation on ….give a man a fish and you feed him for a day ….teach a man to fish ….yada, yada, yada …. Give a boy a gun and he may only kill 1 person in a robbery ….teach that boy how to use that same gun and he'll go on a rampage …But, just think of all the new jobs you'll create on police forces around this country ….trying to control all the kids you taught how to use a gun effeciently in the NEW DRAFT. Yes in Israel they do what you said but, they are fighting for their very existence and the musslims…. for them it's a way of life for hundreds even thousands of years. but, here in the USA? I like the other guys answer….are you insane?

  33. 33
    Sandy Clemens says:

    I joined the Army Reserve to avoid being drafted BEFORE the lottery was around. I'm not proud of that and would have been anxious to protect my country …. IF that had been the case. BUT it wasn't. The 'Domino Theory'?? Gimme a break! I did then and still do think we should heed President (and General) Eisenhower's words…… 'Beware of the Military Industrial Complex'. It fairly obvious now, the 'Military Industrial Complex' also includes the LEGISLATIVE branch of our government who grub for the billions of dollars involved. Disgusting. Still, the damaged lives and the loss of lives is so very, very sad to say nothing of the waste of money on unwinnable wars for the sake of profit.

    • 33.1
      richie says:

      Bully for you. You didn't drink the coolaid. Every guy returning to college post vn said " don't go !" Do what ever necessary to not go. Having govt. direct war is insane. (still is) Take a hill then retreat, a few days later, retake the same hill. Insane. No ones life was worth the "conflict".
      The gulf of tonkin was a lie. American deaths were underestimated and viet
      deaths were highly exaggerated.
      Worst of all..we have learned nothing.
      Dick cheney is a coward and sent many good people to their deaths.

      • 33.1.1
        OncleWillie says:

        Sorry, richie. The "everyone" you talk about did not include me.

        I find it odd that you decry the Gulf of Tonkin and then lambast Vice-President Cheney. Mr. Cheney sent no one to Vietnam. That would have been Democrat Lyndon Johnson and his SecDef Robert McNamara. As VP, Mr. Cheney was not in the chain-of-command and did not have the authority to send anyone in the military to a combat zone.

        Kindly stay with the facts and leave your personal political agenda at home. I served as a Marine in Vietnam. I did not hear about your service?

    • 33.2
      Mark says:

      You are right. I was in ROTC until the POW's came home. My father was elected to Congress and served from Jan 1963 until Jan 1996 when he retired at age 63. He is 92 now. He was in ROTC at UF until commissioned 6 months befor Pear harbor. He volunteered for the 501 PIR at Taccoa, GA. then part of the 82nd. The 501 moved to the 101st by D DAY HE landed ontop of a heavy nazi nest astride N13 and attacked south toward the primary objective CARRENTAN as a Captain and with bare seniority hewas in command of almost 50 men only one, Sgt Pogue had he ever met. About 11 am the paused and wondered ad the invasion been called off and they left to their own devises as plans would have over run N 13 and they had seen no one after the heavily reinforced intersection to their north other than Frenchmen who, knew the naxi had twice thrown the ALLIES INto the Channel had little to offer. And the nazi brutality in Normandy ws incredible. The whole world knew the invasion was in progress, but the exact place ad time remained secret until the first general died and oughed the entire plan. Thankfully some naxi thought it was an elaborate hoax. Back headed south with Pogue out front and the men in a large rectangle spread well outside both the east and west sides of the road. Pogue was captured and lived in to the 1970s. My father heard a nazi heavy machine being cleared for firing immediately to his right ear, before the shooting he dove into the ditch beneath the gun and when he could tossed in a grenade, got behind a concrete electric pole and started with his Thompson sub machine gun to return fire. That day he shared two cans os Schlitz around. The then erected the first Monument to Freedom in France and balance or empty upon the other. Not until June 13 was CARRENTAN taken. And then only because the panzer and parachute divisions that had arrived te week before or refitting and was unknown to the allies, likewise the intelligence missed the 30 foot tall hedgerows, ancient mounds of rock carried to the property line over a thousand years. The fighting was so fierce that after 7 days of boating the azi simply ran out of bullets and withdrew. That night HILL 30 was assigned as the assembly area, then ear 10 pm they move south to maintain contact with the enemy. As night fell the men dug in a deployed to defend in depth, at dawn they started to move south when they were hit by hr returning tanks and paratroopers. The battle is depicted in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, Fritz Niland, was evacuated prior to battle by JUMPING JESUS THE chaplin of the 501 that wrote up the day in his LOOK OUT BELOW after te war.

      The 501 was awarded 2 presidential unit citations. My father vowed never again
      , and yet the Tolkin Gulf resolution came up after the Kennedy assassination. Just after the President's trip to Tampa where my father hosted the president and rode in the seat next occupied by JACKIE in Dallas. The 101 generals were national security advisor and hair man of the Army. SAM, LIVED to deeply regret the worst decision of his life and after a private discussion with President Lyndon Johnson began assembling the votes to cut off funding. He opposed every armed intervention thereafter, declaring we were to few to iChat too many to die with some authority saying no overnment should ever send us soldiers into a war they were not going to quickly and decisively win and get out.

  34. 34
    First Lottery #195 says:

    I graduated from high school in May 1969 and a month later landed a real good job. I turned 19 on Sept. 24 and remember watching the first draft lottery with my girlfriend (now my wife) and my parents thinking well I will finally know one way or the other. Well I was number 195 right in that middle third so I still didn't know for sure. I got my first notice to report to the Federal Building in downtown Cleveland for a physical in April 1970. Then came the second notice at the end June, "Greetings" was the first word as I recall. I have been selected. Report for induction on Aug 19, 1970. I found out later that number 195 was the last number drafted in 1970. Hated to go and leave the job and family but came back two years later and got the job back and got married. As I look back it was one of the most positive things that ever happened in my life. It taught me alot.

  35. 35
    Mike Jett says:

    Respect.

  36. 36
    Number 51 says:

    I was a senior in college and "won" the lottery with lovely number 51. By December of 1969, many of my High School friends (who survived their tour, some didn't, including my cousin) were returning from the RVN and strongly suggesting that I wouldn't like it there! Second semester passed in a blur and I found myself with a diploma in one hand and a draft notice (still have it) in the other. I was to report for duty on September 2d. Had my physical during June and noticed then that although there were a fair number of college kids there, many of the other draftees seemed to be coming directly out of jail or mental
    hospitals. Since the likelihood of being sent to Vietnam seemed rather high, I made the decision then and there that I wasn't going with those guys. I then enlisted for a three year stint rather than being drafted for only two. I was then informed by some former friends that I was a soon-to-be, killer of asian babies and war criminal! I was asked by a very serious young woman: "how can you shoot women and children"?
    (Standard answer: "don't lead them as much" lol. I wasn't even in yet and my friends turned on me.
    Bottom line: on the day of induction, because I enlisted, I was given a physical deferment that would have been completely ignored had I just llet the draft take me (or so I was told by a friendly young lieutenant!!)

    • 36.1
      Dave says:

      This was a typical attitude of the era … I hadn't thought about it for years until one day my 7 year old daughter came from school. She usually was happy and eager to tell me about her day …but not that day. Finally she came out side where I was working on a tractor still quiet but, I knew something was bothering her so I said just tell.me what bothering you. She did …She asked if i killed babies because a kid at school told her his dad said I did. Coulda knocked me over with a feather. All I ever said to anyone was I didn't shoot at anyone who wasn't shooting at me and babies don't carry guns, so her friends dad was wrong. This was almost 40 years after the war. There was no neutral ground back then "51" ….you was either for or against.

      • 36.1.1
        Tom 51 says:

        Hi Dave, thanks for your comments.

        I was drafted right after "Kent State" and the national moratorium. At the time, it appeared that the government was now starting to shoot college kids for simply protesting. I absolutely didn't want serve and thought that the government was run by fascists.

        At that time there appeared to be a "class war" in this country. Kids from the upper middle class always seemed to get out of the draft. They seemed to have a much different attitude about certain entitlements; among them was an exemption from the draft.

        I was a working class kid. Most of my friends in High School were working class kids and they WERE the ones that were sent to RVN. I got lucky and went to college. Alternatively, had I not gone to school, my suspicion is that I would have been in country during 1967-68. There is nothing that anyone did there that I could say with absolute certainty that I wouldn't have done. (Scare the shit out of me and give me an assault weapon and see what happens.)

        We had been raised by fathers and teachers who all seemed to have been WW 2 "grunts". It was impressed on most of us that we had a duty to serve the country whether we wanted to or not. I was definitely against the war and didn't want anything to do with it, but I wouldn't have fled to Canada. Once again, I got very, very lucky.

  37. 37
    Cleatus says:

    Is it just me or do those blue capsules look to be two different colors?

  38. 38
    Mike says:

    Got drafted in early 70 after dropping out of college, exactly 2 months later. Went to Whitehall St in NYC for my physical. I was classified as 1Y. To this day never knew why, and since 1Y is in case of war, am mystified why I wasn't called.

  39. 39
    Joe says:

    I was drafted in 1971 ( low lottery number ) I joined the USAF in Sept.1971. I was trained as a Bomb Loader/Weapons Mechanic and with my career field I thought they were going to send me to SE Asia. My first duty station was in the European Theater on a Recon. base.with access to munitions storage ,delivered by RF4C. I did not serve in SW Asia ,but I was available for the call. I retired as a E8.

  40. 40
    joe.h says:

    I was drafted in 1970.Report for induction Aug. and send me to Viet Nam Oct..11th.Spend 11 months and 10 days.Brig.221th.MP,Co."C".Da Nang.I was asked WHY?.Never found a answer.

  41. 41
    GC says:

    I was a freshman, drew a high number, and was safe. Watched the first drawing in the Grill at Ole Miss. Some of the young men who were in the grill that night died in the Vanity and Uselessness that was Vietnam.
    Others I knew went, survived, but were never the same. Shattered lives for Nothing. I am thankful I did not have to make the decision to go or not submit. As for fighting for our 'Freedoms", I do not recall ever being threatened by the Vietnamese or any other country in my lifetime. The last time my Freedom and Liberty were defended was when someone took the last shot at some damn Yankee in 1865. And for those who want to argue religion, Jesus is referred to as the "Prince of Peace", not prince of War.

    • 41.1
      Dave says:

      I like your answer …Yes Jesus is referred to as the "Prince of Peace", but satan is referred to as the god of the earth ….. and there in lies the problem!.. WW I and WW II ….there was a defense of our allies to consider … Korea and Nam …all I can remember some one saying why we were drafted there was to protect the 38 th Parallel in Korea and the 17 th Parallel in Nam ..Maybe we shoulda' put up a fence with a sign saying …KEEP OUT .even if someone painted a line, at least you'd know where the line was and not to cross over there ….it don't work that way tho'.. But, we may see another draft if we want to keep a free flow of oil to the World. I don't think too many people realize the build up of military and armaments around Iran just waiting for Iran to buck the sanctions put against them. I read the quote below and thought ….what a wise man he must have been to say this, then I read who said it and had to rethink. but, if you think about it…. GB jr used the same platform to get us back over there and now instead of the Sunnis and Shiites killing each other as they have done for years, they have now banded together to face a common enemy ….You guessed it ….the USA and our need for oil. The quote is so true.
      “Of course people don’t like war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back in one piece? Naturally the common people don’t want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” …Are you ready for the guys name who said this …..Hermann Goering He wasn't too far wrong ….was he?

  42. 42
    Dave says:

    My lottery Number was 21 ….I had left Pa. looking for work and my draft notice followed me out to Chicago. The draft center there looked like they revived it from WW I but, your well being was the last thing anyone thought about. As we walked in there were people outside yelling for us to burn our draft cards, Someone was yelling "Here come more baby killers" One idiot had a bucket of some kind of blood (later someone said it was pig blood) and with a big paint brush was splashing us. All I wanted to do was to get back to Pa to say good by to my family but, they told me I was too close to Canada to trust me to go home. Finally, I signed a paper that I would report in Pa. and they would induct me from there. On the way back out was more people…. some were spitting at us then somebody hit somebody and I thought I'm not even a soldier yet so, I'll be damned if I'm going to fight when when I'd be fighting soon enough. Here I was not old enough to drink or vote but, I was supposed to feel honored I was chosen to fight for reasons that are still eluding me. Now they run these ads that if you see a soldier to walk up and tell them thank you. No one ever said anything that resembled "Thank you" to me. At least over there a guy knew who there enemy was …. but, back here it was worse. Words and attitude of the blissfully ignorant hurt more than any bullet could and it seemed most everyone was your enemy. I forgot everything about those times and days ….I just wanted it behind me and get on with my life. Now when they ask vets to stand on patriotic holidays I remember what happened the last time I stood up. I just sit there and thank God it's over.

  43. 43
    Jim #47 says:

    My number was 47 in the draft. In 1970 I was about to lose my studend deferment, as I was flunking out of a perfectly good community college. I enjoyed the social life more than the academic one. I was a 2 X 6 in the Navy Reserve. Two years active and 4 years active reserve requirement. I went to boot camp at Great Lakes and then to a ship for training. We put to sea out of Brooklyn Navy yard and hit a big storm. I got very sea sick. I had been slated to go to beep school and then on to radio school. I decided after returning to the reserve center to become a corpsman. My cousin was killed in Viet Nam with the 1st MAR DIV in July of 1969 as a corpsman. When I told the HM1 at the reserve center my desire to switch MOS's, he asked me,"Are you an idiot or just stupid?" Don't you know we're losing corpsman at a rapid rate? I replied," I don't want to be on ship for the next two years, I'll take my chances." Well, I finished Corps School at Great Lakes on Dec. 4th 1971 and was sent to NAVHOSPORLFLA for 2 years. I did not see the 4th MAR DIV until 1975 when I went to pharmacy school. I was fulfilling the rest of my active reserve time. I re upped for 2 more years and got out in 1978. I went back in in 1988 and did 18 more years as a commissioned officer and retired in 2006. The Navy did all that for me. I enlisted for a lot of reasons. Like many, almost all of my uncles on both sides served in WWII. My uncle was a corpsman with the 1st MAR DIV at Guadal Canal. I'm glad I enlisted.

  44. 44
    Lloyd #238 says:

    Birthday 1-14-50 (#238). Put on status 1-H after reporting to the San Antonio, Texas induction center in February, 1970. It's very brave to comment on how "patriotic" it was to serve, etc. However, I don't recall anyone at the center wanting to be drafted to fight in a war we were not going to win. Wars never resolve anything anyway. My Levis were made in Vietnam – go figure.

  45. 45
    Lloyd #238 says:

    Another thing. I was a dependent of an Air Force officer for 20 years and lived on bases all my life up to that point. I had enough of it by then. Lived overseas, including France. Our housing was surrounded by WWI cemeteries, human remains and unexploded ordinance. I understood about war by the time I was 6. Judging by some of these comments, there are a lot of grown men who still haven't -

    • 45.1
      Sebastian says:

      Lloyd, if you are so content to have not served in Vietnam, you would not be indicting men who did serve.

  46. 46
    Al says:

    I was classified 1-A from the time I was 18 and then I received a high number in the lottery. They never even contacted me to take a physical and I never called them to ask them why.

  47. 47
    Randy says:

    Lottery number 33, drafted in 1970. Had moved with family to San Francisco from Columbus Ga. (Sitting on the dock of the bay), and my draft notice came, I had 2 weeks to report to the draft board in Pa. Funny thing though, I think that was the best thing for me at that time in my life. It gave me a springboard to my future occupation and made me grow up really fast.

  48. 48
    Tom Dulaney says:

    Was drafted a year before the lottery in 1969 for the 1970 call up. Lucky for me the Army fouled up the rank of corporal at the time, "stranding" me in Germany with the 66th Military Intelligence Group in Munich, where we filed papers during the day and had a wonderful time in Europe at night, on weekends, and on leave. I was incredibly lucky.

    Thanks to all who served whether they wanted to or not, and their families, and most especially to those killed, wounded or damaged psychologically.

  49. 49
    Roy says:

    Had already passed the physical and was 1A, when the lottery took place my number was 1. I knew I was gone and when I reported to the draft office I was then selected for the Marine Corps for a 2 year stint. MCRD here I come. Left on 1-19-70 and got back to the states and out 12-3-71. It's all history now.

  50. 50
    bobcobb33 says:

    Vietnam was a waste of time and humanity. Vets are to be honored however.

  51. 51
    Don Schroeder says:

    My number was 58. Got drafted march '71 into army.

  52. 52
    David says:

    Since 1968, when I was still 16, I realized the war was very wrong and by the time I went to college, I demonstrated against the war many times. I dropped out of college after the April-May 1970 antiwar protests and Kent State & Jackson State massacres and was immediately classified 1A (subject to immediate draft). I was 19 then. I talked to volunteer draft counselors and was seriously considering hitchhiking to Canada if I got the call to appear. But the 1970 lottery placed me at #220 and the counselors advised me I was very unlikely to be called, so the lottery saved my sorry behind.
    I later went on to be a paramedic, then finished college and got into research as a scientist where I made a significant contribution to medical science.

  53. 53
    Mike Miller says:

    I was the last of the draftees. Draft # 66 in 1972. Nixon got elected and I was in before Thanksgiving. It was all good.

  54. 54
    Sp4 Davis says:

    Number 104 for 1971 draft. 1-30 taken in January. 31-100 taken in February. None in March or April. My number was up in May. Basic in splinter city at Ft. Campbell, AIT at Ft. Gordan. 19 months at Quarry Heights, Panama as an MP. Home in 1973. Now retired from Federal Law Enforcement. No "in country" service but was treated as badly as most Viet Nam Vets. This Viet Nam ERA veteran rarely volunteers my service record in "mixed" (civilian and former military) company. Only conflict in history where there are two classes of veterans for the same time period based on where you served. Viet Nam Veterans and Viet Nam ERA Veterans.

  55. 55
    Dave says:

    I read almost all these stories and I do have to admit, If I coulda got out of it I would have. My friend died about 5 or 6 years ago of cancer …. his doctor said it was exposure to agent orange …. not long after he died I went in to see my doctor for what I thought was a boil under my arm, in 2009 a couple of days before my birthday. Found out I had stage 2 lymphoma affecting my heart and right lung so keeping it from my family, well that ship had sailed. Lost all my hair and went from 155# to around 100# by the grace of God I'm still here. No one ever had it in my family's history, on either side so genetics was out of the question as a cause so I tried to get to the root of the problem…..lol Well good luck getting the army admit to anything or take responsibility even when they are caught red handed like LSD experiments, withholding medical help to those colored guys with syphilis, even during the atomic bomb testing where those guys stood up and faced the blast… there was movies of it and they still denied it. So you guys that were fortunate enough to not go, or get a better stint or the guys who were smart enough to go to Canada… God bless you because you didn't miss a thing. Our whole generation was thought of as an embarrassment to the country and they wished we would just go away …. well, another few years and they'll get their wish or I'll get my parade or procession…. I think they'll win. I have nothing in my home to remind me I had anything remotely to do with that place over there. The only thing that pisses me off is that this new bunch of presidents throws that salute out there knowing fool well that they have no idea what it even means and most times it's a pain for them to even do it, because they don't even look the soldier in the eye they're saluting …. ! My lottery number was 21 and I went to the party but, don't feel bad you wasn't invited or chose not to attend, it wasn't all that great.! I know I wish I woulda' stayed home also. I love this country but, I just don't like the people who are running it. I'm not bitter nor do I think about it unless another comrade dies …. maybe they're finally at peace I tell myself. Here's an excerpt from a poem I read quite often …. it's about rain, guns in the distance, and who death had chosen.
    "Rain; he could hear it rustling through the dark
    Fragrance and passionless music woven as one;
    Warm rain on drooping roses; pattering showers
    that soak the woods; not the harsh rain that sweeps
    behind the thunder, but a trickling peace,
    gently and slowly washing life away.
    And death, who'd stepped toward him, paused and stared
    Light many lamps and gather round his bed.
    Lend him your eyes, warm blood, and will to live.
    Speak to him; rouse him; you may save him yet.
    He's young; he hated War; how should he die
    when cruel old campaigners win safe through?
    But Death replied: ' I choose him. ' So he went,
    and there was silence in the summer night;
    Silence and safety; and the veils of sleep.
    Then, far away, the thudding of the guns. …

    Does that sound familiar to any of you?

  56. 56
    Mike #63 says:

    I turned 19 on November the 10th 1970. Got my draft papers sometime in the middle of December. February 4th 1971 started basic training at Fort Leonard Wood Mo. I stayed there for 8 more weeks for combat engineer training. The whole time we were there all of the drill instructors had all of us believing we were going to Nam. After 2 weeks leave I went to Hanau Germany as an atomic weapons expert in ADM. I served almost 20 months in Germany. I really enjoyed Germany and will always remember my experience over there. I got out on the 25th of January 1973 as a spec5. That was about the same time they pulled most of the troops out of Vietnam.

  57. 57
    david says:

    I graduated in 1971, went out and signed up for the draft ( required by law) I kept that draft card in my wallet for the next 20 years, threw it out when I turned 40. Never knew what my lottery number was until today when I looked it on line. number 318. I never felt the need to be involved in Viet Nam. What a hell hole that was. never did serve in the military and my father wont have either If he could have gotten away with it. but none the less I am thankful for those who did go.

  58. 58
    david says:

    yes I am human

  59. 59
    david says:

    whats your problem what do you expect duh

  60. 60
    Jay says:

    I volunteered for the U.S. Army. It was repugnant. In no way did I feel then, nor do I feel now, that we were defending the homeland of the United States. It was all about being a bouncer for the multinational corporations. I would never do it over and strongly recommend that young people avoid war. It is hell. If you want to defend your country exercise your 2nd Amendment rights and buy a rifle. Don't expect to use it though because the U.S. homeland has not been invaded since 1812. Also do your best to keep the corrupt politicians in Washington, D.C. from aiding terrorists. My generation failed to stop Reagan and Bush from aiding the radical Muslim terrorists in Afghanistan and we got 9-11 as a result of their mistakes. You want freedom – become a dissident and resist the government when it does evil. You will do much more for freedom than a bunch of immoral little lemmings who obey orders.

  61. 61
    Adrian Winchester says:

    I have a question for you: After you your birthday was called, how long did you have until you had to go to Vietnam? Was it one month or two?

  62. 62
    Michael Haskins says:

    My lottery number drawn on December 1, 1969, was 46 (my birthday is November 11, Veterans Day). I went for my physical just after Christmas, 1969, and was inducted on February 9, 1970. By mid-April, I had completed basic training and was sent to Fort Sam Houston for training as a medic. By mid-July I had completed AIT and was on my way to Vietnam.

  63. 63
    Joey #332 says:

    I enlisted in the Air Force before the lottery. My number turned out to be 332! Hindsight is always 20/20, having said that it was a life altering experience for the better.

  64. 64
    george says:

    \Well good luck getting the army to admit to anything.\ What a crock. Cancerous lymphoma has been considered a presumptive condition for agent orange exposure for years. I'm betting you were never within a thousand miles of Vietnam.

  65. 65
    Rick says:

    Sr. in College nand my draft # was 3. Immediately went and enlisted in Air Force. Had 4 great years with them in Germany and Phoenix.

  66. 66
    Ed Savage says:

    Got lucky with a lottey number of 259… I remember all of us sitting around the tv in the dorm lounge. Other than meeting my wife, the luckiest thing that ever happened to me.
    I did not support the war by that time… I did support it early on, but by 1969, It was obviously accomplishing nothing. I would have gone if called, but not gladly… By then lots of guys I knew from the neighborhood had returned and many of them were a real mess. I often wonder if they ever did recoup. Anyway, that's my story of the lottery.

  67. 67
    Joe says:

    Born in '43,just enough ahead of the \curve\ to miss the draft for Nam. Did not dodge the draft, just lucked out, even looked into ROTC in college. Thought those who served were doing their duty and obeying the laws of the land. Always thought that those who fled to Canada were the cowards. If you were a patriotic protester, serve in a non-combat roll or refuse to go and accept the legal consequences. Protesters who directed their venom at the soldiers were disgraceful. They were probably embarrassed somewhere in their psyche that they did not measure up.



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