When I was a junior at Chapel Hill, I had already lost one high school friend who joined the Marines, stormed a machine gun nest somewhere in Vietnam, and was ripped open. By then the Marines were drafting and I knew the possibilities were growing that I too would be drafted. So I applied for Naval Officers Candidate School and was turned down. Guess everybody was doing the same thing.

President Nixon gave us all a bye if we were in grad school between fall 1969 and spring 1970. When the lottery was held, my roommate and I (at Wharton School getting our MBAs) were doing our usual studying while drinking beer. Or was it the other way around? Watching a great program on TV when it was interrupted by the lottery, which neither of us had ever heard of.

The announcer said the first 125 birth dates were sure to be called up. We listened closely. Neither of our birth dates came up. The announcer said something like "We’ll now take a short break to let those of you whose number is up recover from your heart attack or similar event." Then the next 125 dates came up. Again, neither of ours was drawn. A few minutes later I got a call from my brother Bob from the Zete house at The Hill. He said, "Bill, Bill, did you see your number?"

"No, I didn’t."

"It was 366. Dead last."

My roommate and I had a few more beers to celebrate, then went off to a sound sleep. Meanwhile my roommate from Carolina, whose number was 002, joined the Pitt County National Guard.