I was in the first lottery and given number 125. I went through college and was made I-A within days of graduating. My one year of eligibility began.
I had a very difficult time finding a job because employers knew I could be called at any time. One company offered me a job and a position in a Navy reserve unit as part of the deal. I foolishly was hoping to not be called and really didn’t have any desire to be in the Navy so I passed on the job and continued my search in vain. When my year of eligibility was up, within a few days I again received word from the draft board that they were extending my eligibility for another three months. At that point I was disgusted and went to the draft board to find out just when they would be calling me. No direct answer—just left hanging. It was at that point that I decided to cut my losses and seek out a reserve unit that had openings. It was obvious that the war was not going well and to give my life now would be useless. I did find a spot in the National Guard Signal Corps and raised my hand and enlisted.
I fulfilled my military obligation only to find out years later that I am not considered a veteran and will not receive anything associated with being a veteran except maybe a flag when I die. No plot, no discounts on a morgage, nothing. I feel a strange emptyness but I suppose I’m lucky in that I’m still alive and I didn’t have to leave the country, but as it turned out even those who did and ran to Canada were forgiven and welcomed back. I served for six years and except for a bag with some green uniforms I have nothing to show for it. I feel more guilty now than if I had run and didn’t find a way to fullfill my obligation.