I very well remember the lottery. I had a number in the lowest 3rd, which we were told would guarantee being drafted. I was in my senior year at UGA, with one quarter remaining until graduation in 1970. I was scheduled to finish classes in December of 1969. In August of ’69, I got my draft notice to report for the physical. I contacted my draft board manager in Orlando, FL and asked if it could be postponed til January of ’70–then, I’d do anything asked of me. She’d known me all my life and knew I’d do as I said.
This was accomplished and I was allowed to finish classes. When I got the notice to report for a trip to Jacksonville for the exam, I went willingly. I believe I was a true patriot and I was ready to answer the call. In the meantime, I’d explored enlisting in the Navy, as my dad and his brothers had been Navy in WWII and were proud of their service. Dad saw a lot of combat in the Atlantic Fleet.
When the physical exam was complete, I was told that I had a high amount of sugar in my urine and it would require further testing, which confirmed the problem. Though I had no other health problems, the Selective Service then told me that since the Vietnam war was not a "declared" war, they would not accept me. In their words, I had a high chance of developing diabetes. I am 65 now and still healthy.
As a result, I found a job in construction, running large heavy equipment (cranes, dozers, draglines, etc.) and spent 2 years building Disney World, primarily the Contemporary Hotel. Then I moved on to 40 years in the wholesale grocery warehousing and trucking industry. In looking back, I think that military service would have benefited me greatly and am saddened that I didn’t have the chance.
I have two nephews and a niece who are career military (Marine Corps and Navy) and I am very proud of them. I have always been a strong supporter of our troops and can get choked up easily every time I see the American Flag.