My experience with the draft began in 1964. That year, like many men, I asked for a four year college deferment. Since my degree was Architecture and it was a five year program, I was not sure what would happen at the end of year four. I then had to beg for the fifth year from my draft board and convince them that my college deferment request was still valid. Since I had transferred to KU after my freshman year, I also needed an extra half year to graduate in December of 1969. That was tough, but somehow I got it.

As anyone in college knew, the minute that you graduated you would likely be drafted. Add that to the three years that you had to work for an Architect before you could be licensed, the apparent choice for me was to join the National Guard and work at the same time. The Kansas National Guard had just returned from being called up for active duty in  Vietnam.  In September of 1969, several of us drove to the Guard headquarters and met with the commander to sign up. He informed us that with a college degree we would immediately be made officers. However, since the Guard had just returned he needed a few months to get reorganized and asked us to come back on December 5 and assured us we would be first in line for positions. Soon after, President Nixon announced the first draft lottery, to be held on December 1. Since we were graduating at the end of December, this was cutting it close.

So on Dec. 1 several of us watched TV for the first lottery and prayed for a high number. Fortunately my number was 256 and it may have been the happiest day of life. The others with low numbers went and signed up with the Guard. While if drafted I would have served, I like most did not want to go to Vietnam. Not knowing what would come, I chose to gamble with my high number and ride out the one year of 1970. However with a I-A classification, few companies wanted to hire you, you could not get a car loan, and while I had an Architect in London offer me a job, you could not leave the country to work. None of us had any idea of how many numbers would be called; in the end the high number for 1970 was 195.

While I seldom think of it today, the lottery truly changed the course of my life.I lost several friends in that war and I can only guess that someone from up above was watching out for me.