I was studying electrical engineering at the University of Kanas, which was a 4 1/2 year program. We had to convince my draft board to give me the final 6 months draft deferment to finish the degree. I had been notified earlier in the year that I would be drafted as soon as I completed the final semester, and I was ordered to get my physical over the summer to be fully prepared to leave.
I had been offered a summer job in Houston with a company called Schlumberger. I got draft board permission to have my physical in Houston. I knew I had a bad left knee from a football injury (a torn ACL) that had never been repaired. I was told to bring my doctors’ records to the physical. In Houston, they were actually quite thorough, having my knee checked out by a doctor. I actually thought I passed the physical and started making plans to likely be drafted.
Then in early fall I got a letter that said I failed the physical and was classified I-Y. That December my draft lottery number was drawn at 242. I got a job offer from Schlumberger where I spent the next 17 years. I often think about how lucky I was, but how many were not. It was a life or death lottery for some.