We had a small party on the day of the draft and I drew number 65. Out of the group of maybe 6 one other guy had a low number and he ended up going into the Army Reserves because he was married with a baby on the way. I talked to a recruiter with a couple of my friends about enlisting under the buddy system and going somewhere like Hawaii but that wasn’t reality, those guys didn’t really want to go. I didn’t really want to go either, I had a job, a 1968 Camaro, and was having too much fun. I finally decided to volunteer for the draft at the end of January in 1972, it was real cold in Illinois and I thought I should get this over with. I got on a bus to Chicago for my physical and stayed one night at some crappy hotel where there was a lot of inductees staying. It was like animal house at that hotel, all kind of rowdies and someone threw a tv out of their window. I met 3 guys from a local town near me that were also going in. They had a friend drive them up and had been drinking beer all the way there. They got pulled over by a Chicago cop and ended up slipping him a $50 bill to let them go. I passed the physical the next day and was inducted that afternoon and on a plane to Fort Polk that evening. I had never really been away from home by myself and had never flown before so it was a real eye opener. Most of the guys in my basic training company were from Illinois and the majority from Chicago so it was kind of scary. The NVA and Viet Cong had started the second Tet so the drill sergeants were telling us that we were going to Vietnam. I  filled out a questionnaire and said I wanted to go somewhere warm like the Pacific or even Asia region and that in my civilian life I worked as a forklift driver. Lo and behold when we finished basic training, I got orders to go to Germany as a 62M20 rough terrain forklift driver, no AIT at all. When I got over there, I was assigned to an Air Defense Artillery unit and served 19 months in Germany guarding Nike Hercules warheads. It wasn’t too bad in the beginning, we did 24 hours on guard duty, 24 off and then a normal 8-hour shift day. There were about 36 of us GI’s stationed with the German Air force. As a shortage of personnel developed, we were doing 24 on and 24 off continually which got real old fast. I applied for an early out to go back to school and received a 45 day early drop so I got out on December 15th of 1973, I was so happy. I went back to my old job and ended up retiring from the same company with almost 47 years of service. I recently went on an Honor Flight sponsored by my former company and I have never been more privileged to be in the company of some of the finest people I know. I never really thought too much about serving my country but after the Honor Flight my pride has been renewed in being a veteran and I am proud to be an American.