I was a junior at NC State living with a couple of classmates in an apartment off campus on the night of the fateful first lottery.  Two of us got low numbers and the third guy lucked out with a number over 200.  The guy with the other low number was already in Air Force ROTC so it wasn’t life-changing for him.  And I still had a year and half of student deferment left which seemed like forever at that age.

As I was getting within a couple months of graduation I decided it was time to face facts.  I had already been turned down for the job I wanted because of (doubtless, although unstated) my low draft number.  I decided to scoot across Western Blvd to the Reserve Center and see about signing up.  They told me there was a reserve medical unit meeting in Durham that night and I should be there at the appointed hour for a physical.  I was and they did.  As Army physicals go, this one was pretty laid back.  I passed, they gave me a copy of the paperwork and I was on my way.

A couple weeks later I got my notice from Selective Service to report to the induction center in Charlotte for a draft physical.  I showed up as instructed with my paperwork from Durham in hand.  I proceeded to take the written test with everybody else then showed the official my paperwork, which seemed to both surprise and annoy him.  He conceded I would not need to take the whole physical again but I would need to stay there the rest of the day anyway while everybody else went through the rest of the process. 

By the time I graduated I had been sworn into the Army Reserve unit in Charlotte.  With no civilian job, I attended weekend Reserve drills and waited for my orders to basic training.  I reported to Ft Knox, KY, on Labor Day weekend, 1971, and to Ft Sill, OK, in January.  In April my active duty was over and I reapplied for the job that I’d been denied earlier.  This time (surprise) I was hired and I’ve been there 37 years.

It’s still not clear if I would have been drafted and, if I had been, I probably would not have gone to ‘Nam.  Although my six years as a "weekend warrior" was a pain at times, I don’t regret the decision or the experience.  It was certainly easier than what a lot of guys went through and I got a glimpse of what it takes to defend this country that guys with the high numbers didn’t get.