The night of the first lottery I was at a Duke-VPI basketball game in the Greensboro Coliseum. (Va. Tech was known as VPI in those days, as you may recall). A fellow sitting several rows below me had a transistor radio and was writing down dates and draft numbers as they were broadcast. I looked over his shoulder (as lots of people did) and my birthday came up as number 96, which confirmed that I probably would be in the military after I graduated from Duke on June 1, 1970. (I bet everybody in that first lottery remembers their draft number, although at our age we may forget lots of other things far more important).

I was a brother then in Sigma Phi Epsilon. Around a half dozen of us had birthdays in the first half of November, and all of us drew numbers below 100. That indicated to me that the numbers were placed in the jar in chronological order, so if you had a birthday early in the year you were more likely to get a high number, and vice versa.

I was not as upset as some folks about my number, because I figured I would have been drafted anyway without the lottery, so I was no worse off because I drew a low number. My dad and father-in-law both dodged lead in WWII, so I had no inclination to dodge the draft if I was called. I never tried to get into a National Guard or Reserve unit, although many of my friends did.

I went ahead and started law school in Chapel Hill that fall. I was reclassified I-A and was on the verge of getting drafted when a law school classmate told me about an Army ROTC program at NC State that accepted graduate students. I drove over and applied that day and was accepted within a few weeks. Between applying and getting accepted to the State program I got a draft notice, which was stayed while my ROTC application was processed. I had earlier tried to get into the Air Force ROTC and Navy ROTC at Duke, but was too near-sighted; however the Army did not rule me out. The irony is that seventeen years ago I had eye surgery for myopia and have not worn glasses since, not even for reading.

By the time I graduated from law school in 1973, the war had wound down. I ended up spending only six months on active duty, in Ft. Knox Kentucky after my first year of law school, Ft. Bragg NC after my second year, and at Ft. Lee Virginia, only two hours from Durham. 

I got married in December 1972, and after law school graduation and the bar exam in 1973, I had seven weeks that summer to travel around the country with my new bride before reporting to Ft. Lee.

After my active duty I technically was in the active reserves for eight years, but I was never called to summer camp or assigned to a reserve unit. Over that eight years I received periodic letters from the Dept. of the Army updating my status and sending me for a physical a couple of times. After several years since I had worn a uniform, I got a letter informing me that I had been promoted from 2nd to 1st Lieutenant due to my valiant service, yada yada.