When I received my 191 lottery number, I thought I would be safe from the draft. I therefore passed up an offer to join the National Guard and decided to take my chances. As luck would have it, the Bethesda MD draft board that year (1970) went through number 195 and I was called in December, the last month in which I was eligible to be drafted. Not wanting to end up as cannon fodder in Vietnam, I scrambled to get into an officer candidate school and after being rejected by the Army and Air Force was finally accepted for Naval Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola FL.
It turned out that this was the best thing that ever happened to me and totally changed the direction of my life. In the 15 months I had been waiting between graduating from Duke in June and when I was inducted, I was working in the family automobile business. I was sure that would be my life’s career, one which I felt a familial obligation to do, but one which I could not say that I was really excited about. My father, my brother and two uncles were all car dealers and loved it, but it was not really my thing.
After Pensacola and receiving my flight officer wings, the Navy, instead of sending me to Vietnam, sent me back to my home town and the Pentagon where I served out my four and one half years and then became a civilian employee of DoD. I had a fantastic career as an intelligence analyst, culminating in working at the J2 as the deputy for targeting during the second Iraq war.
Without the draft lottery, I would probably still be in the automobile business and hating it instead of having a wonderful 37 year career in government.