I was a senior student at the University of Missouri in the fall of 1969 and was due to graduate in May of 1970 thereby losing my college exemption. On lottery night I went with all my other Sigma Nu fraternity senior brothers to our favorite beer joint in Columbia, Missouri, called the Stein Club, and we ordered the freshmen pledges to listen to the radio and write down the lottery numbers. When we returned to the house at midnight we learned our fate and I saw that I had a very low number (50).
I received my draft notice in the spring and took a bus to the Induction Center in St. Louis for my pre-induction physical—I will never forget the negative feeling and depression felt by all the guys on that bus. My father was a US Navy officer in WWII and Korea and made arrangements for me to join the US Naval Reserve Program in Hannibal, Missouri, and I did that a few weeks before I was to be called up. This program consisted of boot camp in Great Lakes Naval Training Station followed by Fire Controlman A School and then two years active duty on a Destroyer Escort called the USS KNOX DE-1052. There were a number of college graduate enlisted men on the ship who were low draft lottery guys like me.
I was discharged in August of 1973 just in time to begin law school at the University of Mississippi where I graduated in May of 1976. The lottery and draft effectively delayed my career by 3 years; however, it gave me an opportunity to see some historic naval operations in Vietnam and experience the beaches in Hawaii and the Phillipines.