Re: the lottery [x3]

Mon, 30 Sep 1996 20:47:39 -0400


>> From: Michael Walsh <>
>> To:
>> Subject: the lottery
>> I am trying to determine when the first lottery was held to draft kids
>> into the war. Also, is their a list of the birthdates and lotto picks?
>> Thanks, Michael
>I'm almost certain it was in November of 1969, not '68.

I think Randy is right.

But those people got drafted into the military, not into the war.
10,935,000 served in the military, and 2,215,000 were drafted.
The number who served in Vietnam is about equal to the number
drafted, but many draftees never served in Vietnam.

Draftees made up 16% of battle deaths in 1965. By 1969 this
number was up to 62 percent.

Draft age was 19 to 25, so I don't think I'd call them kids.

Peter Brush



"So I was pretty
focussed on that radio that night until my birthday came up #272. Word
was they would draft into the low 100s. Home free . . . (free?)
BTW, in all the years since, I believe I have met only one person who
couldn't recall his lottery number. What are those numbers out there?"

I was in the midst of what turned out to be 6 years of appeals over the
rejection of my conscientious objector application and so was I-A
throughout that period. I had actually received my draft notice in
January 1965, so being allowed to participate in the lottery (I'm not
sure who exactly made that determination -- whether it was the local SS
board in Berkeley or not) offered the hope that maybe I wouldn't be
going after all. But as it turned out, August 5th got to be #55. (I
finally was given the I-O in early 71 and then spent another year
haggling over where I would do alternative service before they accepted
a position at the Committee for Prisoner Humanity & Justice in San
Rafael, largely because one senator (John Tunney) and two congressmen
(Leo Ryan, who later died at Jonestown, and Ron Dellums) were on the
paper board of directors. They "inducted" me at a time when I-As were
not being inducted, so after one year they had to release me from my
obligation. On the other hand, by then I was thoroughly immersed in the
prison movement and stayed with CPHJ for another four years. (General
Hershey used to talk about the "channeling" process that the selective
service represented -- it worked for me, but not in the way he

I've only met one person in my life who didn't recall their number also
-- maybe it was the same guy.

All best,

Ron Silliman


According to the book, The Draft, 1940-1973 by George Q. Flynn (Lawrence, Kansas
: University Press of Kansas, c1993), Nixon signed the new lottery law on Nov.
26, 1969. On Dec. 1, 1969 Selective Service officials staged the first lottery
drawing, using the same fishbowls that had served in 1940.

Dan Olson
Ohio University