My professor, who was in grad school in the late 70s, told us something really interesting in class today that I can’t find a source on:
He claims that when he was doing his undergrad during the Vietnam War, at one point the US government ended the thing where college students were exempt from the draft. He says that they broadcasted who they were going to draft over the radio, and students who weren’t in class listened in and drew up big charts for the students who were in class.
He said the announcer had two boxes or containers with numbers on slips of paper–one numbered 1 through 365, and the other with slips of paper with the actual days of the year on them. One number from each got pulled together, and your birth date determined what number you were assigned–like if February 3rd was pulled at the same time as 275, then people born on February 3rd would follow directions for people with that number.
I think he said that everyone who got a number below 100 could probably expect to be drafted.
This is so, so interesting and I’ve never heard it before. My professor is kind of an upbeat dude and even stays bouncy when he’s talking about events like the Battle of Antietam, and his somber, distant voice really struck me. I do totally believe his story, but I was wondering if anyone could help me find a source showing that the US government drafted some university students at some point during the Vietnam War.
This most certainly happened. The lottery was a very defining moment for a lot of young men at the time.