Civil Rights / Cold War
CW/CRM Lottery Draft

Read more about the draft in 1969

When a young man turned 18 years old, he had to register for the draft.  Draft boards in each state were assigned a certain number of men to draft called a quota.  They would use the registration lists, beginning with the oldest and going down to the youngest.

In 1969 the Selective Service began a yearly lottery drawing to assign numbers to birth dates.  The first date drawn was September 14.  This means that every male between the ages of 18 and 25 born on that date received the lottery number of one.  They kept drawing numbers until the last date, February 26, received the number 365.

Draft boards could then call up numbers beginning with men who had the draft number one and going through whatever number they needed to make their enlistment quota.  The highest number drafted for this 1969 group was 195. 

If your number was called, you had to report to the army.  If you were employed, you had to quit your job.  The only exceptions were for students still in school or college, and those with medical conditions.  This caused some resentment that the draftees were only poor men who could not afford to go to college.

Go here to see if you would have been drafted in 1969.

Read about one Tennessean's experience with the draft.

Picture Credits:
  • Congressman Alexander Pirnie of New York draws the first number for the Selective Service draft lottery in 1969.  U.S. Government

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