Learn about the draft lottery during the Vietnam War, and how it affected the lives of young men during that time in Lesson Two of Vietnam War Oral History Lesson Plans.
Drafted in 1966, Paul Wisovaty left behind his days shooting pool in Taylorville, Illinois for service in Vietnam; an experience which changed his life forever. Steve Allen of Newman, Illinois served as a platoon commander in Vietnam, where he saw firsthand the attitudes of soldiers who were selected to serve while others stayed behind in the United States. Robert Ritter of Monticello, Illinois enlisted in the Navy Reserves before being drafted, but believed the draft was the patriotic duty of young American men and served the nation well. Timothy Kendall grew up in a poor family of 13 children in Richmond, Virginia. He registered for the draft at 18 and later learned how to obtain government scholarships and grants to attend college and defer military induction. Thomas Boaz of St. Joseph, Illinois was living in Germany in the early 1970s when he turned 18 and registered for the draft. His experiences in Germany strengthened his resolve to register as a conscientious objector.