I came across an article that was posted on Historynet several years ago. It was about the Vietnam Draft Lottery. I’ve been researching that topic and understand the basics but still have some very specific questions on the timeline that I have not been able to find answers to.
I’m hoping you can help.

I know that they held the first draft lottery in December of 1969, it was televised, and the highest number drafted was 195.

Now my first question is; When did they send out the letters for the last number drafted (195)? Were they sent out before the second lottery, held in July of 1970? Or would the letters still have continued to go out after that? I’m guess I’m looking for a cutoff. When would someone from the first lottery know they were in the clear and no longer at risk to be called?

My second question is on the second lottery from July 1970- Would the letters for that lottery have gone out immediately following the lottery? Or were they sent out at the beginning of the following year? Meaning if someone had a low number, would they have received their draft letter in the following weeks or did they get it in January of 1971?

Also, was the second lottery televised? On the radio? Just in the newspaper?

I know these are very specific questions and probably seem random but I am writing a paper on a hypothetical situation and need more information than I have found.

Thank you.




As far as I can determine, all of the draft lotteries were publicized on television, radio and in the newspapers—enquiring parties wanted to know. The first, held on December 1, 1969, began with 001, September 14, and notices were sent to people born on that date and subsequent chosen dates in the first half of 1970, starting with the 18-year-olds and working up to 26, starting in February and being mailed out at a rate of about 30 per month. In that first year those with up to 215 could expect to at least be called in for a physical examination, while anyone up to 195 was likely to be ordered to report for possible induction.

Among other online information dealing with the subject, there is an article on the Historynet by Wes Abney, from a 2010 issue of Vietnam magazine.



Jon Guttman

Research Director

World History


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