The Vietnam Draft

Updated March 1, 2017 | Infoplease Staff

The Question:

How can I locate the Vietnam military draft order. I remember watching it on TV when I was a child. I would like to review the birth dates and the order in which they were selected.

The Answer:

The Selective Service System has a page dedicated to this. The following is their brief description of the draft procedure:

A lottery drawing - the first since 1942 - was held on December 1, 1969, at Selective Service National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. This event determined the order of call for induction during calendar year 1970, that is, for registrants born between January 1, 1944 and December 31, 1950. Reinstitution of the lottery was a change from the oldest first method, which had been the determining method for deciding order of call.

366 blue plastic capsules containing birth dates were placed in a large glass jar and drawn by hand to assign order-of-call numbers to all men within the 18-26 age range specified in Selective Service law.

With radio, film and TV coverage, the capsules were drawn from the jar, opened, and the dates inside posted in order. The first capsule - drawn by Congressman Alexander Pirine (R-NY) of the House Armed Services Committee - contained the date September 14, so all men born on September 14 in any year between 1944 and 1950 were assigned lottery number 1. The drawing continued until all days of the year had been matched to lottery numbers.

See the results of the draft lottery.

-The Editors

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