WASHINGTON (AP) — Men from 19 to 26 years old born on Sept. 14 who have last names starting with the letter “J” will be the first ones drafted next month under the nation’s first Selective Service lottery in a generation.
In less than an hour and a half Monday night, all 365 days of the year plus Leap Year’s Feb. 29 were drawn at random from a big glass laboratory jar at Selective Service headquarters here.
The order in which they emerged, rolled up in blue plastic capsules, determines the order in which men with matching birthdays will be called for the draft next year.
Three youth advisors had refused to help in the drawing and a fourth balked when his turn came; four others helped in the drawing but only after making unscheduled statements — one reading a mild protest signed by 14 participants, and three others more or less supporting the proceedings.
Following the drawing of the dates, another drawing was held in which letters of the alphabet were scrambled and pulled out. This will be used by local boards to decide the order in which to draft the eligible men.
The new lottery system was signed into law by the president last week and provides the first major reform in the draft since the Selective Service established a complicated form of induction during World War II.
The previous system, which included a long list of deferments, was criticized because it left young men uncertain about their fate for as long as seven years. The new lottery system is designed to reduce this period of uncertainty to one year.
Every man who reaches at least 19 years of age but not 26 by the end of this year now has his place in line for the draft in whatever year he becomes 1-A — “Available for military service “ — or 1-A-0 — “conscientious objector available for noncombatant military service only.”
This continues the Appeal’s review of news stories and headlines during its Sesquicentennial year.