Selective Service officials yesterday picked from drums numbers that will determine the likelihood that those born in 1951 will be drafted during the next seven years.
(Complete list of the new lottery results appears on p. 7.)
In a revised lottery format designed to prevent a repeat of charges levelled against the first draft lottery last December, the officials picked sealed capsules from two drums-one giving a date of the year and the other a number between 1 and 365.
Some statisticians charged that last year's lottery which used only one drum, had resulted in insufficient mixing of the capsules.
Although this year's lottery assigned numbers for all those between 19 and 26, yesterday's applied only to those turning 19 this year.
Those assigned numbers in the lottery do not become draft eligible until next year. Their numbers will then determine how quickly they are called up.
Thus, Sept. 14 was matched with 247. Men born on Sept. 14, 1951, can not be drafted until all eligible men in their districts holding lower numbers-obtained either from this lottery or from another-have been called for induction.
Once assigned a number, the potential draftee keeps it until he is 26 and his eligibility expires. However, under the new draft system inaugurated last December, he is only eligible for a period of one year-that is to say, if he survives a year of draft eligibility without being called, he becomes exempt from the draft except in times of national emergency.
Yesterday's drawing was similar to last December's in immediate effect: confusion in every potential draftee's mind; thoughts of suicide, self-mutilation, and flight in some. And, like last year, nobody could quite agree on which minds should be feeling which.
After December's drawing, Pentagon theorists confidently announced that those with numbers between 1 and 120 could start packing their things, that those between 211 and 365 could forget about carrying a gun, and that
those in between could commence worrying.
Selective Service officials just as promptly announced that the Pentagon estimates were hogwash and that everyone should worry just as much as they had in years past. Everyone did, because most draft officials warned that they would probably be drafting everyone.
But now, six months later, it appears the Pentagon calculated correctly. Reports indicate that this year's cutoff point will be somewhere between 215 and 240, depending on your local board.
If this pattern holds, 19-year-olds in the highest third of today's drawing can breathe easy. And if Congress adopts President Nixon's proposal to establish uniform national call-ups-thus ensuring that someone registered in Lubbock. Texas born on July 7 (number 365) will not be called in February just because his board has no one registered with a number under 275-then the system may begin to function approximately the way it is supposed to.