I'm trying to do the same thing!
I have only one dropdown that is populated, but once server validation is applied (loads existing page) it resets the dropdown.
It will work if I have all records loaded static - but I have some 4000 records to display and this takes a long time to repopulate in IE. Not very practical - a solution to this one would be great -
Is there a way to make the populated dropdown to display a dynamic record before the onchange java populate is set? This would fix my problem as I don't need the user to change this field once set, it's only if the validation fails on another field it resets this one. Then the user has to go back and re-do it all. I also thought there may be a way to store the data posted in a session and dispaly this in the static selection option.. although I don't know enough code to do this.