Draft notices sent to men born in the 1880s

A US Selective Service database merge used two-digit years, and didn't sanity-check its threatening notices to 19th century men who'd apparently failed to sign up for the draft by their 18th birthday.

That's how some 14,000 angry letters came to be sent to the last known residences of Pennsylvania men born in the 1880s, whose registration could not be located. In some cases, there were still living relatives of the men in their family homes, who were alarmed and surprised to receive stern notices about the state's expectation that their long-dead ancestors would muster to carry a rifle.

To make things worse, the understaffed Selective Service offices put people who called in for an explanation into interminable hold-queues that ended with disconnection.

14,000 draft notices sent to men born in 1800s [Michael Rubinkam/Boston.com]

(Image: Lead Belly draft registration card, ca. 1942, Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain)

Notable Replies

  1. They should be pretty easy to find, actually. Just check the line at the VA.

  2. CLamb says:

    A zombie army?

  3. hotel says:

    Ignorant Canadian here. I thought the US had abolished the draft. I'm positive the US Army likes to crow about being all-volunteer.

    Can anyone in the group explain why there are draft registration notices being sent out to any persons (dead or alive...) if there's no draft any more?

  4. Yes the draft is abolished, but they reinstated registration back in the 80's, just in case Mr. Reagan needed the blood of the young. (That's the 1980's.)

    Also, the headline should mention 1890's not 1880's. Men born from 1980-1989 are too old to draft, he said with a sob.

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