The Selective Service System just mistakenly sent more than 14,000 draft registration notices to Pennsylvania men born between 1893 and 1897, with the condition that, should they not register, they would be fined or imprisoned, according to the Associated Press.
The confusion happened when the records of males born between 1993 and 1997 were swapped with ones born 100 years prior. The mix-up happened during an automated data transfer of roughly 400,000 records to the Selective Service. Relatives of these long-lost would-be draft-dodgers began calling the agency last week, and that’s when the mix-up was realised.
Chuck Huey, whose grandfather Bert served in World War I, was angered when he first received the letter at his Kingston, Pennsylvania home, he told the Times-Leader. He felt it represented the government’s lack of recognition for what his grandfather did for the nation.
However, Huey added that his grandfather, who died in 1995 at the age of 100, would have signed up for the military had he been alive to read the notice.
“If he was here, yeah, he would probably laugh and say, ‘Yeah, I’ll go,'” Huey said. “He was that kind of guy.”
By the time the mistake was realised, the Selective Service had sent out 14,250 notices throughout Pennsylvania. Since the youngest of the men would be turning 117 this year, Pat Schuback, a spokesman for the Selective Service, told the AP that the families can ignore the notices, as the files will be deactivated.
“It’s never happened before,” he said. “We regret the mistake.”
This is not the only time in 2014 that the Selective Service has made an error involving draft registration notices. In May, thousands of letters were sent to men in Maryland saying they needed to register even though they had already done so.
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