With armed conflicts on the rise in the Ukraine, Iraq, and Israel, not to mention the continuing threats on the Korean Peninsula, etc., many Americans believe that the US will end up putting “boots on the ground” somewhere in the near future. Yet, no matter how much our government protests the idea, it seems hard to believe that we would face a big enough shortage of troops that the Selective Service System would need to resort to ordering more than 14,000 centagenarian soldiers to report to active duty. That, however, is precisely what has happened.
According to the Associated Press, letters were recently sent to thousand of men in Pennsylvania born between 1893 and 1897, stating that if they failed to report they would be subject to punishment including a fine and imprisonment. Among the men was World War I veteran Bert Huey, who, according to his 73-year old nephew Chuck Huey, had died in 1995 at the age of 100.
“We made a rather serious mistake,” acknowledged Jan McKnight, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation responsible for the grievous error, triggered when a clerk working with the state’s database failed to choose the right century code, the one meant for men born between 1993-1997. As a result, the system identified 27,218 records of males born in the 1800’s and began issuing the letters before learning of the mistake when irate and confused relatives of the men began calling in on July 3rd.
The Selective Service System is an independent agency of the United States government that maintains information on those potentially subject to draft into the military. Current law mandates that “most male United States citizens and male immigrant non-citizens between the ages of 18 and 25 register with the agency within 30 days of their 18th birthdays and must notify Selective Service within 10 days of any changes to any of the information they provided on their registration cards, like a change of address.” In addition, non-U.S.-citizen males between the ages of 18 and 25 (inclusive) living in the United States such as those holding Green Cards, refugees, are here under asylum, and illegal immigrants. must register. However, non-immigrant foreign males here lawfully, including international students, visitors, and diplomats, do not needs to register.