U.S. Accidentally Drafts 14,000 Men Born In 1800s, Quickly Realizes That Wasn't Meant To Happen

Um, the U.S. military's Selective Service System knows the Twitter account "Tweets from 1914-1918" is just a historical project, right? On June 30, the Selective Service System sent draft notices to people born in the 1800s, because we're evidently preparing for World War I. According to The Associated Press, the draft letters were issued to more than 14,000 men born in Pennsylvania between 1893 and 1897.

The draft notices urged the men to sign up for the national military register. Problem is, no one born between 1893 and 1897 is still alive in the United States. Even if a man born during that time was still alive, he would be between 117 and 121 years old — a bit too old for serving in the military.

On it's website, the Selective Service System wrote that the draft notices were mistakenly sent due to a computer error.

The mailing included erroneous names of men born during 1893-1897 from a routine automated data transfer between the State of Pennsylvania and Selective Service. Selective Service regrets any inconvenience caused the families of these men and assures them that the error has been corrected and no action is required on their part.

The AP reported that the agency didn't realize its mistake until family members of the deceased began calling last week, confused as to why their late relatives were now being recruited for the U.S. military. A spokesperson for the Selective Service System added that the draft letters were mixed in with names from men born between 1993 and 1997, extracted from a list sent by the the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles.

Although this is just an unfortunate mix-up, it's interesting to look at the historical context of the draft. The Selective Service System was created in 1917 as a result of the Selective Service Act. During World War I, all men between the ages of 21 and 30 were required to register with the U.S. military. So, if this was 1917 then it would be totally appropriate for a young man born in 1897 to receive his draft notice.

Several decades later, the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 mandated that all American men between the ages of 18 to 65 sign up for selective service. However, that law was soon replaced in 1948 by the system used in modern-day America.

Of course, conscription ended with the Vietnam War, but young American men still have to register with the Selective Service System between the ages of 18 and 25, in case an emergency draft is ever put in place. In 2014, that means young men born between 1989 and 1996. So, if your birthday is 1895, it's cool — you've already done your American duty.

Images: Wikimedia Commons (2)