Speed Reads


Thousands of draft notices sent to men born in the 1800s

Chuck Huey of Kingston, Pennsylvania was pretty confused when he received a notice in the mail warning his grandfather, Bert Huey, that if he didn't sign up for the draft he would face a fine and imprisonment.

Chuck is 73, and his grandfather, a World War I veteran, died in 1995 at the age of 100. "I said, 'Geez, what the hell is this about?'" he told The Associated Press. "We were just totally dumbfounded."

It turns out that the Selective Service System mistakenly sent more than 14,000 notices to men born in Pennsylvania between 1893 and 1897, telling them they had to register for the military draft or face punishment. The mix-up occurred when hundreds of thousands of records were transferred from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to the Selective Service. A clerk entering data did not check off the century people were born in, thus sending out notices to men born between 1993 and 1997, as well as 1893 and 1897.

The Selective Service said they are sorry for the error, and anyone who receives a notice for a long dead ancestor (the youngest would be turning 117 this year) is told to ignore the correspondence. Chuck Huey tried to straighten things out over the phone, but ended up even more frustrated as he couldn't ever speak to a live person. He said he went out of his way to try to settle the matter because "you just never know. You don't want to mess around with the federal government."