Monday, February 25, 2013

Military Monday -- The World War I draft

One of my grandfathers was of an age where he qualified for the draft when the Selective Service Act of May 18, 1917 was passed by Congress and signed into law.  The other grandfather reached draft registration age about a year after the Selective Service Act of 1917 was passed.

Under the 1917 law, all males age 21 to 30 had to register for military service; but in August 1918 (just three months before the war ended) the War Department requested that the eligible age range be expanded to those males age 18 to 45.  As of 1917 the U.S. army only numbered 121,000 troops (and the National Guard supplemented with another 181,000), but by November 1918 some 2 million men had volunteered for services in the various branches of the U.S. military and some 2.8 million had been drafted.

The efforts of my maternal grandfather to volunteer and serve are covered in an earlier post here discussing the impact of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and his survival of the first wave of the flu.  His actual service is covered here.

My paternal grandfather was born with a deformed knee and was thus ineligible for service, but he nonetheless was required to register -- as all men between certain ages were.

Below are the WWI draft registration cards for my grandfathers.

Registration card for Arnold G. Tew -- age 21 on the date of his registration June 5, 1918.

Registration card for Everett S. Carpenter -- age 26 on the date of his registration June 5, 1917
(exactly one year to the day before Arnold G. Tew registered)

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Sheet music cover published in 1917 -- words by Andrew B. Sterling, music by Arthur Lange.
This media file is in the public domain in the U.S..  This applies to U.S. works here the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1923. 

Source for both draft registration card images: U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.
Original data: United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.

For more information on the WWI draft, see 

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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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