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My Grandfather, draft dodger during WW2?


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#1 akf86surf

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 10:01 PM

I apologize if this is in the wrong section. Here is what I have heard from my family and want to see how plausible this is.

My grandfather on my Mother's side would have been 34 during 1941 when the war started. The family lore is that he got a call from someone in the military mixing him up someone else and wanting to make sure that he was taking care of his terminally ill mother. He had no idea what to say so I believe he said he was that person. He was in fact not taking care of his ill mother. Therefore he thought they would not contact him to serve during the war which in fact he never did. If one person was left to take care of an ill parent would that exclude them from war service in WW2?

Could have this been considered "draft dodging"?

I do not know many grandparents of people that were of age and never served like mine. Thank you!

Aaron

#2 brndirt1

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 11:20 PM

That is a tough query, if he wasn't in fact taking care of an ill parent, and the only provider of said care he could possibly be seen as a "draft dodger", but that in itself is problematic.

If the government conscription process itself "misses" a person by it's own ineptitude (most draft boards were local), then is it the responsibility of the person missed to step forward and say; "you screwed up!"?

Then you have to consider the occupation of your Grandfather. Was it a job later consider war essential? A great many American males never served because the jobs they already held and were skilled at were "war essential". Even farming and livestock production were "war essential". The range of jobs which qualified for that was amazing.

One must put all of those things together before coming to a "conclusion" which might be completely inappropriate. Here is something to keep in mind. In spite of the image of "Rosie the Riveter", and "Wanda the Welder", females only occupied less than a third of the manufacturing jobs during the war. I think it was 31%. A valuable contribution, but the other jobs were still held by men.

These are all things one must keep in mind when thinking of "draft dodging", it wasn't like your Grandfather ran off to the backwoods of Canada or something, he simply didn't expose the government's mistake. That isn't active "draft dodging", that is "letting sleeping dogs lie", helping provide for his family and aiding the war effort by keeping his job going.

The "draft" can make many errors, even in Montana I had a female friend whose parents had spelled her name in an "odd" fashion, and while everyone knew her as a Michelle, and pronounced it that conventional way, her parents had spelled it Michalle on her birth certificate which somehow made the government think it was Michael. Imagine her surprise in 1967 when she received a "draft notice" when she graduated from high school! It took her almost three months to resolve the issue, including her personal appearance in Helena (our State capitol) to prove she was female. Crap happens.
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Happy Trails,
Clint.

#3 akf86surf

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 11:44 PM

Clint,

Thank you so much for all the helpful feedback. My grandfather for a time was in Vaudeville but I think that ended in the late 1930's. He did work for Powerine Oil as a manager of sorts for quite awhile. This may answer our question if he did something that was "war essential". I will search for a timeline and confirm if was in fact working for the oil company when the war started. Never in my mind did I think that the local draft board would have possibly screwed up, but these things happen! Thanks again!

#4 LRusso216

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 12:29 AM

I like Clint's answer. I did a quick search of the draft in WW2 and found several references to people with "friends" on the local board who managed to not be drafted. I would say that, in your grandfather's case, the error of the board would be comparable to that. It would be interesting to find out exactly what his job was. It may very well have been considered and "essential" job, but even if not, he was working and contributing to the war economy.

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#5 Victor Gomez

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 12:55 PM

I also liked Clint's answer and would only add that even family members can be unfair when ascertaining the qualifications of an individual for conscription. I have heard of epileptics with pretty severe symptoms that were almost never known by others with good reason. These people did not have to serve but many "assumed" they were draft dodgers within the family. You ask why and I will tell you. In 1972 I did some volunteer work with some permanently assigned to the state mental hospital. To my shock I was made to realize that many were placed there due to epilepsy. There was a time not so long ago when little was known about this affliction. Who would want others to know about it if that was one of the accepted methods of treatment for this affliction when there were few effective medical treatments for it.

#6 Clementine

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 01:13 PM

I didn't see any mention of his marital status, sorry if I missed it. Was he already married and possibly had children by then? At the age of 34 most men were married by that age in 1941 (although my father didn't get married until he was almost 34). Wouldn't that have knocked him lower on the list of those called up?

And maybe I am over simplifying this, but if the caller thought he was someone else anyway, it was not his status they were really trying to determine, it was someone else's. Did he ever actually get called up, did he get any notice under his own name?

Maybe your family liked to repeat this episode because through the years it became a great story to tell.

#7 akf86surf

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 05:04 PM

Clementine,

He was married and had one child at the time, my mother was born in 1948. I thought the whole story sounded so odd. That is really all I remember my Mother telling me.

He received a call from the military asking if he was taking care of a terminally ill mother which in the case he was not but didn't tell them. Then somehow he never served. that is it.

Sadly my mother passed away a few years ago. My aunt cut off the family (long story) so no one talks to her. My grandfather died in 1992. I have no other way to verify the supposed situation that I can think of if that occurred. I know for a fact he did not serve. Maybe what Clint and Lou said in terms of something being war essential? He worked for Powerine Oil as a manager... I need to do some more digging, this is getting interesting.

#8 brndirt1

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 05:24 PM

Clementine,

He was married and had one child at the time, my mother was born in 1948. I thought the whole story sounded so odd. That is really all I remember my Mother telling me.

He received a call from the military asking if he was taking care of a terminally ill mother which in the case he was not but didn't tell them. Then somehow he never served. that is it.

Sadly my mother passed away a few years ago. My aunt cut off the family (long story) so no one talks to her. My grandfather died in 1992. I have no other way to verify the supposed situation that I can think of if that occurred. I know for a fact he did not serve. Maybe what Clint and Lou said in terms of something being war essential? He worked for Powerine Oil as a manager... I need to do some more digging, this is getting interesting.


Being a married man with a child, and working in the petroleum industry he was probably far down the "line" as per draft status when the war really got going in 1942. The whole petroleum industry, from drilling through refining, and including pipeline construction and maintaining were well into the "war essential" area. Remember, in that era America was THE major oil producer and exporter compared to every other nation and area. I believe that something like 60% of global oil production was from the lower 48 US states.
Happy Trails,
Clint.

#9 Gromit801

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 05:46 PM

He was 34 at the time? I don't think he could have been drafted anyway.
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#10 LRusso216

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 06:03 PM

Actually, the original selection program required males 21 to 45 to register. That was later expanded to 18-64. Here's the Wiki article
The World War I system served as a model for that of World War II. The 1940 STSA instituted national conscription in peacetime, requiring registration of all men between twenty-one and forty-five, with selection for one year's service by a national lottery. The term of service was extended by one year in August 1941. After Pearl Harbor the STSA was further amended (Dec. 19, 1941), extending the term of service to the duration of the war and six months and requiring the registration of all men eighteen to sixty-four years of age. In the massive draft of World War II, 50 million men from eighteen to forty-five were registered, 36 million classified, and 10 million inducted.[14]
President Roosevelt's signing of the STSA on September 16, 1940 began the first peacetime draft in the United States. It also established the Selective Service System as an independent agency responsible for identifying and inducting young men into military service. Roosevelt named Hershey to head the Selective Service on July 31, 1941 where he remained until 1969.[13] This preparatory act came when other preparations, such as increased training and equipment production, had not yet been approved. Nevertheless, it served as the basis for the conscription programs that would continue to the present. The act set a cap of 900,000 men to be in training at any given time and limited military service to 12 months. An amendment increased this to 18 months in 1941. Later legislation amended the act to require all men from 18 to 65 to register with those aged 18 to 45 being immediately liable for induction. Service commitments for inductees were set at the length of the war plus six months.[15] As manpower need increased during World War II, draftees were inducted into the Marine Corps as well as the Army.
By 1942, the SSS moved away from administrative selection by its more than 4,000 local boards to a system of lottery selection. Rather than filling quotas by local selection, the boards now ensured proper processing of men selected by the lottery.[12] This facilitated the massive requirement of up to 200,000 men per month and would remain the standard for the length of the war. The World War II draft operated from 1940 until 1947 when its legislative authorization expired without further extension by Congress. During this time, more than 11 million men had been inducted into military service. With the expiration, no inductions occurred in 1947.[16] However, the SSS remained intact.
Conscription in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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#11 Gromit801

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 09:37 PM

Requiring men up to 65 to register is different than actually drafting them. Can anyone find a US male drafted in WWII over the age of 30? Lots of older men volunteered, but not drafted.
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#12 Slipdigit

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 11:31 PM

There was one man in Old Hickory's training company who was 40. This was in 1942. Old Hickory doesn't know how he managed to get himself drafted at that age, but he must have pissed off someone at the draft board. After he finished basic training, he went with Old Hickory to Camp Blanding where he stayed for a while before being sent home.

There was a 33 yo man from Georgia in my grandfather's training company. The men were going over as replacements when the Pacific war ended and the man was pulled out in Seattle and sent home. The younger men continued on, including my 28 yo grandfather.

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#13 Clementine

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 12:05 AM

I still tend to think that if he didn't get called up - no official notice or call for him - he didn't actually dodge anything......And, just think, there's one other family out there wondering why their relative didn't serve, and little do they know it's because your grandfather told the draft board that he was taking care of a sick mother!

I agree with Clint, I think his work, marital status and fatherhood are viable reasons for his not serving.

#14 Gromit801

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 03:22 PM

There was one man in Old Hickory's training company who was 40. This was in 1942. Old Hickory doesn't know how he managed to get himself drafted at that age, but he must have pissed off someone at the draft board. After he finished basic training, he went with Old Hickory to Camp Blanding where he stayed for a while before being sent home.

There was a 33 yo man from Georgia in my grandfather's training company. The men were going over as replacements when the Pacific war ended and the man was pulled out in Seattle and sent home. The younger men continued on, including my 28 yo grandfather.


Were they in fact drafted? Not volunteers?
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#15 Slipdigit

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 04:31 PM

I'll ask him again in the next few when I talk to him again. I asked about the 40 year old man when he brought the story up.

I am writing a book about Old Hickory, so I talk to him fairly regularly.

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JW :slipdigit:

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#16 brndirt1

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 07:50 PM

Clint,

Thank you so much for all the helpful feedback. My grandfather for a time was in Vaudeville but I think that ended in the late 1930's. He did work for Powerine Oil as a manager of sorts for quite awhile. This may answer our question if he did something that was "war essential". I will search for a timeline and confirm if was in fact working for the oil company when the war started. Never in my mind did I think that the local draft board would have possibly screwed up, but these things happen! Thanks again!


In addition to Lou's "Wiki" site, here is another from "Wiki" which clearly defines who is the "first to go", and who is "down the list" in the classifications, of course this is from immediate post-war, 1948. But when the draft and registering for it first got going even petty criminals were exempted, but by 1943 some felons were being given the chance to serve when offered a shortening of their sentences. And while Pvt. Slovik wasn't incarcerated at the time the policy changed, his past felony record had kept him 4-F for the first few years of the war, but now he was "eligible", and was drafted.

Goto:

Selective Service System - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Your Grandfather in question might very well fit in any of those categories which kept him from even being considered for service. Even if the original "flaw" in the system was found and he was back "in the pool". He might have just liked the other story so much he kept telling it as a "stand alone" reason for his non-service.

Edited by brndirt1, 14 April 2011 - 07:58 PM.
spacing, spelling

Happy Trails,
Clint.




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