Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Draft Boards: where were they and how did they operate?

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by poemadept, Apr 21, 2022.

  1. poemadept

    poemadept New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2022
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Greetings WWIIF community, and thank you for this invaluable resource.

    I'm writing a piece of historical fiction in which a young man voluntarily enlists for service in World War II. However, I'm having trouble nailing down what his enlistment experience would have looked like. Any insight you can offer or direct me toward regarding the following questions would be much appreciated:

    1. Where were local draft boards located? Were they housed within city halls, schools, post offices, libraries, or other public buildings? Did they occupy their own spaces on Main Streets or elsewhere in town? In my story as it stands currently, the protagonist goes to city hall to enlist, but I'm not sure whether that's an accurate portrayal.

    2. What was the experience of enlistment like, especially voluntary enlistment? Would one register, complete physical and other exams, and be inducted all on the same day, or was the process more drawn out?

    3. How long after enlistment would a soldier ship out for training? Was it days, weeks, months? Was the timeline fairly consistent for all soldiers or did it vary widely? What circumstances would accelerate or delay that process?

    Thank you again, and I look forward to hearing from you.
     
  2. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Staff Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    7,641
    Likes Received:
    1,766
    It may have varied depending on the region but a small town in the middle of Illinois it went something like this;

    Local volunteers comprised the Board, usually business men and local officials. Meetings were at the town hall. In one case I know of a young man walked a mile to town to look up one of the draft board members to tell him he wanted to enlist. He was told if he let them draft him that would count toward their quota. He was drafted and I think it was a month or two before he left for the Great Lakes Recruitment center in Chicago.
     
  3. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Messages:
    14,128
    Likes Received:
    2,491
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
  4. poemadept

    poemadept New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2022
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you for your replies! The anecdotes and online resources are very helpful, and I'd appreciate more from anyone else who has them.
     
  5. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,874
    Likes Received:
    362
    If you enlisted, the draft board was informed, and they took you off their list. Then you got orders to go to a processing station where you had a medical exam, given inoculations, and took various other tests, for intelligence, aptitude, etc. Then they sent you to an induction center for further processing, issued uniforms, etc and then sent to your basic training unit which was usually nearby. Sometimes, after processing a recruit was sent home until the next available slot in a basic training class was open.

    If you were drafted, you usually went into the army and became an infantryman. So, if you wanted to be in the Marines, Navy, or even Army Air Corps or a special branch such as armor, you'd want to enlist. USUALLY (!) they would give you your preference, as long as your aptitude test was favorable. Still, if they needed infantry, guess where you went! :eek: Also, one had to beware of unscrupulous recruiters. When my father enlisted, he was promised a slot in the engineers and because of his mining background, to be started out as a buck sergeant. Nothing of the sort happened and that soured him on the Army. His attitude was that if the Army didn't live up to their part of the bargain, why should he?
     

Share This Page