Draft regulations (8-17-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (August 17, 1941)


Up-to-date summary of rules governing Selective Service Training Act

Here’s an up-to-date summary of the present regulations governing the Selective Service Training Act, including the latest changes in the draft laws:

Terms of service

Maximum service for draftees, reserve officers and National Guardsmen is 2½ years; for regularly-enlisted men, 4½ years. A man may be released sooner, however, if the Army deems he is “fully trained” before his maximum term of service is completed.

Despite authorization to extend the maximum service period of regularly-enlisted men, Army officials indicate that regulars will be discharged at the end of three years provided they enlist in the Regular Army Reserve, thus giving the Army the right to call them back at any time.

Pay increase

All regularly-enlisted men, except commissioned officers, who have been in the Army at least one year, will get a $10-a-month raise at once. All other soldiers – including regulars, draftees, Guardsmen and reservists – will receive a similar increase (to be tacked on to the prevailing base pay) as soon as they have completed a year’s training. In other words, a draftee’s minimum pay after his first year will be $40 a month.

Limit on size

No limit on overall size of Army although current appropriations will not permit a force of more than three million men. Old limit of 900,000 in the number of selectees in service at any one time has been removed, leaving the Army free to draft as many men as it wishes.

Use of Army

Regularly-enlisted men may be sent anywhere. All others may be dispatched only to posts in the United States, its possessions (including the Philippines) and countries in the Western Hemisphere. The President decides where the boundaries of the hemisphere are.


Men between 18 and 35, inclusive, may enlist for the regular period. The draft is limited now to men born between July 2, 1913 and July 1, 1920, inclusive.

Men over 28

Draft registrants who were born on July 1, 1913 or sooner and have not yet been inducted are automatically deferred.

Those who were 28 on last July 1 but who are already in the Army can gain a discharge only if they ask for it and prove to the satisfaction of the Secretary of War that their remaining in service any longer would work “undue hardship” on them or someone in their families.

The President, however, has indicated that extreme leniency will be exercised in such cases and that all draftees, Guardsmen and reservists who were 28 last July 1 will be returned to civilian life “as rapidly as possible.”

Others over 28

Registrants who become 28 after July 1, 1941 cannot gain deferment because of their age until July 1, 1942. If they are called by the Army before then, the only way they can get out is to prove – sometime after next July 1 – that their stay in service any longer would create an “undue hardship” on them or their families.

Other discharges

Any draftee in service for at least a year may be discharged if he requests release from the Army and can prove to the Secretary of War that his remaining any longer in service would work an “undue hardship” on him or his family.


Men born between Oct. 17, 1919 and July 1, 1920, inclusive, and who registered July 1 will, like other draftees, be subject to a maximum of 2½ years’ training.

Men under 21

Youths between 18 and 21 who have not been required to register may enlist for the minimum 2½-year period with parental consent. The President has authority at any time to order those who have become 21 since last July 1 to register and subject themselves to the draft.

Married men

Contrary to popular belief, there are not automatic deferments for married men. Like all other registrants, they must prove economic dependency in order to get deferment.

Husbands of working wives will not be drafted if they can prove to the local board’s satisfaction that the wife’s standard of living would be lowered materially if she lost his income.

A married man who has already been drafted may gain a discharge if he can prove that his wife would suffer “undue hardship” if he had to remain in the Army longer than a year.


There will be no automatic deferments for students entering school this fall, as there was last year.

Students in “necessary fields” – engineering, chemistry, geology, dentistry, medicine, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, physics, biology and bacteriology – may obtain Class 2-A (occupational) deferments and local boards have been told to adopt policies of “intelligent deferment” of such men.

Students in other fields which are not deemed as vital to national safety and interest may obtain deferment until the end of the semester if their number is called after they have enrolled for the school term and they are already in their course of study.

These deferments can be only temporary and local boards have been authorized to grant them under the “:individual hardship” ruling which does not permit the boards to defer anyone for more than six months under any circumstances.


Conscientious objectors are subject to a maximum of 2½ years work in a non-military camp under civilian direction.

Job protection

All draftees must be returned to their jobs upon completion of their service, with full seniority rights, unless:

The employer’s circumstances have changed so as to make it impossible or unreasonable.

Credit protection

Protection against seizure of their property for default of payments is extended for draftees until six months after they have completed their service.

Future changes

Congress may by concurrent resolution lower the 2½-year maximum training period at any time. It also may by adopting a resolution “in the interest of national defense” extend the training period indefinitely.

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