Y2K glitch orders 14K deceased men to join the military draft

Is the US recruiting a zombie army? No, it just appears an Y2K bug temporarily resurfaced.

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The Y2K apocalypse may be hitting 14 and a half years late. And, a small town in Pennsylvania appears to be getting the first blow with demands for 14,215 deceased men to join the country's military draft.

A glitch in the Selective Service System sent out letters to the families of thousands of Pennsylvania men born between 1893 and 1897, according to the Associated Press. The letters ordered the men to register to join the US military or face a "fine and imprisonment."

That's a hard thing to do considering these men are no longer alive.

One of the people to get a letter was Chuck Huey, 73. The notice was addressed to Huey's late grandfather Bert Huey, who was a World War I veteran born in 1894 and died in 1995 at age 100, according to the Associated Press.

"I said, 'Geez, what the hell is this about?' It said he was subject to heavy fines and imprisonment if he didn't sign up for the draft board," he told the Associated Press. "We were just totally dumbfounded."

After receiving calls from befuddled relatives, the Selective Service tracked the bug to a data transfer done by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Apparently, the state uses a two-digit code for people's birth year -- so when a DOT clerk was transferring records to the Selective Service, men from both the 19th and 20th centuries were included.

"Selective Service apologizes for a June 30, 2014 mailing to 14,215 Pennsylvania men reminding them that they should register," a notice on the Selective Service website says. "Selective Service regrets any inconvenience caused the families of these men and assures them that the error has been corrected and no action is required on their part."

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About the author

Dara Kerr, a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area, is fascinated by robots, supercomputers and Internet memes. When not writing about technology and modernity, she likes to travel to far-off countries.

 

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