The U.S. Selective Service System began receiving calls from confused citizens last week when it mistakenly ordered 14,000 men, all born in the 1800s, to register for the military draft, The Associated Press reported Friday.
The letter informed the men, all from Pennsylvania, that failure to comply would be ”punishable by a fine and imprisonment.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation took responsibility for the glitch, which occurred during a bulk records transfer.
“We made a mistake, a quite serious selection error,” Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jan McKnight said Thursday, according to the AP.
A clerk failed to select the century when producing the records. The intention was to search for men born between 1993 and 1997.
The Selective Service didn’t catch the error because the state used a two-digit code to indicate the year of birth, agency spokesman Pat Schuback said, according to the AP.
The youngest of the deceased men would have turned 117 this year. Families of the men who received the notices were told to ignore them, and the agency posted an apology on its website Thursday.
“We’re really sorry,” McNight said. “We apologize.”
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