For Draftees
compiled by Anne Yoder, Archivist,

Swarthmore College Peace Collection



[From Selective Service Regulations, 1917 (see Subject File: Conscientious Objection/Objectors -- Government Documents)]

* Conscientious Objectors: any registrant found by his Local Board to be a member of any well-recognized religious sect or organization organized & existing before May 18, 1917, & whose existing creed or principles forbade its members to participate in war in any form, & whose religious convictions were against war or participation therein in accordance with the creed or principles of said religious organization, were to be furnished with a certificate by said Local Board stating that he could only be required to serve in a capacity declared by the President to be noncombatant. He would, however, be classified as any other registrant was.

I Liable to military service in the order determined by the national drawing
II Temporary (dependency) discharge from draft; effective until Class I in the jurisdiction of the same Local Board was exhausted; registrants with both wife & children, or any father of  motherless children, where such wife & children were not mainly dependent upon the registrant’s labor for support; also, registrants whose wives could support themselves through employment
III Temporary (dependency) discharge from draft; effective until Classes I & II in the jurisdiction of the same Local Board was exhausted; registrants who were responsible forchildren not their own & who were dependent on registrant’s labor for support; registrants who had aged, inform or invalid parents or grandparents mainly dependent on registrants' government employees
IV Temporary (dependency) discharge from draft; effective until Classes I, II & III in the jurisdiction of the same Local Board was exhausted; any married registrant whose wife or children were mainly dependent on registrant’s labor for support; also included mariners employed in sea service

Exemption or discharge from draft; including:

- ordained ministers                                   
- students who on May 18, 1917 had been prepared for ministry in a recognized theological or divinity school                                   
- persons in the military or naval service of the United States (officers & enlisted men)                                   
- alien enemies
- resident aliens                                   
- persons found to be totally & permanently physically or mentally unfit for military service                                   
- persons show to have been convicted of any crime designated as treason or felony, or an “infamous” crime                                   
- licensed pilots actually employed in the pursuit of his vocation


WORLD WAR II [through 1947?]

[From Selective Service Regulations. Volume Three. Classification & Selection, 1940 (see Subject File: Conscientious Objection/Objectors -- Government Documents); also "Memorandum Of the Rights Of Conscientious Objectors Under the Draft Laws As Of December 1, 1942" (see Subject File: Conscientious Objection/Objectors -- U.S. Sources, 1942)]
* all males between the ages of 18 & 65 were required to register for the draft; those who became 18 after January 1, 1943 were to register on their 18th birthday

I Available for service
I-A Available; fit for general military service
I-A-O Conscientious objectors eligible for military service in noncombatant role
I-B Available; fit only for limited military service
I-B-O Conscientious objectors available for limited service [not used after Aug. 18, 1942]
I-C Members of land or naval forces of the United States
I-D Students fit for general military service; available not later than July 1, 1941
I-E Students fit for limited military service; available not later than July 1, 1941
I-H Men deferred by reason of age [not in effect any more, as provision deferring men over 28 years of age had been repealed?]
II Deferred because of occupational status
II-A Men necessary in their civilian activity
II-B Men necessary to national defense
II-C Men necessary to farm labor
III Deferred because of dependents
III-A Men with dependents, not engaged in work essential to national defense
III-B Men with dependents, engaged in work essential to national defense
IV Deferred specifically by law or because unfit for military service
IV-A Men who had completed service [not considered in time of war]
IV-B Officials deferred by law
IV-C Nondeclarant aliens
IV-D Ministers of religion or divinity students
IV-E Conscientious objectors available only for civilian work of national importance
IV-E-LS Conscientious objectors available for limited civilian work of national importance
IV-E-H Men formerly classified in IV-E or IV-E-LS, since deferred by reason of age
IV-F Men physically, mentally or morally unfit


IV-E Conscientious objectors opposed to both combatant & noncombatant military service [all to be given statuatory deferments]


In 1950, the CCCO published Conscientious Objectors Under Selective Service, with this advice: "C.O.'s opposed only to combatant military service, but willing to accept non-combatant military service in the Army, should fill in I-A-O unless they have other basis for deferment. C.O.'s opposed to to all military service, both combatant and non-combatant, should fill in IV-E, regardless of any other basis for deferment" (p. 12). See also the 1951 revised handbook.
In 1952, the CCO published its Handbook for Conscientious Objectors [there were many later editions], with this list (p. 11-13):

I-A Available for military service
I-A-O C.O. available for non-combatant duty/service
I-C Member of the armed forces
I-D Member of an organized reserve unit of the armed forces or student in approved officer procurement program
I-F Physically, mentally or morally unfit
I-O C.O. opposed to both combatant and non-combatant military duty and available for assignment to civilian work
I-S High school student under twenty years of age, I-S (H), or college student who has received an order to report for induction, I-S (C), and is deferred to complete his school year
I-W C.O.'s in assigned civilian service. Upon satisfactory completion of civilian service, C.O.'s are classified I-W (R) until past the age of liability for the draft, when they are reclassified as V-A
II-A Deferred because of essential civilian employment, except agriculture or study
II-C Deferred because of essential agricultural employment
II-S Deferred for study
III-A Deferred because of dependents; includes registrants with wife and child [see page 12 for details]
IV-A Registrant with sufficient credit for World War II military duty. Sole surviving son of family with one or more sons or daughters who died in line of duty or result of such duty in the armed forces
IV-B Officials deferred by law
IV-C Aliens
IV-D Ministers and full time students preparing for the ministry under the direction of a recognized church or religious organization

[See NSBRO reference files re: the Selective Service System, Series I-1; also Handbook for Conscientious Objectors (11th ed.) by the CCCO, Sept. 1970, for more details on ages of draftees, etc.]

* Some of the deferments listed were not available to new applicants by 1970

I-A Available for combat service
I-A-O Available for noncombatant service
I-C Members of the active armed forces, or commissioned officers in Environmental Science Service Administration or Public Health Service
I-D Member of reserve unit of the armed forces, or student taking military training

Available for civilian work assignment [ordered into or assigned into the conscientious objector work program by their local draft boards, to perform civilian work 24 consecutive months]


Deferment for students [for high school students under age 20, undergraduate college students who had received an order to report for induction, or a “very few” graduate students]

I-W “At Work” conscientious objectors [once I-O registrants were assigned to civilian work, they were then reclassified I-W by their local draft boards]
I-Y Unqualified for duty except in time of declared war or national emergency

Occupational deferment because of essential employment, or deferred to full-time study in a trade school, community or junior college, or approved apprenticeship program

II-C Agricultural deferment
II-D [I-D?] Deferment for members of military reserve units, or students taking advanced ROTC

Deferment for college students [for those who had not yet reached their 24th birthday; also for graduate students of medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, osteopathy & optometry, & graduate students in their fifth year of continuous study toward a doctoral degree]

III-A Dependency deferment [deferred because of having a child or childre with whom he maintains a bona fide family relationship; deferred because of extreme hardship to dependents]

Exemption for veterans & sole surviving sons [for those whose military duty obligation was completed, or for only surviving sons of a family in which the father, or one or more sons or daughters, were killed or died in the line of duty while in the Armed Forces, or subsequently died as a result of such service]

IV-B Certain officials / elected officials deferred by law
IV-C Exemption for certain aliens [aliens not on permanent resident status who have not remained in the United States for more than one year; resident aliens who leave the USA; resident aliens granted relief from liability for military service]
IV-D Exemption for ministers & divinity students
IV-F Unfit for military service
V-A Over-age [26 years old if never deferred; 35 years old for those who held a deferment / with "extended liability"]


[From Selective Service System website, April 2002:]

* See for SSSís information about conscientious objector status & for more classifications

1-A Available immediately for military service
1-O Conscientious objectors opposed to both combatant & noncombatant military training & service; fulfills service obligation as a civilian alternative service worker
1-A-O Conscientious objectors opposed to training & military service requiring the use of arms; fulfills service obligation in a noncombatant position within the military
2-D Ministerial students; deferred from military service
3-A Hardship deferment; deferred from military service because service would cause hardship upon their families
4-C Alien or dual national; sometimes exempt from military service
4-D Ministers of religion; exempted from military service

Student Postponements: a college student may have his induction postponed until he finishes the current semester or, if a senior, the end of the academic year. A high school student may have his induction postponed until he graduates or until he reaches age 20. Appealing a Classification: a registree may appeal his classification to a Selective Service Appeal Board.


This page written 2007; updated in April 2011 and March 2014