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Old 02-15-2015, 08:15 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Greenbelt, Maryland
Posts: 13,606
I became 4-F in the following way: I was sent a notice when I was 18 (in 1970) that the draft board needed to know if there was anything that automatically disqualified me from serving in the military. They included a form with this notice that any doctor could fill out if they knew of a medical condition that disqualified me. I went to my family doctor and asked him to measure my height. He measured it and put down that I was 4 foot and 10 1/2 inches tall. (Perhaps I'm a little closer to 4 foot and 11 inches tall, but in any case I'm clearly short enough to disqualify me for military service.) He mailed this form to the draft board. At the time in any case, no male under 5 foot tall could be drafted. The draft board then sent me a letter saying that I was classified 1-Y, which meant that they wouldn't draft me at that point, but I was in a large group of potential draftees who they might draft if they got desperate. A year or so later, they reclassified me as 4-F. The various classifications are discussed here:

There's a famous article by James Fallows about how richer, more educated potential draftees were able to game the system by knowing better what sort of things the military rejected people for. Full disclosure: I know Fallows a little bit. Here's the article: