The US Selective Service recently mailed out 14,215 letters to men in Pennsylvania reminding them of their obligation to register for the draft. As The Washington Post notes, that's nothing out of the ordinary. But in a truly bizarre twist, those notices were addressed to people born between 1893 and 1897 — all of whom are most certainly dead. The "youngest" recipients would now be at least 117 years old, and no living person on Earth is known to be that age. The agency is chalking up the blunder to an error with its computer systems that occurred during "a routine automated data transfer between the State of Pennsylvania and Selective Service."
Apparently the Selective Service uses just a two-digit code to identify someone's birth year; the original intention was to contact men born between 1993 and 1997. But the years got mixed up and the notices were off by a whole century. "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," the agency said in an urgent message on its website. The United States hasn't turned to the draft to fill military vacancies since the 1970s, but failure to register remains a felony punishable by up to five years in prison or a $250,000 fine.