In the Army for Only One Day?

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rp76226
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In the Army for Only One Day?

Post by rp76226 »

Here is a link to the Army discharge papers of Ralph Puma, my grandfather's brother. It says he joined the Army on October 9, 1917 and was honorably discharged one day later on October 10, 1917. I'm wondering if he failed a physical or something similar. I don't know how to find out why he was discharged. I'm hoping that someone can.

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903 ... A7BJ9-1B2M

Ron
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joetucciarone
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Re: In the Army for Only One Day?

Post by joetucciarone »

This is interesting. Did he have a health problem that wasn't revealed until after he enlisted? Also, I see that his Naturalization Petition wasn't enacted and signed until October 1919. But that couldn't have excluded him from service; this site implies that many non-naturalized immigrants served in World War I:

https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/fil ... _USCIS.pdf

You have an interesting mystery.
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MarcuccioV
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Re: In the Army for Only One Day?

Post by MarcuccioV »

I agree with Joe. Most likely a physiological or mental condition that would have prevented him from serving even if he wanted to. Perhaps the Army at that time did not have a "general" discharge category..?
Mark

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arturo.c
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Re: In the Army for Only One Day?

Post by arturo.c »

It should also be taken into consideration the fact that, when in 1917 the US Congress enacted the Selective Service Act, the total number of draftees far exceeded the structural capacity of barracks and posts that would have been suitable to host the recruits for basic training.

The draft bill was aimed at male American citizens between the ages of 21 and 30, and also foreign citizens not belonging to an enemy nation who intended to acquire US citizenship. Draft boards across the country registered a total of almost 24 million people, of which only a fraction was actually recruited and mobilized, amounting to roughly 75% of the 3.7 million enlisted men who took part in the US expeditionary corp.

Of these 24 million registered men, more than 26.4% didn't achieve classification before the end of the war. Of the 17.6 million who were classified, only 36% of them (6.4 million) were placed in Class I (of the five classifications), meaning that they would have been the first to be drafted, while 11.3 million (45.9% of all registered and 63% of the classified) were deferred for a variety of reasons (722.000 of them were already serving in various branches of the US armed forces, 1.5 million were foreign citizens, 925.000 for physical deficiency or disability, 506.000 because employed in indispensable farming jobs and 317.000 because employed in indispensable industrial jobs, but almost 62% (6.9 million people) obtained deferments because they were husbands or fathers, or for other family reasons.

Of the remaining 10 million recruits who should have underwent a physical examination to verify their fitness and attitude to combat, only 3.2 million (32.2% of the total) were actually examined. 2.2 million of them (70.4%) were found fit and able to join, while the rest was classified only partially or totally unable.

Among the drafted, Italians and Italian-Americans numbered around 300.000 (about 8% of the mobilized forces). Therefore it could be possible that Mr. Puma was among those who were drafted, classified and examined, but for some sort of reason discharged on the day following their recruitment.
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