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Celebrating Selective Service’s 104th Anniversary

Celebrating Selective Service’s 104th Anniversary

On May 18th, 2021, the Selective Service Acting Director Craig Brown laid a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate the 104th anniversary of the Selective Service and to honor General Lewis Blaine Hershey, whose pivotal role in the Agency aided in the development of the Selective Service mission.

The Selective Service has advanced considerably from its original conception, and the ongoing achievements could not have been sustained and developed without the accomplishments General Hershey sought during his dedicated tenure with the Selective Service. His vision to provide our nation with the most prompt, efficient, and equitable draft still serves as our mission today and continues to be a key component of our nation’s national security strategy.

General Hershey served as the longest Selective Service Director, leading the Agency through eras of conflict and peacetime. His dedication and commitment to our nation served as a testament to his own successful career, as he was appointed adviser to the President of the United States on manpower mobilization. With a 17‐gun salute in a ceremony held at the Pentagon and a four-star rank, General Hershey retired from the Army as the oldest soldier on active duty; he was 79 years old.

The Selective Service System that General Hershey helped shape was built to ensure a fair and equitable selection of its citizens— something that was not easily afforded during a time of great national crisis prior to the establishment of our Agency. Although General George Marshall spoke these words nearly eighty years ago, they still ring true to our mission today:

“I believe the Selective Service provides the only practical and economic method of maintaining the military force and I think with all my heart, the Selective Service is necessary to the maintenance of a true democracy.”

Our Agency continues the mission and promise to uphold our sacred pledge of integrity and continually strengthen our national security partnership with the Armed Services. We continue to develop innovative outreach initiatives to outline the opportunities and benefits associated with registration.

Watch Acting Director Craig Brown lay a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate the 104th anniversary of the Selective Service and to honor General Lewis Blaine Hershey at

Learn more about Selective Service and our history at, and view our Historical Timeline at