Selective Service Seal of the United States. Courtesy U.S. Government, Public Domain
After the draft was instituted in 1940, not all of the young men who registered were accepted into the service. Thirty percent of registrants across America were rejected for physical defects. The 4-F classification was given primarily for muscular and bone malformations, hearing or circulatory ailments, mental deficiency or disease, hernias, and syphilis. There were ramifications when a man got that classification.
"Nobody wanted to date these boys who didn’t pass their physicals, and we called them "4-Fers." Now that
I think back, that was terrible. . . We all thought they were physically unfit to go and fight for our country. How awful!"
— Sylvia Iwanski Chalupsky, Ord, Nebraska State Bank employee.
"When I started college in the fall of 1944, it was like a girls’ school — 95 women and only five men students. During the second semester of my sophomore year, more male students were enrolled. By 1948 when I graduated, there were twice as many men as female students. During that first year, several of the girls dated high school seniors because to us the boys on campus were ‘4-F.’ They needed a good reason for not being in the service to be respected by the girls."
— Wanda Mowry, Bayard High School student.