Draft boards: Uncle Sam needs you in Western Pennsylvania
Among David Kubit's volunteer jobs is one he hopes never to do.
Kubit, 52, of Lawrenceville is vice chairman of Allegheny County Draft Board No. 15, one of many volunteer-staffed boards around the country that would be responsible for reviewing appeals and granting deferments if Congress ever reinstates a military draft.
“I'd prefer not to have to hear from anybody or rule on anybody,” said Kubit, a board member since the early 1980s.
Draft boards throughout Pennsylvania need a few good volunteers.
The military draft ended with the fighting in Vietnam, but men living in the United States must register with the Selective Service System within 30 days of their 18th birthday. Despite the recent decision allowing women to be assigned combat roles, only men have to register.
In Western Pennsylvania, the 26 boards have 27 vacancies. And the Selective Service reserve forces officer for the region, who coordinates the system, is being replaced, said Lt. Col. Marc Schwarzkopf, reserve officer for the central region of Pennsylvania and an Army reservist.
Pennsylvania has 85 local draft boards and 59 vacancies among the 425 authorized board members, Schwarzkopf said. Each board has five members.
The positions are unpaid. In the event of a draft, board members likely would be compensated if their service took them from work, he said.
“I volunteered out of a sense of obligation ... a yearning to touch base with the military and all that they do,” said Kubit, the son of a World War II Navy veteran who also volunteers at Carnegie Science Center and Manchester Bidwell Corp. in the North Side.
Randall Forester, a pastor at St. Paul's Community Church in Chicora, said he joined the Armstrong County draft board two years ago because he wanted to be sure that if the draft is reinstated, he could serve as a fair and impartial judge.
“If there ever is another draft, I want to see that it's implemented in a fair and equitable way,” said Forester, 42, of Chicora. “People may look at us askance, like we're meeting for the sake of meeting or training for the sake of training, but it's so good people aren't left out of the loop when and if something happens.”
Lisa Guido, a recent appointee to the board serving the New Kensington area, said she volunteered because many of her friends in military service were called to multiple or extended tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. She heard many stories about Vietnam draftees going to war unprepared.
“(A draft) has to be done right in order for it to work; the further ahead people are trained, the better prepared they are,” said Guido, 41, of Lower Burrell, a business continuity manager for BNY Mellon who helps businesses prepare for disasters or disruptions.
The Selective Service maintains a database of registrations in case a war, disaster or other emergency leads Congress and the president to reinstate the draft.
“Our field structure is so small now,” said Midge Stilke, program manager for Selective Service. “But in the event we get mobilized, area offices would open up and hire more staff.”
The boards would hear appeals from draftees and decide whether to grant deferments based upon disabilities, religious or moral objections to military service, or factors such as adult children serving as family caretakers, Kubit said.
The number of draft boards in each county depends on its population. Some have one; rural counties may share a board, and urban counties can have several.
Potential board members must be age 18 or older and cannot be active-duty or retired from any branch of the military.
Board members get eight hours of training, with “refresher” training every few years. They convene once every two or three years to review duties as a group, Schwarzkopf said.
The Selective Service operates on a yearly budget of about $25 million, according to its annual report to Congress.
Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or email@example.com.
Add Matthew Santoni to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Controller to examine how much vehicles cost Allegheny County
- 2 Oakland houses destroyed by fire; none hurt
- Coach accused in $2,400 theft from Baldwin Hockey Club
- Google grants teachers’ school supply wishes
- Diocese of Pittsburgh plans service in response to black mass
- Number of jobs in high-tech industry outpace workers in Pittsburgh, nation
- State lawmakers delay hearings on Corbett’s review of academic standards
- Backers of airport trade center look for more funding
- Parents keep children home from Brookline schools over threats
- Identical twins born at West Penn Hospital a rare medical marvel
- Latest flu vaccines offer protection from 4 influenza strains instead of traditional 3