1965 - The Marriage Deferment and Criminalization of Draft Card Burning

By early 1965, it was evident that the previous limited American military involvement in Vietnam was unsuccessful, and that a full-scale intervention would be needed to save the South from the communists. An intensive bombing campaign, Operation Rolling Thunder, began in March 1965, and the first American combat troops arrived in South Vietnam that month. By the fall of 1965, U.S. Marines and soldiers were regularly engaging in combat against the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong.

Before August 26, 1965, those eligible registrants who were married and did not have children would be selected third, after the supply of delinquents, volunteers, and single nonvolunteers had been exhausted as a local board filled its quota.

On August 26, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Executive Order 11241, which terminated the marriage deferment. President Johnson's executive order made it so that childless men who were married after August 26, 1965 would be considered the same as single men when selecting and ordering registrants to report for induction. A new group (Group 4) consisted of childless men who were married on or before August 26, 1965; these men would be selected next, after the supply of delinquents, volunteers, and single nonvolunteers and nonvolunteers who married after August 26, 1965 had been exhausted. The sequence of induction was thus modified.

“....The sequence which was revised by Executive Order No. 11241, of August 26, 1965, changing the Selective Service Regulations, is now as follows:”

  1. Delinquents who have attained the age of nineteen years in the order of their dates of birth with the oldest being selected first.
  2. Volunteers who have not attained the age of twenty-six years and in the sequence in which they have volunteered for induction.
  3. Nonvolunteers who who have attained the age of nineteen years and have not attained the age of twenty-six years and who (A) do not have a wife with whom they maintain a bona fide family relationship in their homes in the order of their dates of birth, with the oldest being selected first; or (B) have a wife with whom they married after August 26, 1965, and with whom they maintain a bona fide family relationship in their homes in the order of their dates of birth with the oldest being selected first.
  4. Nonvolunteers who have attained the age of nineteen years and have not attained the age of twenty-six years and who have a wife whom they married on or before August 26, 1965, and with whom they maintain a bona fide family relationship in their homes, in the order of their dates of birth, with the oldest being selected first.
  5. Nonvolunteers who have attained the age of twenty-six years in the order of their dates of birth, with the youngest being selected first.
  6. Nonvolunteers who have attained the age of eighteen years and six months and who have not attained the age of nineteen years in the order of their dates of birth, with the oldest being selected first.

On August 30, 1965, President Johnson signed Public Law 89-152, which amended section 12(b)(3) of the Universal Military Training and Service Act as amended, and made persons "who forge[d], alter[ed], knowingly destroy[ed], knowingly mutilate[ed], or in any manner change[ed] any such certificate or any notation duly and validly inscribed thereon" (i.e., the draft registration card), guilty of a violation of the act and subject to a fine of not more than $10,000 or five years' imprisonment, or both.

The Draft, 1965

Department of Defense Requisitions for 1965: 

  • January 1965 - 5,400
  • February 1965 - 3,000
  • March 1965 - 7,900
  • April 1965 - 13,700
  • May 1965 - 15,100
  • June 1965 - 17,000
  • July 1965 - 17,100
  • August 1965 - 16,500
  • September 1965 - 27,400
  • October 1965 - 33,600
  • November 1965 - 38,350
  • December 1965 - 40,200
1965 - The Marriage Deferment and Criminalization of Draft Card Burning