John Wayne acted in thirteen movies during WWII. At the time of Pearl Harbor, he was 34 years old and married with 4 children.

While many established actors such as Henry Fonda, Jimmy Stewart, and Clark Gable served on active duty, Wayne never did.

Viewing Hollywood films as important to the war effort, California draft boards often gave actors deferments.

Wayne obtained 3-A status, “deferred for [family] dependency reasons.”

In 1944, Wayne was reclassified as 2-A – “deferred in support of national interest.” A month later the Selective Service Board reclassified him 1-A, but his studio appealed and he retained 2-A status until the end of the war.

The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 instituted national conscription in peacetime, requiring registration of all men between 21 and 45, with selection for one year’s service by a national lottery. The term of service was extended by one year in August 1941. After Pearl Harbor the term of service was extended for the duration of the war plus six months and required all men 18 to 64 years of age to register. In the massive draft of World War II, 50 million men from 18 to 45 were registered, 36 million classified, and 10 million inducted.

What would happen if the United States returned to a draft?