Deferment of Firemen
Experiences of the Majority of Departments in Requesting Deferment for Skilled Men Found to be Unsatisfactory
IN the May issue of FIRE ENGINEERING were given the experiences of a group of Fire Chiefs in securing draft deferment for qualified men in their departments. In the June issue were included the reports of fire departments which were not so successful before their draft boards. Additional reviews of this latter group follow.
Ray Tiller, Chief
We have not been able to secure deferments for firemen called in the draft.
I only had one man who was not married. He was drafted last October. At that time, I made an affidavit which he filed with his original draft papers. When he was called, I consulted the office of the local draft board and filed an appeal with the Appeal Board. The Appeal Board met and refused the appeal and the man was called to the service on October 19, 1941.
At the present time, I have several young men who are married, most of them having children. I have been advised by the secretary of one of our local draft boards that these men will be called, and that there is nothing that the local draft board or the local appeal board can do, for the reason that the draft officials in Washington have not issued specific orders authorizing the deferment of city firemen. In no case can the local draft board or local appeal board defer anyone for more than six months, and they can only have one deferment of six months.
If the above is true, I believe that some action should be taken at Washington authorizing the local draft or appeal boards to issue deferments to firemen, if they so desire.
Ambrose Saricks, Chief
We have lost two members of our department through the draft, but neither the department nor the firemen involved have asked for deferment.
Oklahoma City, Okla.
G. R. McAlpine, Chief
No men from this job have been deferred. Twenty men have either joined the armed forces or have been drafted.
A meeting was recently called in which the draft officials agreed to give the deferment of an individual favorable consideration should the City Manager request it.
New Haven, Conn.
Paul P. Heinz, Chief
We have not as yet requested deferment for anv of the firemen called in the draft. Two men have already been called.
John F. Moroney, Chief
Our Assistant Fire Chief was given a deferment by the local draft board. The action caused such a storm of protest that he decided to enlist.
This man was selected by the Army to attend a school on methods of fighting incendiary bombs. He has also been in charge of training the auxiliary firemen.
The Mayor has asked for a blanket deferment of all police and firemen, but it is not likely that this will be granted because of public opinion.
Walter S. Blanton, Chief
We have had six men drafted from our department. We took the matter of deferment up with the local draft and a.re awaiting their action.
Charles F. Stackpole, Chief
In January of this year several of my men were called before their draft boards for induction, and realizing that if most of the young men were taken into the Army, the department would be seriously handicapped in the event of an incendiary raid or fires due to sabotage, I wrote to the various draft boards, asking that if it were possible they be deferred until such time as their services were urgently needed by the armed forces. I also filled out the necessary forms which were furnished by the draft boards, had them notarized, and sent them to the draft boards in question. The chairman of one board agreed that my request was reasonable and deferred the man under their jurisdiction for two weeks. This chairman also stated that when the deferment was granted it would be appealed by the Appeal Agent to the Appeal Board of the State, and that the deferment would be continued pending the decision of the State Appeal Board.
The letter I received from the chai.rraan of the draft board regarding the appeal is as follows:
“Kindly be advised that the case of John Jones, a member of your department, was classified in II-A by the local board, which classification was appealed by our Appeal Agent and forded to the Appeal Board and was returned to this office on February 11, 1942.
“We regret to inform you that the Appeal Board has upheld the appeal of their agent and reclassified this man in Class 1-A.”
This has been my experience in every case, and it seems as if nothing can be done about it.
Great Falls, Mont.
Charles E. Lane, Assistant Chief
We have not been able to secure deferment for firemen called in the draft. One man was called. We communicated with the local draft board and was told that there was no deferment for firemen. An appeal was taken to the State Board with no results.
Fort Worth, Tex.
C. C. Killian, Chief
Fight of our men have called and none deferred. More are to be called shortly.
We have requested the local boards in writing to defer these men, stating that there was urgent need of them in the fire department. We have bad no success whatsoever.
William J. Brady, Chief
Two of our men have been drafted into the army. We are now getting cooperation from the Police and Fire Commission which has appealed to the local board. The board has promised to act on each case individually.
Charleston, S. C.
G. W. Stout, Chief
Two of our men have been called into service. Neither of them have been deferred.
I wrote a letter to the local board giving the number of years required to train a fireman and the necessity of keeping all present men.
We did submit an appeal without results.
Camden, N. J.
John R. Lennox, Chief
Eight of our men have been called into the service. An apneal was made to the local draft board by letter by the Director of Public Safety and myself. There were no results. This city has $800,000,000 worth of defense work.
Benjamin L. Chase, Chief
I wrote a letter to the draft board and we received a deferment for one fireman. He finally found that be would have to go and so joined the Navy.
I have at the present time one lieutenant and two firemen in the service. It seems to me that these men might be more valuable to the country as a whole if they were deferred and allowed to remain as firemen.
John C. Long, Chief
Three of our men have been called, but none deferred. I appealed to the local draft board.
I had one fireman drafted and sent back because he was over twenty-eight years of age. He was called hack into service on January 17. I took it up with the Third Corps Area in Baltimore and they gave him a six month defermeat. I got action on this man in thirtysix hours.
Earl Traeger, Chief
We filled out form requesting deferment of our firemen called in the draft, but our appeal was denied. We did not appeal further.
Edmund B. Lewis, Chief
The only two requests made for deferment are still pending. None of our men have been called into service as yet. Two members of the department have enlisted.
If the local board fails to grant the two pending deferments, I will then submit an appeal.
W. Q. Dowling, Chief
Thirteen of our men have been called and none deferred. We took the matter up with the local draft boards without results. We did not appeal.
C. C. Stryon, Chief
About twenty of our trained members have been called and only one member given a temporary deferment of six months.
We wrote the Senators and Congressmen from Georgia requesting information on the correct procedure to follow in securing deferment, but were informed that it was entirely with the local boards. Affidavits and letters asking for deferment were written, but none were accepted.
L. F. McDonald, Chief
Only one of my men has been drafted. Several have enlisted to keep from being drafted. I filed the necessary forms for deferment with the local draft board. This method was not effective.
Richard Widmann, Chief
Six men have been called and none deferred.
At the time of the draft, the Police and Fire Commission felt they did not want to ask for deferment, and to date have not done so, although I asked that all men with one year or more service in the department be deferred at that time.
My personal feeling is that all firemen who have one year or more service should be deferred.
Grover L. Frock, Chief
The City Manager would not permit our asking for deferment of firemen. One of our members has been drafted and two have enlisted.
I believe that any city firemen with service of three years or over should be deferred.
William J. Sands, Chief
It has not been necessary to date to ask deferment for firemen. Some of the recently appointed men are to be drafted, but we did not request deferment for them.
To date all the members within the draft limits have had dependents and hence have been placed in 3-A. Three of the newly appointed members have been placed in 1-A, but since they did not request any deferment and since at the time I did not believe it necessary, I have taken no action to secure deferment.
Kansas City, Kans.
Ofander Lind, Chief
Up to the present time, I have had only one man called in the draft, and as he was just a new man working under a temporary appointment, I did not make any effort to secure deferment for him.
Council Bluffs, la.
Waldo Merrill, Chief
None of our men have been called as yet. At this time I have not encouraged men to ask for deferments. I will appear before the draft board when my key men are to be called.
M. J. Corrigan, Commissioner
It is the policy of the Chicago Fire and Police Department not to ask for draft deferments of members of the departments because of their occupations. We feel that these men, like all others, should answer the call of service to their country. We are sure we can train all replacements to the end that the fire service will not be impaired by men entering the armed forces of our country.
To date, fifty-five members of the Chicago Fire Department have entered the Army or the Navy.
Paul L, Amheiser, Chief
We have never asked for deferment of any of our firemen. Two men so far have been called. One has been taken.
Instead of asking for deferment, the men in the department have been pestering this office for a leave of absence to go into the Army or into some kind of defense work to aid their country.
The city is talking about increasing the age limit in the department, so that there will be older men to take the place of the men that may be called out of the department for war service.
Trenton, N. J.
Thomas J. Phelan, Chief
We have not asked for deferment of any of our firemen, but have recommended to the Commissioner that if the fire department suffers any serious depletion either through the draft or enlistments, we should request deferment.
Edward J. Kerr, Chief
We have not requested deferment. Fourteen firemen have been called, but none have been deferred.
J. A. Scruggs, Chief
The City of Nashville up to now has not taken any definite action relative to asking deferment for drafted men. We have bad only one man drafted and two have enlisted voluntarily.
Luther P. Willis, Chief
Our Commissioner decided some time ago not to ask for deferment of any city employee. At the present we have not lost a firemen, but expect to soon.
lbert Krenz, Chief
We have not tried to have any men deferred. We have two men who are eligible for the draft, but have been deferred for six months without any help from the department.
New Albany, Ind.
George W. Hanen, Chief
We have no men in the draft yet, but may have if their classifications are changed.
I tried to get something done. I contacted the Mayor and City Attorney and they have promised to take some steps to help.
J. E. Dellinger, Chief
We have not had any men called yet. but will have soon. I called on the draft board members who stated that the Army needed trained men as well as the fire department.
Michigan City, Ind.
Henry P. Scholl, Chief
So far none of our men have been called for the draft.
I have not followed any procedure, but I believe they can be classed as “an essential man in governmental service pertaining to the protection of life, property and safety” which calls for deferment under regulations of the local draft boards. I have seen a copy of the regulations and I believe I would base a deferment on them.
Bay City, Mich.
H. C. Crumb, Chief
Bay City has not had any men called for the draft as yet, but we expect it any day.
I have taken the matter up with our City Manager, feeling that no man who is a regularly appointed fireman and who has passed his probationary period, should be taken from us at this time when the Government is asking us to enroll auxiliary firemen by the hundreds.
J. R. Meers, Chief
We haven’t had any men called for the draft, but have asked for deferment. We have written each draft board in the city asking for deferment of trained firemen, as we believe the type of fire we must fight today requires trained men. We have not received an answer to the request made.
William P. Payne, Chief
None of our men have been called for the draft as yet. We attached a letter to their question requesting deferment for all firemen who may come before the board.
In our letter we explain that the men themselves are valuable as it takes years of experience to train these men to handle their job. We also stated the nearness of the fire department to civilian defense and the service they render in case of air raid.
As vet we have not had occasion to make an appeal, but in the event that one of our men is drafted, and the local board does not defer him, I will appeal to the highest board.
Wichita Falls, Tex.
J. L. McClure, Chief
No men have been drafted out of our department. There have been six men who resigned from our department and entered the fire department service at Shephard Field, because of a slight increase in pay and better working conditions. These men were not drafted. These camps should not offer inducements to city firemen to leave their departments They are able in this way to secure the best men from the cities.
My personal version of this situation would be to leave or place the whole responsibility on the Chief and the draft board. As we well know there are some firemen who should be in the Army. The best men will not ask for deferment.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Ben J. Zahn, Chief
Up to the present time all our members have been placed in 3-A. In the past few years we have given married men with families preference over single men, providing all other qualifications are equal. The result is that we have had no men called in the past draft.
Deferment will be asked for any members that have taken a real interest in their work. There are several in this latter draft that are married, but have no children.
Eau Claire, Wis.
Lawrence E. Smith, Chief
To date, I have not had to ask for deferment. but like the rest I can expect to meet it. I am not worrying about it.
I shall not ask for deferment for the men. They know what they want to do. If they want to ask for deferment, that is all right too.
New Rochelle, N. Y.
Oscar A. Grab, Chief
At a meeting with the draft board some time ago, due to the fact that this bureau would have possibly only two men called, it was decided to defer the draft question until such time as the men were called.
Hackensack, N. J.
Frank P. Walsh, Chief
We have not had to ask for deferment of any member because all the men subject to the draft are in Class 3-A.
Thomas J. McCarrick, Chief
It is our understanding that deferments will not be granted. To date men of military age who have been examined have been placed in Class 3-A.
I have not requested deferments. Until those in charge of the Selective Service System decide that firemen are necessary men, it will be difficult to procure occupational deferments.
Troy, N. Y.
Cornelius A. Casey, Chief
We have had one member enlist in the Navy. There are about twelve others who will be subject to the draft. As yet we have not asked for deferment.
Arthur L. Flynn, Chief
None of our men have been called in the draft, but we expect a call very soon. We have written letters to the draft boards, but they tell us they will consider only individual cases.
Thomas R. Hartnett, Chief
We have only one man called. He was with us only three months and expected to be called at the time he joined the fire department.
Robert Hoover, Chief
None of our men have been called as yet. I spoke to the board about one or two men and they reacted very favorably.
E. F. Coop, Chief
Up to recently we did not deem it advisable or justifiable to ask for deferment.
The situation at present, however, is becoming critical as 31.5 per cent of our total personnel have had three years or less of fire fighting experience. This condition is not entirely due to draft, but due to better salaries in defense industries, and retirements.
We feel that some kind of solution must be arrived at soon as our charter prohibits employment of men over thirty years of age, and that is the most likely age for men to be drafted.
Our draft boards are sympathetic and cooperative and wish to do all in their power to assist the situation in which we find ourselves.
Binghamton, N. Y.
Arthur J. Dillon, Chief
To date we have one fireman in the military service. Members of the denartment submitted their own affidavits. No appeals have been submitted.
C. C. Jennings, Chief
To date we have not asked for any deferments. About six of our members have enlisted.
It looks though something will have to be done if any degree of efficiency is retained.
Des Moines, la.
Charles L. Slade, Chief
We have asked for no deferments. The men themselves have not requested any. I have lost no men that cannot be replaced.
Fort Wayne, Ind.
Carter Bowser, Chief
We have not tried to secure permanent deferment for any of the men called in the draft. I requested the draft board to defer the three men called until they had their affairs in shape to leave.
L. M. Funk, Chief
We have not been able to secure the deferment of any of our men called in the draft. We appealed to the State Board, but without results.
H. L. Taflinger, Chief
We have several men registered for the draft. As yet none have been called. Therefore we have had no cause to ask for deferment.