American And Underage

Young American sailor of the Great War

In the USA enlisting of underage boys was an old custom. The picture on the right shows a socalled powder monkey, during the Civil War.

Heaven knows how many underage American kids served in the Great War. We only know it didn't end there. In the Second Worldwar the youngest US serviceman was 12 year old Calvin Graham, who served with the US Navy. Assigned to the USS South Dakota he was wounded at Santa Cruz and given a Dishonorable Discharge for lying about his age.

After the Second Worldwar very young boys were still able to enlist in the American services. This went on until the early fifties. Nowadays the USA is the only country where an association called Veterans of Underage Military Service (VUMS) exists. It was formed in 1991.


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