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President Nixon yesterday removed Lt. Gen. Lewis B. Hershey from his post as director of the Selective Service System, effective February 16. But Nixon announced that he will promote the 76-year-old Hershey to full general, and that Hershey will continue to serve as a special presidential advisor on manpower mobilization.
Nixon summoned Hershey to the White House yesterday afternoon and after a 50 minute conference announced through a press aide that Hershey will step out and be replaced by a civilian.
The announcement said Hershey's successor will be appointed soon to serve a rector until the turnover next year. After Feb. 16, Nixon said Hershey will help in the transition to a new, youngest first draft system and then "help develop a standby draft system for the period when the nation develop an all-voluntary armed force."
Neither Hershey nor Nixon net with reporters, but White House press secretary Ronald L. ziegler said he thinks Hershey is "very pleased with his new responsibilities." Nixon said in a statement "The nation owes Gen Herslicy a hearty well done!'"
Hershey was born on an Indiana farm in 1893 During the thirties, he developed the draft system which has provided more than 14,5 million men for wars in Europe, the Pacify, Korea, and finally Vietnam. He became director of the system four months before Pearl Harbor.
A frequent target of anti-war and anti-draft protestors, Hershey was condemned as autocratic, too old for the job, and defiant of legal draft policy. Sen. Eugeue J. McCarthy (D-Minn.) promised during his 1968 presidential campaign to fire Hershey if elected. Nixon refaced to talk such a stand.
As he passed his 75th birthday and again after President Nixon was elected, Hershey insisted he had no intention of resigning despite the mounting pressure, He has influential old friend in the Congress and many others feared to attack him because of his patriotic image.
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