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Classification 42: Deserters

This classification was established in 1920 when the Bureau first began investigating and arresting military deserters. The first case in the classification is dated 1921. In fact, few deserter cases were handled by the Bureau until January 1945 when an interagency agreement was reached between the War Department and the FBI. Justifying its involvement in deserter investigations via this agreement and sections 808 and 995 of U.S. Code Title 10, the Bureau opened large numbers of case files. Because the Bureau's role was one of providing assistance to military in these investigations, the files created consist primarily of information furnished from military files.

In October 1978, the Bureau reached an agreement with the Department of Defense that limits Bureau involvement in deserter cases to those situations where aggravating circumstances exist in addition to the desertion. Cases investigated by the Bureau reduced drastically. The number of files opened at Headquarters dropped from over 8,000 in 1978 to 11 in 1979.

NARA holdings for Classification 42: Deserters are not are not yet described in NARA's online catalog. Please contact NARA's Special Access Program at with your reference request.

Record GroupFinding Aid EntrySeries Title
65A1 38-NClassification 42 - Headquarters Case Files
65A1 47-JClassification 42 - Index to Headquarters Case Files
65A1 53-IClassification 42 - Field Office Case Files
65UD-11D 49Classification 42 - Headquarters Case Files

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