Friday :: Aug 1, 2008

Army Intimidating Potential Recruits

by Jeff Dinelli

A disturbing story surfaced this week thanks to Houston's KHOU-TV exposing Army recruiters bullying local high school kids "pre-enlisting" in the Army's Delayed Entry Progam (DEP). The DEP allows kids to stick their toe in the military's water without actually making a binding commitment. If a guy doesn't like basic training, he can leave, in other words.

So 18-year-old Irving Gonzales takes the bait and enters the DEP. It seemed at first like a great way to help out his single mom by splitting his paycheck with her, getting his college paid for, maybe scoring some bonuses. After a while, though, while still exploring his post-graduation options, he decided to stay home and go to college instead.

Army recruiting regulations state “under no circumstances will any (recruiter) threaten, coerce, manipulate, or intimidate (future soldiers), nor may they obstruct separation requests.” And “At no time will any (recruiter) tell a (Delayed Entry Program) member he or she must go in the Army or he or she will go to jail.”

So when Irving called the recruiter to explain his change of heart, of course the Army guy told him he'd go to jail if he quit.

Irving asked to speak to a supervisor, and was directed to the very friendly Sgt. Glenn Marquette of the Greenspoint Recruiting Station, who told the kid there was No Way Out, that he signed a binding contract.

Well, no, Glenn, he didn't. A confused Irving countered by asking what happens if he just didn't show up. Hilariously, he somehow taped Sgt. Marquette's response:

“Then guess what? You’re AWOL. Absent without leave. You want to go to school? You will not get no loans, because all college loans are federal and government loans. So you’ll be black barred from that. As soon as you get pulled over for a speeding ticket, they’re gonna see you’re a deserter, they’re going to apprehend you, take you to jail. So guess what? All that lovey-dovey 'I wanna go to college' and all that? Guess what? You just threw it out the window, because you just screwed your life.”
Nice, right? KHOU found many more examples (follow the above link) of similar bullying by Sqt. Marquette and others at the same Texas recruiting station, broadcast everything they found, and the Army announced a national stand-down so all their recruiters could take a hard look at what the hell they're doing.

Jeff Dinelli :: 1:20 PM :: Comments (6) :: Digg It!