Saturday, May 14, 2005

U.S. Senator Wayne Allard (RColorado), in a letter to Army Secretary Francis Harvey, said that the secretary of the Army should launch a nationwide investigation into reports that some Army recruiters engaged in questionable recruiting tactics. In the letter Allard wrote that “according to these reports, the rules weren’t just bent, they were broken and tossed away.”

One of the reports the Senator is referring to is the attempted recruitment of David McSwane, a 17 year old editor of a high school newspaper in Golden, Colorado. McSwane posed as a high school dropout, with a drug problem that he was “unable to kick”. Then he recorded, on audio tape, conversations allegedly showing that the recruiters told him how to obtain a phony diploma on the Internet and what medication to buy to cover up the drug problem. A friend of McSwane’s also video-taped a recruiter taking McSwain to a store to buy a “detox” medication to help him pass the army physical. David said he was told by the recruiter to buy the product.

A voice on the audio tape is heard saying, “You just have to follow instructions to a tee. It has got like a 150 percent guarantee that you will pass. You know, I’ve seen it work before.”

“If I were a soldier out on the front line, I wouldn’t want someone next to me who my life could be depending on going through withdrawal or having a drug addiction or just being someone I can’t trust. I just don’t think that’s something we need on our front lines,” David McSwane said on CNN.

His mother, concerned that people may think he was being unpatriotic by setting up the “sting” operation said: “He’s probably one of the most patriotic kids I know. He was in the Young Marines for almost a year and earned a couple (of) awards.”

Major General Michael Rochelle, the general in charge of recruiting for the U.S. Army responded to the allegations and tapes. “I was disappointed by it,” Rochelle said. “I was very disappointed by it.” He is shutting down recruiting offices for 1 day to review their procedures.

Jim Massey, a former Marine recruiter, expanded the accusations by saying the same fraudulent recruitment practices existed in the United States Marines Corps.

“This isn’t just an isolated incident,” Massey said. “This is a widespread epidemic. I would say 98 percent [of the recruits Massey enlisted] were frauded into the military.”

The Army has suspended two recruiters in Golden, Colorado.

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