Rick Salinger, reporter for Denver's News4Colorado, has a series of reports this week into possible misconduct by local army recruiters. Part I is here. The question:
How far will U.S. Army recruiters go to bring young men and women into their ranks?
Knowing that the Army had fallen well below it's recruitment goal in Colorado, David McSwane, an Arvada high school student, went undercover to find out.
McSwane, 17, is actually just the kind of teenager the military would like. He's a high school journalist and honor student at Arvada West High School. But McSwane decided he wanted to see "how far the Army would go during a war to get one more solider." McSwane contacted his local army recruiting office in Golden with a scenario he created. He told a recruiter that he was a dropout and didn't have a high school diploma.
McSwane taped his conversation with two recruiters in which they told him to provide a fake high school diploma and told him how to fake a drug test. The second recruiter, Sgt. Tim Pickel, drove him to get a detox kit that supposedly would help him pass a drug test. That's on tape as well. Salinger and News4 then confronted Sgt. Pickel with the tapes. He referred them to his superiors. Lt. Col. Jeffrey Brodeur, the regional head of army recruiting, responded:
"Let me sum up all of this with one word: unacceptable, completely unacceptable."
The army is now investigating. It has released a statement:
Yesterday the Denver Army Recruiting Battalion took action against two Army recruiters for alleged impropriety. One recruiter is suspended from recruiting until completion of the investigation. The other recruiter, who was in transition to a new duty location, is being called back to the area for the investigation and is also not recruiting. ...."Recruiter misconduct is not acceptable and it violates honor, duty and trust. "The Army takes a very serious approach to proper enlistment procedure and integrity. All allegations are investigated. We do not tolerate unprofessional behavior and our stringent guidelines for policing the recruiting force is evidence of that commitment."
Salinger's followup article is here.