Army Recruiters Accused of Misleading Students to Get Them to Enlist
Colonel Says Incidents Are the Exception, Not the Rule
Nov. 3, 2006 — - An ABC News undercover investigation showed Army recruiters telling students that the war in Iraq was over, in an effort to get them to enlist.
ABC News and New York affiliate WABC equipped students with hidden video cameras before they visited 10 Army recruitment offices in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
"Nobody is going over to Iraq anymore?" one student asks a recruiter.
"No, we're bringing people back," he replies.
"We're not at war. War ended a long time ago," another recruiter says.
Last year, the Army suspended recruiting nationwide to retrain recruiters following hundreds of allegations of improprieties.
One Colorado student taped a recruiting session posing as a drug-addicted dropout.
"You mean I'm not going to get in trouble?" the student asked.
The recruiters told him no, and helped him cheat to sign up.
During the ABC News sessions, some recruiters told our students if they enlisted, there would be little chance they'd to go Iraq.
But Col. Robert Manning, who is in charge of U.S. Army recruiting for the entire Northeast, said that new recruits were likely to go to Iraq.
"I would not disagree with that," Manning said. "We are a nation and Army at war still."
Manning looked at the ABC News video of his recruiters.
"It's hard to believe some of things they are telling prospective applicants," Manning said. "I still believe that this is the exception more than the norm. … I've visited many stations myself, and I know that we have many wonderful Americans serving in uniform as recruiters."
Yet ABC News found one recruiter who even claimed if you didn't like the Army, you could just quit.
"It's called a 'Failure to Adapt' discharge," the recruiter said. "It's an entry-level discharge so it won't affect anything on your record. It'll just be like it never happened."
Manning, however, disagrees with the ease the recruiter describes.
"I would believe it's not as easy as he would lead you to believe it is," he said.
Sue Niederer, whose son, Seth, joined the Army in 2002, said she was all too familiar with recruiters' lies.
"They need to do anything they possibly can to get recruits," Niederer said.
Seth was sent to Iraq and was killed by a roadside bomb.
Niederer said she was not surprised by what ABC News had found. She believes it's still a widespread problem. She said that recruiters told Seth he wouldn't be put into combat.
"Ninety percent [are] going to be putting their lives on the line for our country," she said. "Tell them the truth. That's all. Just tell them the truth."
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