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I Cannot Tell a Lie

False Statements on Military Recruiting Paperwork

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Let me preface this article by saying that I personally know dozens of military recruiters. Every single one that I am personally acquainted with are hardworking, honest professionals. They know the regulations and the enlistment requirements of their service, and they work hard to legally process recruits for enlistment. Recruiting is a difficult job, and recruiters who do their jobs well, and legally have my utmost respect.

I am also aware that some recruits do not inform their recruiters of disqualifying factors, and -- when they are later caught lying -- they attempt to blame the recruiter, saying "my recruiter told me to lie."

The Truth of the Matter

Unfortunately, it's become obvious to me, based upon emails I've received and messages posted in our message forum, that there are some recruiters out there who are encouraging (and, in some cases, downright instructing) recruits to lie about their criminal or medical history. Here are just a few examples (out literally hundreds):

  • An applicant claims his recruiter told him to lie about his childhood asthma. The recruit does so and is accepted. A week before graduating boot camp, he falls ill with a breathing problem. The medical officials diagnose it as asthma, and the troop is placed in a "holding status" for several weeks while the military locates and obtains previous civilian medical records. The records are located and shows a childhood diagnosis of asthma. The recruit is given an administrative discharge for fraudulent entry, with a Reenlistment Eligibility (RE) code of "4" (he can never enlist again). His fraudulent entry discharge will follow him for the rest of his life.

  • An applicant is advised by his recruiter to lie about his home-schooling (he had a GED). After he had almost completed his technical school, he is summoned by the commander, and instructed to cooperate in an ongoing investigation against the recruiter. Because of his cooperation, he got lucky. He wasn't discharged or court-martialed. Instead, he received nonjudicial punishment (article 15), reducing him from the rank of E-3 to E-1, and lost his security clearance which resulted in the loss of his guaranteed job.

  • A recruit had a felony conviction, as a juvenile, but the records were sealed. The recruiter performed a local criminal background check and it came back clean. The recruiter instructed the recruit to lie at MEPs, and the recruit was enlisted in the Delayed Enlistment Program. Months later, the recruit returned to MEPs to process for shipment to basic training. He was informed at that time that the FBI criminal background investigation discovered the juvenile felony conviction. He was discharged from the DEP, and can never enlist again (had he reported this originally, a waiver could have been granted).

  • After serving for five years, an Air Force NCO, stationed at Okinawa, underwent a routine security clearance reinvestigation. The investigation discovered a previous, unreported period of service in the Navy. The NCO was court-martialed for fraudulent enlistment, sentenced to nine months in prison, and a dishonorable discharge. (Note: In this case, the recruiter was unaware of the previous military service).

  • Based on the advice of his recruiter, a Marine recruit failed to report that he had been dianosed in the past with depression. He made it through basic training, but became depressed during infantry training. The medical officials located and obtained his civilian medical records and discovered the diagnosis. He was given an "Under Other Than Honorable Conditions" (UOTHC) Discharge.

  • An Air Force recruit was arrested as a juvenile, and the record was later expunged. A lawyer and his recruiter told him that he didn't have to report the arrest. The recruiter did a check with the local law enforcement agencies and found no record of the arrest. Based upon the advice of the recruiter and the lawyer, the recruit did not disclose the arrest on his enlistment documents. During the final week of basic training, he was removed from his flight and processed for a discharge for fradulent entry. A record of the arrest was found when conducting his security clearance background investigation. (The military requires that you report *ALL* arrests, regardless of the final outcome).

  • At the tender age of 11, a Navy recruit stole a vehicle and wrecked it. The family made restitution, and most of the charges were dropped, and the juvenile underwent a period of probation. The recruit "forgot" to mention the incident during the enlistment process. The Navy discovered the incident during a background investigation for a Security Clearance. The recruit was discharged for fraudulent enlistment, just a couple of weeks before Boot Camp graduation.

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