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I Cannot Tell a Lie

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  • An Air Force recruit had a history of childhood asthma. He had experienced no incident of asthma since the age of 12. The recruiter advised the recruit to lie about the childhood asthma, informing the recruit that there was no way that the military could search all the medical records in the World, and discover it. The recruiter told him to make sure he answered "No" for every question at MEPs during the medical examination. The recruiter told him that "N.O." stood for "New Opportunities," and "Y.E.S." stood for "Your Enlistment Stops." The recruit entered the Air Force and graduated basic training. While doing PT at technical school, he had an asthma attack and collapsed. He was taken to the hospital, where the medical professionals diagnosed asthma. A check of his enlistment paperwork showed no reported history of asthma. Officials simply made a few phone calls to hospitals located in the areas where the recruit lived in the past (that information is on the enlistment application), and found his medical records. The recruit was discharged for fraudulent enlistment, just days before technical school graduation. He received an RE-Code of "4" which means he can never, ever enlist in any military service. The sad part is, that history of childhood asthma is often waivered today, if disclosed, and a pulmonary function test shows no evidence of current breathing problems.

  • Based on his recruiter's advice, a Navy recruit did not report knee surgery he had undergone at the age of 14. The surgery was such that it would have required a waiver to join. The recruit had selected a rating (job) that only required a SECRET Security Clearance, so his recruiter assured him that there was no way that the Navy would ever check his civilian medical records, unless he possibly re-injured his knee at a later time. The recruiter was mistaken. While in A-School (job training school), the recruit was tentatively selected for an assignment that would have required a TOP SECRET Clearance. As part of the initial assignment screening process. the DSS (Defense Security Service) began a detailed background investigation. When performing interviews, an aquaintence of the recruit happened to mention the time that the recruit spent in a hospital. The investigator noticed that there was no mention of hospitalization on the recruit's initial enlistment paperwork, so he sought and located the hospital records. The recruit received a fraudulent enlistment discharge.
The above are just a few examples. In the past three years, I've been contacted by dozens and dozens of former members of the military who were discharged or court-martialed for fraudulent enlistment (court-martials for fraudulent enlistment are rare, but they do happen). Each of these individuals wanted to know if they could somehow have their discharges upgraded. The sad answer is, probably not. The law allows a military discharge to be upgraded only in extremely limited cases.

Lying to Get Into the Military is a Felony

Let's get straight to the point. Knowingly giving false information or withholding required information on any recruiting form is a criminal offense (When the information would have made an individual ineligible to enlist, or would have required a waiver to enlist). It's not a misdemenor, it's not the same as getting a speeding ticket. It's a felony offense, punishable by a $10,000 fine and three years in prison. If you lie to get into the military, you are committing a felony. It's that simple. If you get away with it long enough to actually enlist, and are caught later, it's also a "military offense." You can be prosecuted for a violation of Article 83 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which states:

"Any person who--

  • (1) procures his own enlistment or appointment in the armed forces by knowingly false representation or deliberate concealment as to his qualifications for that enlistment or appointment and receives pay or allowances thereunder; or

  • (2) procures his own separation from the armed forces by knowingly false representation or deliberate concealment as to his eligibility for that separation; shall be punished as a court-martial may direct."
  • The Manual for Courts-martial (MCM) lists the maximum punishment for a violation of this article as: dishonorable discharge, reduction to the lowest enlisted rank, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement at hard labor for two years.

    The Enlistment Contract (DD Form 4/1) can't make this any more plain. Paragraph 13a of the contract (signed by the recruit) states:

    13a. My acceptance for enlistment is based on the information I have given in my application for enlistment. If any of that information is false or incorrect, this enlistment may be voided or terminated administratively by the Government, or I may be tried by Federal, civilian, or military court, and, if found guilty, may be punished.

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