Out of Jail, Into the Army

by

From Salon.com:

  • After his parents filed a domestic-abuse complaint against him in 2000, a recruit in Rhode Island was sentenced to one year of probation, ordered to have “no contact” with his parents, and required to undergo counseling and to pay court costs. Air National Guard rules say domestic violence convictions make recruits ineligible — no exceptions granted. But the records show that the recruiter in this case brought the issue to an Air Guard staff judge advocate, who reviewed the file and determined that the offense did not “meet the domestic violence crime criteria.” As a result of this waiver, the recruit was admitted to his state’s Air Guard on May 3, 2005.
  • A recruit with DWI violations in June 2001 and April 2002 received a waiver to enter the Iowa Air National Guard on July 15, 2005. The waiver request from the Iowa Guard to the Pentagon declares that the recruit “realizes that he made the wrong decision to drink and drive.”
  • Another recruit for the Rhode Island Air National Guard finished five years of probation in 2002 for breaking and entering, apparently into his girlfriend’s house. A waiver got him into the Guard in June 2005.
  • A recruit convicted in January 2004 for possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and stolen license-plate tags got into the Hawaii Air National Guard with a waiver little more than a year later, on March 3, 2005.
  • Facing an enlistment crisis, the Army is granting “waivers” to an increasingly high percentage of recruits with criminal records — and trying to hide it… Through the use of a little-known, but increasingly important, escape clause known as a waiver. Waivers, which are generally approved at the Pentagon, allow recruiters to sign up men and women who otherwise would be ineligible for service because of legal convictions, medical problems or other reasons preventing them from meeting minimum standards… According to statistics provided to Salon by the office of the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, the Army said that 17 percent (21,880 new soldiers) of its 2005 recruits were admitted under waivers. Put another way, more soldiers than are in an entire infantry division entered the Army in 2005 without meeting normal standards. This use of waivers represents a 42 percent increase since the pre-Iraq year of 2000… [E]xamples from the Air Guard files suggest a wider problem: Taken together, the troubling statistics from the Army and anecdotal information derived from the files of the Air National Guard raise a warning flag about the extent to which the military is lowering its standards to fight the war in Iraq. The president may be correct in his recent press conference boast that “we’re transforming the military.” But the abuse of recruiting waivers prompts the question: In what direction is this military transformation headed?

60 Responses to “Out of Jail, Into the Army”

  1. Jeremy Says:

    You people make me sick. I am going to laugh when America is not here anymore and you see the ugly world for what it is. Shame on you to judge somebody for a past crime they may have done. You people I guess don’t believe in giving someone a second chance. You tell the recruiters not to go into schools and recruit the intelligent good kids, then you say don’t enlist the ones wanting to go but have a mild criminal background. One day soon you will see what all the bitching and moaning has done. And on that day the draft will come back into action and i will be laughing at you pathetic people. The military will survive.

  2. IRR Soldier... Says:

    Jeremy,

    Your e-mail address indicates that you were born in 1981. Which branch of service did YOU serve in? I’m 5 years older than you and have 3 years of enlisted and almost 8 years of commissioned service in the Guard, Reserve and Active Army.
    I’m not going to let your inane, rambling and semi-coherent comments go unanswered.

    1) We live in a nation of almost 300 million people and maintain a standing Army authorized 492,000 soldiers, a reserve authorized 205,000 and an Army National Guard of 350,000. Our “wise” civilain masters have deemed us not to merit a single additional authorized position since 2001, despite fighting in Iraq, A’stan and Djibouti. It may be worth noting that this current force structure is SMALLER than what we had in 1940 when the nation was only 1/2 the population it is today. In other words, there are countless opportunities for young folks to serve in uniform – military service impacts a smaller percentage of our service-eligible population than at any time following WWI.

    2) We do not need men that abuse women in the military. We do not need those arrested for crimes of violence serving. I’ve led soldiers. Have you? Who are you, armchair warrior, to tell us who NEEDS to serve?

    3) Your assertion that the military should be a place for “second chances” is absurd. Countless studies conducted by the DoD and RAND, spanning over 40 years, support the thesis that enlistees with criminal records or lack a GED are exceptionally prone to: a) getting in trouble; b) failing to complete their agreed upon term of service. Reference Charles Moskos’ piece, “Patriotism-Lite Meets the Citizen-Soldier” in E.J. Dionne’s “United We Serve” for a good overview.

    4) I support what the counterrecruiters are doing here and was an Army recruiter myself. The current recruiting environment preys on those with the least options in life and I guess that criminals are among those with “less options.”

    5) You should be more concerned about equitable and fair recruiting practices before suggesting that the military needs criminals to “survive”.

    6) I wholeheartedly support a draft/mandatory national service.

    7) If you have a degree, I implore you to consider enlisting for a three year Army OCS enlistment contract so you can have the opportunity to lead, coach and mentor in a combat zone, the petty criminals with guns you expect us to deal with in austere environments. OCS has a 100% selection rate. Sign up today to lead a platoon of social, legal and societal misfits — after all, that’s what you advocate to “help” a strained Army. No thanks….

    http://www.armyocs.com

  3. The Bane of Your Existence Says:

    Again IRR Soldier rears up onto his pedestal. Although I disagree with him on many fronts, I do indeed agree with him on several. I agree with mandatory service. No one teaches leadership like the military, responsibility, or courage; so I agree there as well. As to criminal history, you are reading the facts as they were presented. Also, that all the cited cases were NATIONAL GUARD. Yes, the Army did allow a lot of people to come in with waivers. Its not an escape clause either. The 17% number is for ALL waivers, not criminal history. We waive everything from the number of dependents an applicant has, to medical cases, to minor criminal infractions. Severe criminal cases are not even entertained. Nor significant criminal history. So again, IRR, you are wrong. Again, I do enjoy you assuming that the case cited involved a man beating a woman, even though it clearly states it was between his parents, plural, and himself.
    Again, all domestic violence cases prosecuted by the D.A. under the Lautenberg Amendment, are automatically PERMANENT DISQUALIFICATION cases. No waiver considered. Every prior service applicant has to get a waiver in grades E-5 and above. Anyone who has more than 3 dependents has to get a waiver. So it is definitely not an issue about criminal history.
    And lastly, I agree we are not a second chance organization. But again, the Heritage Foundation research put out this year that the mass majority of the US Military does indeed reflect general society on more than one front.

    Below is an excerpt. Get educated IRR Soldier. You are still an idiot when you discuss these matters. Jackpole.

    Official Debunks Myths About Military Recruits By Donna Miles
    American Forces Press Service
    WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2005 – Recruits entering the military are head and shoulders above their contemporaries, and myths that imply otherwise reflect the Vietnam era, not today, a top Pentagon official told the American Forces Press Service. “They are so clearly a cut above America,” Bill Carr, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy, said of today’s recruits. Carr bristles when he hears unfounded charges that the men and women entering the military are less educated, less affluent or less likely than other 18- to 24-year-olds to have alternatives to military service.  Rather, a combination of volunteerism and commitment to service is prompting young people to enlist, Carr said, noting that a measure of shrewdness plays into their decision.  “They are planning their future and considering what part we can play in it,” he said. Carr likes to think of himself as a “myth buster,” helping break stereotypes he said are flat-out wrong and cheat servicemembers out of the pride they’ve earned and deserve. He rattled off examples of those myths and set the record straight for each one.

    Myth 1: Military recruits are less educated and have fewer work alternatives than other young Americans.

    In fact, military recruits are far better educated than the general youth population, Carr said.  More than 90 percent of recruits have a high school diploma, compared to about 75 percent of the U. S. youth population. That’s an important issue to the military, Carr said, because a traditional high school diploma is the single best indicator of a recruit’s stick-to-it-ness and likelihood of successfully adjusting to military service.  Recruits with a high school diploma have a 70 percent probability of completing a three-year enlistment versus a 50 percent chance for nongraduates. The military has exceeded the 90-percent benchmark for recruits with high school diplomas every year since 1983, Carr noted.

    Myth 2: The military tends to attract people with lower aptitudes.

    Recruits actually have much higher average aptitudes than the general youth population, Carr said.  In fiscal 2005, 67 percent of recruits scored above the 60th percentile on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery.  The test is designed so that the average young person will score 50 percent, he explained. But high achievement on the test isn’t new, Carr said.  Sixty percent of new enlistees have scored at or above the 50 percentile — the military’s benchmark for recruits — every year since 1985.

    Myth 3: The military attracts a disproportionate number of poor or underprivileged youth.

    In reality, military recruits mirror the U. S. population and are solidly middle class, Carr said.  He cited a recent Heritage Foundation report that shows most recruits come from middle-class families, rather than poorer or wealthier ones.  Patterns in recent years reinforce this trend, showing a slight dip in recruits from lower socioeconomic groups and a slight increase from upper-class groups, Carr said.

    Myth 4: A disproportionate number of recruits come from urban areas.

    Inner cities are actually the most underrepresented area among new recruits, Carr said.  Both suburban and rural areas are overrepresented, he said.

    Myth 5: The military isn’t geographically representative of America.

    The southern part of the United States generates the most recruits, 41 percent, but also has the biggest youth population to draw from, 36 percent, Carr said.  Twenty-four percent of recruits come from north-central regions, which have 23 percent of the youth population.  The west, with 24 percent of the nation’s youth, contributes 21 percent of the new enlistees.  And the northeast, with 18 percent of the youth population, provides 14 percent of new recruits. Clearing up misconceptions about military recruits paints a truer picture of the young men and women joining the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, and the capabilities they bring to their respective services, Carr said.  It also reinforces what Carr said military leaders have recognized all along: “There’s enormous talent in their midst,” he said.

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  4. IRR Soldier... Says:

    Bane,

    Thanks for telling me to get “educated” -perhaps you should educate yourself and stop using slanted Heritage Foundation propaganda in an attempt to smear/disprove reality. The fact that the DoD actually regurgitated a Heritage-sponsored study to bolster its case shows one of two things: a) all is lost or b) GOP groupthink has overtaken the Pentagon.

    The Heritage Foundation study you cite is severely methodologically flawed and does not reflect a true comparison between those who serve in the volunteer-force and those that are enlistment-eligible. You see, comparing the enlisted force with the 18-24 population in the aggregate obscures the truth. The aggregate 18-24 US population contains a high number of HS dropouts, those with felony criminal records, illegal aliens and drug/alcohol addictions – None of these groups, about 30% of all 18-24 year olds, are eligible to enlist – in large numbers at least – into the military. Why then, are we comparing those that are qualified to serve with those that aren’t?
    The real story of the lower socioeconomic status the all-volunteer force appears when a TRUE comparison is made with enlistees and ENLISTMENT-ELIGIBLE youth of the same age. In other words, take away the dropouts, druggies, criminals and illegal aliens and compare the enlistment-eligible youth that volunteer and those that don’t. When you do that, you will find that our junior enlisted force DOES come from a lower socio-economic swath than those that don’t serve. Not impoverished, just lower. The kids that enlist are more likely to come from homes with lower educational attainment and come from smaller, rural communities. When you take away the dropouts and illegals, inner-city HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES are far more likely to serve than their suburban counterparts. this is why the Bronx has seven army recruiting statiosn while Bergen county, NJ has one – even though Bergen County has MORE HS graduates eligible to enlist. Throwing ineligibles into the mix hides the truth – the effect I assume you want.
    In fall 2000, before the war, only 5% of Army enlistees had MORE than a HS diploma. Source: Feb. 2006 issue of Military Medicine. In FY 02, I believe this number was 13%. As you know, a whole lot more than 13% of enlistment-eligible civilian 18-24 year olds have at least one college credit. In comparison, in 1964, the last year of the “peacetime draft”, fully 17% of drafted E-1s had at least 2 years of college. 42 years later, when as a %, twice as many Americans attend college, we can’t even attract a fraction of that number to voluntarily enlist.

    The Heritage point made about the ASVAB also misses the boat. While yes, 50% is designed to be the median score. However, until recently, no one who scored below a 31 could enlist at all and a 50 is generally considered to be the bare minimum accepted by the USAF. Why then does Heritage include the “below” 31 crowd into the comparison. The truth is, that among enlistment eligibles, ie. those with over 31, a 67 isn’t all that great. This is akin to a college with an 1140 median SAT score saying that they are great because those with 650s and 700s scored lower on a test with an overall median score of 1000 – even though 600s and 750s can’t get into most schools.

    No break down is made by service. Using the USAF’s 300,000 airmen to make the Army and USMC appear “smarter” is a complete shell game. Maybe the Army will look bad if ASVAB scores are broken down by component.

    An another front, I fully understand how waivers work – I was in USAREC after all. Your comments regarding felony waivers are misleading. In FY 2001, BEFORE, the recruiting shortfall, the Army accessed over 350 felony waivers onto active duty. Source: Moskos, “Patriotism-Lite Meets the citizen-soldier.” The number of felony waivers has INCREASED since then. Bottom line: your assertion that “Severe criminal cases are not even entertained” is a blatent lie. I know what USAREC can and does waive.

    The woman beating I referred to came from the recent story out of Lockport, NY, where the DA dropped the charges of a guy that beat a girl becuase he wanted to enlist. Yes, it did happen and was picked up by the AP. If you are/were in recruiting, you know these things happen.

  5. Bane of Your Existence Says:

    You mean blatant lie? Its called spelling, check it out IRR. So we both are going to use our data and statistics. “Ours” meaning, data that supports our side of the story. Don’t like the taste of your own medicine?

    And finally, for you. Just because I am a recruiter myself, never made me a liar. You, on the other hand, I have sincere doubts about. Quoting all of your posts is a waste of time, but only recently have you identified yourself as a recruiter. Which begs the question of the numerous USAREC personnel that frequent this site, SINCE WHEN? I find it hard to believe you were on these facts you stated yourself, “…have 3 years of enlisted and almost 8 years as an officer…” YOU ARE A LIAR. 3 YEARS?!?! ALL RECRUITERS ARE NCOS. PERIOD. You somehow made it to an NCO rank and did a three year tour in Recruiting Duty in the United States Army Recruiting Command?? So you came in as an E-5?? Odd. Especially, since USAREC MTOE says you have to have at least 3 years in service, and one year in grade to be a recruiter, that strikes me as totally crazy-talk from you. So, EDUCATE ME. Break it down, day by day. The Corporal Recruiter Program hasn’t been around that long, and Recruiting has been a three year detail, whether DA Select or Volunteer since 1977, so how do 3 years enlisted make you a recruiter? Officers aren’t recruiters. EVER. So whenever you’d like to clarify yourself and admit to the world how you are all jacked up; we are listening.
    Your roles in the Army change with each post. I only change my handle, ArmySoldier05, The Bane of Your Existence, whatever. I have always been a 19D. Now an E-6 19D, with 6 years of Proud and Honorable Service, Combat Vet and Combat Wounded, and Valor Commended. So if this word battle ever wants to get serious, let me know. Contact info is at the bottom. Even if you are/were in the Service, or even an officer, I beg for proof of your identifier as a recruiter, or class attended at the Basic Recruiter Course. I’ve listened to your bullshit for the last time. You are a disgrace to the Nation and the uniform.

    SSG Alan Caldwell
    US Army Recruiter
    Alan.Caldwell@usarec.army.mil
    6K8B RSID

  6. IRR Soldier... Says:

    SSG Caldwell,

    Why the Anger? So, officers are never recruiters … hmmm. Well, as an AMEDD officer I certainly was a recruiter and “on the numbers” at that. In fact, our station, while commanded by an RA MAJ and RA SFC, had both subordinate officers and NCOs assigned “on the numbers.” Our station had 2 RA CPTs, 2 USAR MAJs and an RA 1LT(P) in non-leadership, detailed recruiter positions … I lived it all … “DPR”, “PMS”, “Projections”, “replicating”, “REAS”, “ARISS”, “P3” and the like.
    Moreover, we projected our DAZ applicants directly from the MEPS guidance shop so I got to see (and hear) what really went down from the “counselors” at one of the busiest MEPS in the US. Moreover, several NCOs from the Infantry Battalion and Brigade I served in for 2 years as a platoon leader were NPS recruiters in my AO – these were good guys and their lives sucked in USAREC. Why would they hold punches to someone they knew?
    I saw the USAREC CSMs and 1SGs that converted when Reagan was President and hadn’t fired a weapon or spent a night in the field since then. Funny how they all wore “expert” badges for weapons they hadn’t touched in 15 years under their 5 or 6 ribbons.
    I witnessed officer colleagues get berated by our 79R station NCOIC for being low rollers and given 90 day letters. In my USAREC world, DPR, PMS and the shitstorms that followed knew no rank. Our MAJ was an incompetent hack in over her head … the 79R NCOIC was our “commander” for all intents and purposes.

    Quick USAREC education points: officers detailed to recruiting do not have to serve 3 years or extend to go to that assignment. Most serve only 2 years recruiting while I spent 1 in USAREC and than ETS’d.

    AMEDD Recruiters – to include detailed 91 series NCOs – do not attend the Basic Recruiter Course – they attend the 3 week Healthcare Recruiting Course at Ft. Jackson. Upon completion, they are awarded the Basic Recruiter Badge. I have that badge on my DD214 and ORB as an IRR officer.

    I can share war stories too, but until you’ve had USAREC HQ calling YOU on a daily basis on the status of finding an Optometry or Clinical Psychology HPSP applicant, STFU! Before berating my service Sergeant, why don’t you go out and try to find an Audiologist, 2 Social Workers, a Research Psychologist or Microbilogist on a 60-90 day suspense, willing to join the Army in a major American city that is 80% Democrat. I had all of those “grenades” thrown in my lap because I was good at what i did and professional in my approach. I achieved my mission, survived with an excellent OER and PCS’d to Ft. Living Room.

    AMEDD Recruiting for the “onesey-twosey” AOCs requires real sallesmanship, cultural literacy and product knowledge from educated, mature and cynical customers. Shifting gears from conducts with a USAR Pharmacy applicant, Veterinary HPSP applicants and RA Podiatric Residency applicant takes a lot of homework and skill.

    I know about USAREC and how it works and that’s why I’m here to challenge your “all is fine, nothing to see here” Rush Limbaugh talking points.

    I love the Army and I owe everything I am today to the organization – including 2 graduate degrees earned on the GI Bill. That said, I hate seeing an organization I love be destroyed by folks like Rumsfeld and GEN Schoomaker. What’s worse, is that USAREC is misleading young people about how strained things really are while targeting the most vulnerable of our population to serve. Cat IVs, Felony waivers and GED holders will not win “the long war” against a determined enemy. Insisting that everything is “a-ok” – to folks who know better- makes YOU part of the problem.

    I’m not some cynical activist that never served. I have served in the Guard as an enlisted soldier , USAREC and in a light infantry battlion in the regular Army. I’ve seen enough to know when things ain’t right and when recruiters bend the truth.

  7. IRR Soldier... Says:

    An article from today’s Baltimore Sun that exposes SSG Caldwell’s lies concerning felony waivers – 630 in FY 2005!!!

    Baltimore Sun
    February 14, 2006

    Army Accepts Crime In Recruits

    To fill its needs, military issues waivers for some past minor offenses

    By Tom Bowman, Sun reporter

    WASHINGTON — Struggling to boost its ranks in wartime, the Army has sharply increased the number of recruits who would normally be barred because of criminal misconduct or alcohol and illegal drug problems, once again raising concerns that the Army is lowering its standards to make its recruiting goals.
    Last year, almost one in six Army recruits had a problem in their background that would have disqualified them from military service. In order to accept them, the Army granted special exceptions, known as recruiting waivers.

    Recruits with medical problems made up the largest single category of those given waivers. However, the largest increase was among recruits with a history of either criminal conduct or drug and alcohol problems, according to data provided by the Army.

    In all, the Army granted waivers to 11,018 recruits in the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, 2005, or 15 percent of those accepted into the service that year. Those figures are up sharply from 2004, when 9,300 waivers were granted, or about 12 percent of those joining the Army.

    The Army provided the recruiting figures to The Sun yesterday after the newspaper obtained partial statistics.

    Despite the increase in the proportion of those accepted with problems in their background, the Army failed to meet its recruiting target.

    A total of 73,000 men and women joined the Army in 2005, down from 77,000 in 2004. The Army reached its recruiting goal in 2004, but it was about 7,000 recruits short last year.

    There was a significant increase in the number of recruits with what the Army terms “serious criminal misconduct” in their background.

    That category includes aggravated assault, robbery, vehicular manslaughter, receiving stolen property and making terrorist threats, according to Douglas Smith, a spokesman for the Army Recruiting Command at Fort Knox, Ky.

    The number of recruits in that category increased to 630, from 408 in 2004, reversing at least a four-year trend in which the number of recruits with serious criminal misconduct in their background had declined, according to Army statistics.

    The largest increase in waivers was for recruits with misdemeanor convictions. There were 4,587 waivers granted last year in that category, up from 3,667 in 2004. The category includes those with convictions for assault punishable by a fine of less than $500, resisting arrest, public drunkenness and contempt of court, said Smith.

    There were 737 waivers for alcohol and illegal drugs, up from 650 the previous year, which also reversed at least a four-year trend of declines in that category. Smith said those waivers were for recruits who tested positive for amphetamines, marijuana or cocaine during recruit processing. A waiver is required to let the recruit wait 45 days before taking another test.

    The largest category of waivers was for medical conditions, such as asthma, flat feet or some hearing loss, officials said. There were 5,064 medical waivers in 2005, an increase from the 4,567 in 2004.

    Smith said he could not explain why some categories, such as misdemeanors, had increased over the past four years, while others, such as drug- and alcohol-related problems, declined.

    “We don’t have an arbitrary floor or ceiling” on waivers, he said. “It’s looking at each individual and making a decision.”

    According to Pentagon officials, the percentage of waivers granted by the Army in the recruiting year that began in October is likely to match or exceed the figures from last year.

    Smith denied that the increase in waivers reflects a lowering of standards by the Army or difficulties in meeting recruiting goals. The Army has met its monthly goals for the past eight months, according to the service. In deciding to grant waivers, Smith said, the Army decides to look at the “whole person concept” and not just some past incidents.

    Army statistics show a fairly steady increase in waivers over the past five years, a period that includes the increasingly deadly war in Iraq.

    The waivers reflect a troublesome trend, said Charles Moskos, a military sociologist at Northwestern University.

    “It shows you how the recruiting difficulties are getting worse,” he said. “They’re dropping the standards. It increases the likelihood of problems in the unit, discipline problems.”

    “By and large these are flawed recruits,” said retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who commanded the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division during the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

    He said the ripple effects of the waivers will be felt into the future when the recruits are up for promotion: “Those getting waivers won’t be the sergeants we want.”

    McCaffrey recalled the post-Vietnam Army of the 1970s, which had similar low-quality recruits and soldiers.

    “It took us about a decade to take a fractured Army and turn it around,” he said, adding that the global situation is grimmer than it was three decades ago. “We don’t have 10 years this time.”

    Army Lt. Gen. Theodore G. Stroup Jr., who was chief of Army personnel during the 1991 gulf war, said it’s too early to say what effect the increased waivers will have on the Army.

    Historically, recruits who have high-school diplomas and are drug-free and crime-free are far more likely to make it through Army training and their three-year or four-year enlistment period, while those lacking these personal attributes are more likely to wash out.

    Senior Army leaders continue to dispute criticism from McCaffrey and others, saying that the Army is performing well in both Iraq and Afghanistan, that recruitment is on the upswing and that the soldiers fielded today are the best trained and equipped ever.

    “Most of you might remember the armed forces post-Vietnam, where we had major problems in discipline, major problems in readiness, major problems across the board,” Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army’s top officer, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week.

    “The United States Army is not broken.”

    At the same time, the percentage of waivers is far lower for National Guard and Army Reserve recruits. About 2.2 percent of the 21,300 recruits brought in during 2004 and 2.37 percent of last year’s 19,400 recruits received waivers, according to the Army data.

    Lt. Col. Mike Jones, deputy director of recruiting for the National Guard, said senior Guard officials made a decision to keep the number of such waivers as low as possible to avoid “second- and third-order effects.”

    Jones said those with health problems could be a burden on the Guard’s budget, while those who have criminal histories tend to be discipline problems that could infect a unit.

    Smith, the Army Recruiting Command spokesman, said the Guard and Reserve might have an easier time avoiding waivers because their recruits tend to be older. There is a “maturity factor” that would decrease the likelihood of criminal or drug problems.

    The spike in waivers comes on the heels of a decision by Army leaders to double the percentage of recruits — from 2 percent to 4 percent — who score in the lowest acceptable category of the military’s aptitude test. That level, known as Category IV, means the potential recruit scored between 16 and 30 on a test in which the highest grade is 99.

    The new percentage means that 2,000 or more recruits would come into the Army with lower scores on the aptitude test.

    The Army is also bringing in more recruits without high school diplomas and increasing the age limit for recruits, from 35 to 40.

    Part of the reason for overall recruiting difficulties is the Bush administration’s decision to temporarily increase the size of the Army by 30,000 to deal with the strain caused by the overseas missions in Iraq and elsewhere.

    The Army had about 480,000 soldiers before the Sept. 11 attacks. It now has about 492,000 and plans to increase that number to 512,000 over the next two years.

    Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey said recently that the Army is increasing the number of recruiters and beefing up bonuses, but he acknowledged that attempting to boost the size of the Army during a war is “very challenging.”

  8. The Command T.O.C. Says:

    The Army is taking Felons at an Alarming Rate

    The military is struggling to make their numbers in recruiting. According to Counterrecruiter.net the Army is taking convicted felons and people with crime records at an alarming rate. In an article titled, Out of Jail and Into the Army they

  9. Me Says:

    Americas full of hypocrites I mean wasn’t America built on violence, greed, and dishonesty? Are we not the ones that came to this great land and discovered it I mean after we almost wiped out the Indian population (would that be considered murder?). So we condone violence and murder as long as it’s in our best interest (oil/gas prices)? When you look at it through most other countries eyes we are the criminals. There’s a reason that most of the world did not back us in the decision to go to war and what do you think it is? Here’s a hint WE WERE WRONG WE MADE A MISTAKE but of course America would never admit to being wrong were always right. Right????? I guess my point is should someone that has made bad choices in the past be able to join the military and have a choice to protect their family and friends from harm? I personally believe they should. I just wish our troops had a choice in the cause they were willing to fight for instead of those idiots in the white house.

  10. Jake Katz Says:

    To SSG Caldwell:

    Since getting out after five years of honorable service, I have had many conversations with gung-ho folks such as yourself. That is, people who cannot argue facts and numbers, and instead resort to personal attacks, questioning the patriotism and service of those with whom they disagree. (“No way you were a recruiter! No way you were an E-5! No way you were in Nam! What platoon? What was the serial number of your helmet? Liar!). Listen, if you can’t defend the methodology of “studies” that you cite, you should get out of the kitchen. Seriously. You are not the intellectual caliber that can have a reasoned discussion in a forum such as this.

    FYI, I am lower middle class, but come from a solid middle class town where literacy is almost 100% and where most kids get at least some college or vo-tech training. When I was in the arny, the enlisted people that I served with were the white trash dregs of society. Not to say they were all bad people, but on the whole they did not have a lot going for them besides the military. These are guys who would be doomed to a life on the loading dock of Sears Roebuck, if not for Uncle Sam. If you don’t notice it because that’s your own social strata, that’s fine. But don’t go chirping that you and your friends are “above average”. And don’t go citing a “study” by the most extreme partisan think-tank in America, at least not unless you are prepared to defend it’s methodology.

  11. Yankee Sailor Says:

    You mean the military accepts recurits with criminal records *GASP*?!? Hell, I remember when judges would dismiss the charges against some miscreants if they agreed to enlist and straighten their lives out.

    In my personal experience, these kids are a mixed bag. Some of them just made a bad decision and needed a little purpose and guidance in their lives – and turned out to be great Sailors – and others started as human detritus and got kicked out as they deserved.

  12. Jake Katz Says:

    Mr. Yankee Sailor,

    The army will be seeing a lot more human detritus in coming months and years. The record 1 in 6 kids coming in on a waiver, is just the tip of the iceberg. You can bet there is a parallel rise in fraudulent un-waivered enlistments. Who knows how many kids are being less than candid about their criminal or medical records, often at the urging of their recruiters? The army will always deny it, but it’s no secret that you have to be very desperate or very stupid to sign up for this lemon of a war.

    When I was in uniform in the 1990s, you could get kicked out for two drug or disciplinary infractions, or one DWI or domestic incident or fraternization episode. But I read now that no one is getting kicked out for any reason. Basically there is a STOP LOSS on junkies, misfits, and med-cases.

    I say to the army: Good luck winning this war and fighting the next!

  13. IRR Soldier... Says:

    Jake,

    While things are not quite as bad as you make them sound, yes, the Army is keeping around a lot of folks that would have been swiftly chaptered when you or I (’98-’02) were on active duty.

    The biggest change in this is the formal removal of all chapter authority from the battalion to Brigade commanders. Since “retention” and “chapters” now come across the Brigade Commanders desk, you can bet there is great hesistance for an exceessive number of chapters to be filed – no matter how well deserved. This is precisely the effect desired by Rumsfeld and his lackey – GEN Peter Schoomaker.

    You are quite correct about these stats being the tip of the iceberg. Recruiters are struggling, even in formerly lucarative areas like the southeast. There is definitely an increasing number of unidentified ineligibles and enlistment fraud.

    Even more troubling is the rise of CAT IVs – enlistees with below a 31% on the ASVAB. These are essentially the lowest third of American youth and probably NOT who we need on AD right now.

    Yankee Sailor,

    You are entitled to your opinions, but the fact remains that felony/misdemeanor waivers, GED-holders, and low testers have a disproportionately high number of failures to complete their enlistment. Overall, the Army has about 39% of enlistees fail to complete their first term. This % increases to over 60% for GED holders and felony waivers.

    Your argument presents a false choice. We are a nation of 300 million with a 480,000 man Army and 180,000 man USMC. We don’t need to accept human detrius to wage our wars. We have plenty of QUALIFIED folks 18-30 to do it. We need a draft in the worst way. BRING BACIK THE DRAFT!!!!!

  14. Terrance Reynolds Says:

    I am one of those people who have a felony charge and I want to join the military. I am 22 years old and I am ready to do something with my life. Just because I have a felony doesnt mean Im a bad person. I made a mistake and dont believe I should pay for it for the rest of my life. I just want to know how I would go about getting this waivor and which branch would most likely except me. I need a professional answer as soon as possible.

  15. Bob Says:

    I was leafing through the posts here on the this page and see a wide variety of opinions and someone quoting one source or the other. Problems is with surveys and the like the are all slanted and you show me one that says one thing, I will show you another that says something else. As far as waivers into the military, they have always been there. The regulations (601-210) has changed, but not in essence. Each waiver is a case by case basis, always has been. Some things are flat out disqualifiers, some have to be investigated.
    example. 24 yr old male has two Minor in Possession of Alcohol charges. 1 year of probation for each offense. Oh by the way he missed a community service day (probation violation) which is a msd, and was late paying his fine (another Msd) According to the regulation this guy is disqualified for military service. Does he deserve that? Most people would say of course not. That is where a waiver comes into play. Most waivers are for things of this nature. DV and DUI waivers do happen, this type of waiver usually takes months and the applicant has to go through several interviews and prove he has the willingness and desire to be a better person. So they get the chance.

    Medical waivers are even more difficult to obtain. Ever us an inhaler? You did! had brochitis and was prescribed one for 2 weeks when you were 9 years old. Disqualified. Unless you can prove that 12 years ago, you did not have asthma. These are the scenerios I have seen played over and over again. My take is this. Nothing is perfect, it is never going to make everyone happy. If you don’t want to enlist, don’t. But leave the people who do alone. I believe homosexuality is wrong. You won’t hear me say much. I just don’t sleep with men.

  16. Will Says:

    I don’t see why people that are willing to die for their country shouldn’t be given the chance. I myself would jump at the chance to fight for our country, but because of stupid choices I made when I was 17-18 I cannot. I am now 23, married, home owner, journeyman carpenter, God fearing man. Not the same boy I was. But despite how much I’ve changed or what else I can accomplish, I will never be able to honor my family or my country with the same sacrifices that they made for me. It is very depressing to walk in to a recruiting station willing to die for your country and be told that they don’t want you, you don’t qualify. How do you qualify to sacrifice yourself for your country?

  17. Roy Dewey Says:

    I was able to get into the National Guard because they waivered my criminal history. I was not allowed into the Active Duty Army because I grew up doing stupid things, and paid the price for it. I was just now able to convert to the active side after 2 years of the Guard. I’m thankful for the chance to serve even though my past was bad. It seems some of you support second chances, and some of you don’t. I agree with Will, but if they are willing, shouldn’t the rules allow them the chance? Seems like asking for a volunteer, then telling a volunteer no. On the other hand, I actually know SSG Caldwell, he recruits in my hometown. I think because he is hotheaded sometimes, he is very passionate, you think he is overbearing and rude. He was always very honest and truthful to me and my wife, and super helpful to make my transition easy. I’d say you’d have to meet him and find out that he wants the best for everyone. God Bless.
    Roy

  18. Jake Katz Says:

    Folks, there are *individuals* and then there are *aggregates*. I am not accusing anyone of being a bad person. BUT… It is well known that waivered soldiers have a much higher attrition (dropout) rate, whether for disciplinary, family, or medical reasons. This is why the military has traditionally kept a lid on its enlistment waivers. OK?

    Secondly, there are better ways to serve your country than spending your life in a wheelchair. Think, 40 years from now, who will remember this war? How many American kids will know that there once was a unified country called “Iraq”? How will you feel then, sitting in your wheelchair?

    What is it that is missing in your life, that makes you want to kill people for a living? Adventure? A sense of pride in your job? A feeling of community? You can find all of these things without signing your life away and becoming a mercenary. Work on it. Think about it. Don’t take the easy way out. Don’t let anyone do the thinking for you. It could get you blown up.

    No one has ever died for a “country”. For good or bad, people die for their leaders. Think, think, think.

  19. Jake Katz Says:

    And think some more…

    When you put on that uniform, as I once did, you become a pawn in the political games of people who would never dream of sending their own kids to fight and die.

    You become a cog in a big machine, a number in a database, a set of dog tags.

    You fight the bad guy of the day. Maybe he was yesterday’s darling? Doesn’t matter. He pissed off Uncle Sam, so he has to die. And someone has to get elected or re-elected, so maybe you have to die, too. Tough luck.

    Oh, patriotism? Who is lecturing you about patriotism? What do George Bush’s beautiful daughters do for their country? Or Dick Cheney’s kids, or Wolfowitz’s kids, or Perle’s kids, or Rumsfeld’s kids? OK, let’s go back in time… What about Clinton’s kid? Reagan’s kids? Get the picture?

    Don’t be a doofus, as I was. Don’t waste your life playing the little soldier man in someone else’s video games.

  20. Bill Says:

    If every Soldier, Sailor, Airman and Marine – officer and enlisted alike, from General Pace in the Pentagon to the private who just lowered his right hand – stopped what they were doing, right now, this second, and walked away from their service… what would happen? Be careful what you wish for.

  21. Jake Katz Says:

    Bill, you ask what would happen? Not much, really. As long as the INS, Border Guard, Coast Guard, and the embassy folks granting the visas all do their jobs, honestly and efficiently, this country will be perfectly safe and secure. All we have to do to keep the terrorists (whoever they are) out is not to stamp their passports like we did with the 9/11 highjackers. Fix that system, and you have virtually no need of an offensive military. Looking at how the U.S. military is currently structured and based, it is obviously a hegemonic force designed to enforce the U.S. government’s will in certain key areas of the globe. It is not by any stretch of the imagination a home defense force. Get that out of your head. We are an empire and our military is an imperial force. Anyone who serves in this military is a pawn in the global games of the rich political families that circulate through the White House, who would never dream of sending their own kids to fight.

  22. Brad Reichel Says:

    Mandatory national service? That is not freedom. Sure, I think serving can be a very positive experience that makes great Americans. However, this is the land of the free. Mandatory national service is not freedom. How can you push the ‘we fight so you can enjoy freedom’ bit, if at the same time you lobby for forced service. I’m shaking my head. I love the freedom I enjoy. I can be anything from a shiftless bum to a hardworking garbage man to an overprivledged kid who has no respect for anything. All because the USA allows that range without punishment or ‘mandatory service.’ I had no idea that people still thought like that. It’s kinda like a waiter or waitress who says they think everyone should have to wait tables at some point in their life. Not a bad idea, but I don’t advocate that we pass a law. As for the whole felony recruitment issue. I’m sure a few baddies get through the process. Hell, I’ve known a few. However, I don’t think they’ve set up shop outside the prisons and I don’t think that a whole lot of criminals are serious about enlisting. They’re most often interested in commiting more crime or getting as far away from the government as possible. One last note, at the time of this writing, we have spent enough money in the past three years in Iraq to send every 18-22 year old in the USA to public university for four years. This is no joke. Do the math. A better educated society is a much greater defense than the offensive in Iraq. I think most agree, right region, wrong country.

  23. Kevin Flack Says:

    I have been trying to get in the Army for two years and been through processing countless times. I am currently waiting on a waiver myself. I was as a juvenille convicted of a felony because my father wanted to teach me a lesson and I have been struggleing to achieve my goal of serving in the Army ever since. I made one mistake and am paying for it. I am not a career criminal as a matter of fact i voulenteer for the Salvation Army and have never gotten in any trouble including traffic violations since my incedent as a juvenille. I truly want to be a soldier. I dont care about bonuses or any of that I merely want to serve my country and make the US Army a career. So please tell me if the Army is letting in so many felons why cant a kid who made a mistake when he was a juvenille having such a hard time getting in?This is all I want to do with my life I am truly dedicated and have been turned down time and time again but will continue to strive to achive my goal of becoming a soldier. I waould also like to state I too feel it is wrong to judge someone who may have nade a mistake or two while they were growing up. It seems everyone just keeps trying to keep people like myself from doing good things for their country and with their lives.

  24. hell with us Says:

    George Bush’s sold us out

  25. Matt Says:

    Interesting posts so far with some very passionate perspectives. So what can I contribute? Well, I don’t know much, and never served as a recruiter, so I’m not sure that I can intelligently comment on the nature of Army recruiting. I only had the opportunity to serve as an Airborne, Sniper Qualified NCO on a light infantry Scout team, and was only in for about 6 years.
    I come from a middle-class background, graduated from college with honors in 3 years, and am now in grad school. I am more intelligent than some, less intelligent than others…did more in the Army than some and less than others. So what can I contribute from my limited perspective?

    I had the opportunity to serve with (and lead) soldiers from middle-class backgrounds, and soldiers from lower-class backgrounds. I led and served with soldiers that had criminal records, and soldiers with no HS diploma. In fact, I encountered soldiers with a variety of waivers in the short time that I was in the service. My overall experience was enough to let me know that (while I don’t discount statistics) I would much rather serve with someone from a less-privileged background that knows how to work, then many of the soldiers from more-privileged backgrounds that complained incessantly.

    As for problems that require chaptering of soldiers out of the army…again, while I don’t discount the statistics, I saw a variety of soldiers chaptered for a variety of reasons, from a variety of backgrounds. That said, is it really that difficult to understand why the army’s recruiting standards have slackened during a time of war?

    As for not serving in order to keep from being a pawn in someone else’s game…pawn or not I wouldn’t want to leave the totality of our national security to the CG, border patrol, immigration…etc…seems a bit naive to me.

  26. Nicholas Fletcher Says:

    I am a former inmate who served five years in the State of Arizona for armed robbery. Now I was 17 when this crime was committed and I was guilty by association as I was just there and did not actually participate in the crime.

    I have been out of prison for almost six years and have since obtained a job that grants me a six figure a year income and puts me on a platform where I have had the honor to meet people like Rudy Guilliani.

    I have had the desire to join many times and it is unfortunate that because of people like yourself stereotyping people because of their past offenses. I could serve the military well and would do it in a second as I love this country and would gladly lay my life on the line for it.

    There are many people in prison right now, who because of prison have qualifications that would make you think twice. Dedication, Desire, and a sense of self worth are reasons.

    Think twice before you blog subjects like this.

  27. Chris Says:

    People make mistakes and those who are caught have to pay their debt to society either through jail time, community service or fine. Once that debt is paid than that person should be able to move on with their life. With the shortage of personnel in the military, I can not believe there would be an argument like this. Nicholas Fletcher if you have a desire to serve than I can not fathom why you would be denied this opportunity. If it was up to me you can take my spot, I have been involuntarily mobilized off IRR, and have no desire to serve. To all those individuals who are against individuals with criminal record serving in the military who would you rather have in the foxhole with you, A individual like Nicholas Fletcher who has the desire and dedication to serve or me a individual who has no desire to me there at all? To preclude a pool of individuals who are willing and qualified to serve in the Armed forces is the kind of short sided thinking that has gotten us into the situation we are in now.

  28. Chris Says:

    The current Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces has a criminal record. The former Secretary of Defense and the current Vice President of the United States has a criminal record. If these individuals can lead the forces then the individuals within these forces should be able to serve with a criminal record.

    To the individuals who have been denied service due to a criminal record, write to your congressman and state senators. Explain to them that you have a strong desire to serve your country and have been denied the opportunity. Ask them why there is currently a back door draft forcing individuals to serve involuntarily when individuals like yourself are more than willing to serve.

  29. erin Says:

    i have just recently been convicted of a felony

    I realize my mistakes, and want to better my life.I want to do more and be a part of something bigger than me.I looked into joining the airforce at the end of my probation period, but found that it was impossible.I also do not understand why we are unable to get a second chance.I would be a very dedicated person if only given the chance. It’s not about money or the college.I could work for my uncle making around as much money being an electrician, but i didn’t think that would be enough.I wanted something more but apparently it is not offered to people who’ve made mistakes. Not everyone is perfect and we have all made our mistakes,I just got caught and punished and now realize more than ever the error of my ways. Oddly enough I am actually happy because it really snapped me out of my old lifestyle, but now i regret it is keeping me from following what would make me better person all i would like is a chance.I love hard work and i would be as dedicated as anyone without a criminal record.They could kick me out if they didn’t find me competent, although i think they wouldn’t have a problem with me if they gave me a chance…just one chance to prove my worth

  30. Anonymous Says:

    Hello, first of all I enjoy reading some of your comments, fortunately I read the gratifying ones last to give me hope. I am in my early twenties and an AMerican here in Virginia. Oh yes I had alot of trouble when I was a teenager, recently I have just learned I have 18 convictions, three of them being ASsualt, shoplifting and possesion of Marijuana and the rest being violation of probation and driving charges all before I turned 18. I also have a long driving record for the adult part, a felony of possesion of marijuana with the intent to dristribute and a misdeamenor possesion of Marijuana, and yes this is all extremely overwhelming and will probably seem to be a humongous criminal and one who does not have any idea of what the LAW means and so on. And, that is comepletely understandable. However, we are in America, here in this country when we do something wrong the courts know it and everyone else has access to it (employers, government and so on) this is unlike any other country in the world, do you think the little boy who stole candy from a village store in Pakistan has on his criminal record MISDEAMENOR stealing five peices of bubble gum>? no, but in AMerica we do. Because we have freedom and oppurtunities therefore, the citizens of this country must know who you are to the slightest detail. Enough of that, basically, its been more than two years since I have gotten any trouble like what I was doing as a juvenille and pre-adult hood, I;m definately still very young, naive and vulnerable, however being a troublesome American that is a patriot without a doubt, we are able to get outselves out of all the trouble we got into. ALl I want to say, is that here In AMmerica, all the effort you took to get into trouble can all be amerliorated if you try your best. Be honest and have a desire to change, because yes America=Change and the majority of people who run this country understand that to the full extent, however if you can like convicted of Murder, than well…..yea. Be strong and ambitious and know you will get into the program you want and whatever your trying because all will come to you if you trust inyourself to achieve, It goes back to our roots of American culture, do you think George Washington Thomas Jefferson were criminal-free people growing up?? “success is determined by how far you bounce once you hit bottom” remember that and you can achieve anything in this country and I totally agree with all of the ones with positive feeback and the ones with negative, well thank you, because thats how I learn.

    -New Rider

  31. Broken Heart Says:

    My fiance is 26 years old and served for almost 7 years Airborne US Army. He was a Sgt. NCO, in charge of soldiers of his own. In June 2004 he was on short leave and got in a car accident in OH on his way from NC to MI to attend his Uncle’s wedding. He was completely sober when this happened, but due to loss of control he hurt 3 people on motorcycles. The cops let my fiance go at the scene after being checked out at the hospital. All 3 of the victims have recovered. Unfortunately after they recovered, a few months later they pressed charges against him. He was railroaded big time. Charged with 3 counts of aggrivated vehicular assult. Even though there was supposedly a 75% chance he would not go to prison, he’s now sentenced to 4 years and 5 year suspension on his license. It happened in a small town and the victims won. August 2005 he was put in an OH state prison where he is waiting to file for judicial release at his one year mark. His military term would’ve ended in August of this year (2006) and he was planning to re-enlist, he wanted to retire in the Army, he loved it. I’m now a single Mommy at home taking car of our son who was born in March, I know my fiance would love to get back into the Army but I highly doubt that’s possible. I definitely understand the rules against certain crimes, but at the same time it crushes me to know that his dream has been shattered due to a unfair situation, what he did is no worse than a DWI, in fact being he was completely sober and just driving like any person does on a daily basis, it’s not quite as bad. His lawyer hasn’t been very good at all, and I think he’s going to try and get a new one. But that doesn’t fix the problem, no matter what he’ll always have that following him…

  32. Jason Says:

    I want to join the military but keep getting turned down. Convicted of Class C Felony for Rape 3 I had a girlfriend in High school who was under 18rs of age. We had sex 1 time. If anybody knows of who I need to talk to in order to join the military please let me know.

  33. JohnLaw Says:

    I just read this post and I tend to agree with the first response to this forum… Sometimes a person gets caught doing questionable things, should they then lose all options in their lives because they were trying to find their way?

    Anyway the main reason I am writing is because I am planning to enlist in the army in about a month after I wrap up a few things in my life but I am very concerned about my medical exams… I had a knee operation in highschool that was a great success and I have had 0 problems with the knee. I have been doing research and it seems that ANY knee operations constitute disqualification from armed service and I am extremely unhappy about that. If anyone on here reads this and has any words of advice for me I’d love to hear from you. My AIM name is ViperNSniper (as you can see I really want to be in the military).

  34. j Says:

    Hello I know several people that are in the military fighting for our country with felonlies, and you know what there also dying for this country to. I believe in giving people second chances and if there are people willing to fight for this great country,willing to die for this great country why not.

  35. Desperate to give back Says:

    I am 26 years old and want to join the military. I too have a non-violent felony background. I will not go into details of my past but I will say that I grew up in group homes and foster homes. This of course had a major effect on my life. I was emancipated at 17 and released from the states custody after spending my whole life in their care. When I left the courthouse that day I had nowhere to go. I looked up my biological grandmother and went to reside with her. Needless to say I wound up in trouble. Got myself sent off to Prison a few times. All being 2 years or less. Anyway, it has been a difficult road but I am in college now and will be getting a degree in computer programming. I want to serve the country that help set me on the right path. I learned from my mistakes. I just want to do something meaningful for my country. Because I am a convicted felon I will probably never get to do this. I just don’t understand why people can’t see that a person can change. The bad choices that I made when I was a late teen now will forever be with me. I have been sentenced to life for stealing a car. I just want to give back thats all.

  36. Harris30 Says:

    I myself have been trying to go into the
    Army National Guard. between the ages of
    15&16 I was convicted of 4 felonys, of only
    1 that I was truly guilty of. I am now 30
    years of age with 5 children and a beautiful wife. they had to do a exception
    to policy for me, but said I havnt done
    enough in 14 years to show for an exception
    I have not been involved with the law since
    I was 16, have been raising my kids and
    working.If war broke out and they started
    the draft, they would expect you to go in
    they would’nt care about your past. Im
    going in on my own to serve my country but
    thats not good enough.

  37. Spencer Glassford Says:

    I was convicted of trespassing (a restraining order from my girlfriends home placed by her parents). I am now on 1 year probation and have to pay 500 dollar fine to the court. Am I eligible to go into the Marines.

  38. the_miker Says:

    Um I have a criminal background. I have 2 state felonies for theft by recieving and 1 federal purjury charge. 3 felonies.

    I spoke to a recruiter on how I may better serve my country. So let me get this straight. I can go pay my time for the crime get back out and not intergrate back into the public because of gun laws, voting etc?

    Bullshit. I am eligible and have already enlisted in the national gaurd because my felonies are not violent, rape or drug involved. An exception was allowed forme to further prove I am just your average american. its been almost 12 years since I got out of my 1 year in prison and have not commited one crime since then. Why the hell can’t I serve my country?

  39. SSG Johnson Says:

    Ok we can bicker all we want on what the Army, navy, Air force and Marines do. Lets look at the real facts. Over 300 million in the United States. Roughly over 500 thousand in the service. Very one sided there. We also preserve freedom, you band wagon patriots are full of good ideas and witty sayings that down grade and demoralize the soldiers, airmen, seamen, and marines that protect the blanket of freedom that your snobish and high falutant butts sleep under. You are the same people that flew a flag in your yard when the towers came down, you are the same people that took those flags down when the going got tough for you. Well let me ask this, did you fight in Iraq? did you fight in Afganistan? have you held a buddy or friend in your arms while he dies? I thought not. Who are you to judge the members of the armed forces when you are to chicken shit to serve. Shame on you all. I have been to Bosnia, Korea, and Iraq and I, to this very day, am proud of my service. I am proud to say that I defend the freedom of people like you so you can express your opinions, weather rite or wrong, and down grade me as a soldier. I still will defend you, because we are still the greatest country in the world and people like you just mean nothing to myself and my comrads. So on your way to work, school, or were ever you go. Remeber one thing, we defend your rites, we defend your cowardess, and we defend your way of life. We do all of this for no extra money and we are true patriots. Not a band wagon patriot such as yourself

  40. Chastain Says:

    I joined the Air Force October 24, 2005 a healthy 24 year old female in the grade of E-2. I graduated basic training on December 9, 2006 with a knee injury sustained from a fall during my second clothing issue while getting fit for my blues. I went on to my Tech. school at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola FL. Needless to say, I attended doctors appointmets with orthopedic specialists and countless hours of physical therapy in basic and AIT. I attended my school Aircraft structural maintenance for two weeks only to be pulled out of class because I could no longer stand on my leg. I was on a profile from the time of my fall until the day before I was involuntarily seperated from Active duty due to my inability to complete my job due to my injuries I sustained while on active duty. I served in the Air Force just shy of 6 months. So now I have an Entry Level seperation that is considered uncharaterized. I was not medically discharged nor can I go to the VA for my knee injury that supposibly fully healed although I can’t even put any pressure on my knee without feeling pain. I have learned that the military is tough on injured soilders and the Air Force is quick to throw you away if they feel you do not meet physical standards. In my case I feel I have been denied a right to serve my country. I do not have a criminal record nor have I had any medical problems until my injury occured on active duty. I am in the process of filing a VA claim (which could take up to 2 years to be accepted) for disability because the VA will not see me for my injuries until I am service connected. The VA has a right to deny my claim. At which time, in the unfortunate event they deny my claim, I am worried that I will be unqualified to enlist into any branch of the service for medical reasons. Right now I am paying out of my pocket for an MRI (the cost is $5,000.00 without insurance since I am no longer in the military) to figure out why my back is steadily going numb and what I can do to salvage my health. I am in the process of talking to an Air Force Reserve recruiter about enlisting into the reserves. However, I have had to put all of my paperwork on hold until I figure out what the results are for my MRI. There has been cases (although they are rare) where people have been accepted for their disability claims and also serve in the reserves. All I want is to get my health evaluated and fixed and I want to enlist back into Active duty or the reserves. I don’t want anything I do not deserve. I do not want a hand out or pity. I want what I have worked for, nothing more and nothing less. I was broke by the Air Force and I deserve to be fixed by them. My ultimate question is, yes finally , can you enlist into the Air Force if you have any pre existing injuries that occured, and are still aggravated, by serving Active duty Air Force? Also, can you enlist if your seperation was due to an Entry Level Seperation which was characterized as Uncharacterized? Any information would be very informative. Thank you for your time.

    11Nov06
    Chastain, Sarah A.

  41. Rhonda Says:

    My son just found out today that he was disqualified from the Coast Guard because he was prescribed an inhaler for bronchitis 3 months ago. He’s never used one before and never had bronchitis before this. No other medical problems and healthy as can be. He passed the drug test and all. This just does not make any sense to me. He really had his heart set on this and is very disappointed. Can anyone explain the reasoning behind this if there is any?

  42. Vernon O'Neil Says:

    As a former recruiter let me help you out. I had a young lady that had a similar problem. The process is rather lengthy and a little complicated. The request for a medical waiver needs to be completed. The process is that first all medical documentation needs to be submitted, the next is a, if I remember correctly, is a methachlorine test. This test is used to assess asthma. The next step is to then get a recruiter to take the time to complete the packet, (physical, ASVAB and all supporting documents). It is up to the Military Entrance Processing Station and the particular branch to see if the individual can qualify. The reasons for disqualification are many. With the CG, there may be fuels or chemicals used aboard ship or riot control agents that can spark an attack. This can cause mission failure and be harmful to the individual as well. The CG is just one service, each service has its own particular medical requirments and standards. Good Luck

  43. Vernon O'Neil Says:

    All of the comments are interesting. There are those that wish the USA did not have a military, and those that deny any issues with the military and finally those that wish to serve.
    I do not try to quote statistics or “facts” based on statistics. The best post and most accurate was from the Army Airborne Sniper.
    I spent time as a recruiter, team leader, squad leader, platoon sergeant, as well as a number of positions in between. I have worked with privates that have four year degrees and those with GEDs. The Army and all services are a mix of and represent the diversity of the United States of America. The problems we have are similar to any corporation of the same number of individuals. When individuals try to quote statistics and numbers of problems the Army has, they need to look and compare them with major companies like Microsoft, Boeing, K-Mart, Walmart, Kroger, ATT&T, BurgerKing and any other company. They will find that each has its issues. The United States of America is the land of the second chance. I cannot believe that IRR Soldier never did anything in his or her life that did not warrant a request for a second chance. Yes, statistics will show that there is a higher number of problems with Soldiers that come in with previous issues. However, if even on out of a hundred or one out of a thousand improves or changes for the better, it is worth it. We have countless other issues in this Nation that probably deserve more attention.
    The question of Recruiters on High Schools or Colleges is simple. The Government offers jobs. Private industry offers jobs. If you provide access to a school for the purpose of recruiting, it should be fair and equal. Is the Army more predatory than private industry? I would say that the military is more villified on this issue than is truly deserved. My own father was recruited by private industry with the tactic of “hey how about we pay you twice your salary to come work for us”, he did not know that where he would be working had a three times the cost of living than where he was. My father was also heavily recruited by what he called “head hunters”. Big business has predatory recruiters as well. You just do not hear about them. I think open discussion on these matters is important and this web page is a vital link to those that wish to express individual opinions.

  44. KAREN Says:

    My son was in the military and he made some misstakes but he want to go in the air force and if anyone can tell him how to go by upgrading his records please e-mail me I’m his mother are you can send the information to Jerome at 2411 Willowood.Lane Alexandria La 71301.

  45. PFC Strand Says:

    I have looked through the posts and have felt disgusted at some of the people on here who have had the honor of being apart of the most honorable thing in the world. If you are sitting here and complaining about the government and how lame, stupid, or wrong the government is, you should be ASHAMED of yourself for acting so. Quick question, if you disliked it so much then why would you stay for so long? Most enlistments are 3 years, if you don’t like it then don’t re-up. Why is it that you are on an anti-military website? Had you not served my country, I would spit on you. But you know what, I have honor and respect for you.

    And for the anti-military civilians; Guess what, I am enlisting to keep people from other countries who want to make your life a shit-hole, who want to take away the freedoms you take for granted every day. People who don’t give a flying fudge about you because you would be nothing but another body. I saw a post that talked about getting rid of the military and leave INS, Border Patrol, Coast Guard…. Hahahahahahahahahaha sorry but you are an idiot. Guess who would win between those organizations and a trained army hellbent on taking over America…. Shut up.

    Alright, I’m off my soapbox for now. I have seen people who have questions about eligibility. A lot of people on here are trying to keep you from enlisting. Call your local recruiter, they know everything and will do the best they can to help you out.

    And for the original topic. I am enlisting as a 31B, military police. If the Army wants to allow felons in, go ahead. I have faith in a lot of them. They fuck up, then I will do my job and seperate them from the Army. That easy.

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  47. collin Says:

    i just got denied by the usmc for having 3 felonys and the army denied me aswell if anyone can help me get into the service please contact me😦 because i don’t know what to do with my life 9mm to the head looks kinda good right now

  48. mark Says:

    i joined the army in january of 2005 as an e-1…i was given 4 waivers…1 for the use of fireworks within city limits, 3 for minor in possession of alcohol, and 1 for possession of marijuana…some people may say wow this guy has no place serving in the military he brings shame upon the uniform…other people might say this guy did stupid shit when he was a kid and wanted to grow up and serve his country… i am now e-4 promotable and havent gotten into trouble since ive been in…not one negative counseling statement…the bar wasnt lowered for me…i did everything that everybody else did who came in without waivers…i am serving in iraq now in the infantry and love my job…wouldnt trade it for the world…

  49. Laura Says:

    In america it is a country where our ancesters came for better opportunities. By excluding these people who have felonies we are only creating more stuggles and the same cycle will proably repeat itself due to them not being able to work anywhere besides the local mcdonnels. I know it is hard for people to accept and understand that people make mistakes, i am sure the army makes good judgements and gives people a good advantage. If there is anybody who needs the arm past criminals could benefit 10 fold. Those sergants will whip their butts in shape, and people who were once criminals and made a mistake can now stand on the other side of the fence. America was set on dreams let thses people have a peace of theirs let them make up to society what they have done wrong. thank you for reading this! Please support our troops and the judgements of our armed services!

  50. Christina Says:

    My husband has several felonies. None of them are violent or drug related. They all happened in a 2 year period. We were both young and crazy. It happens. I’d be willing to bet most of the people on here that are degrading people like us have done some of the same stuff he did at age 19 or 20 and just didn’t get caught. So don’t act like your better than anyone on this page. It disgusts me. Laura is right. It’s a cycle that continues. He has a hard time finding a job to support us(i’m a stay at home mom to 3 kids) and I just don’t understand how they expect people to “rehabilitate” when the noose is always so tight on the regulations. He wants to serve our country and make an honest living supporting his family and I don’t think that’s too much for any man to ask. It’s ridiculous.

  51. mike mendez Says:

    i want to go to the army i want to make myself into something
    i need help please im going to court for pessesion i rather be in the army
    i wanna make my family proud and make a man of my self my father was never there for me hes a coward im not i wanna be something on life
    please grant me this wish im 20 im tired of bad things in life

  52. AC Says:

    This makes me sick! I have been physically and mentally abused by my ex boyfriend and currently have a temp restraining order against him. Although he has never murdered anyone, he does have a record. I found out I was pregnant after getting the restraining order, which through things off even further. The detective that is handling the case doesn’t want to do anything (even though he violated the restraining order) because my ex boyfriend is going into the army in two months! I guess the law isn’t on my side. I’ve decided to drop the restraining order because of this terrible system. I just don’t understand how someone can be admitted into the army after abusing their girlfriend and other violations. You are just putting someone who has mental and anger problems into an environment where they are able to hurt people. Is something off here or is it just me? Now, he will just get praised for continuing his distructive behavior and it will be a never ending process. I’m currently at Harvard and I really want to write a book about this BS. It’s shocking that people wonder why there are so many mass shootings and missing people. Because of this! Once he gets out of the army, who knows what level he will be on. This not only applies to my situation, but ones that are similar. I do believe in giving people second chances, but this is just cyclical suicide. I think they should have to get help first, not a one way ticket into happy town. And for those of you who are thinking “I’ve been in the army, what do you know”, I don’t know. But it is too apparent. I’m not generalizing, but this systematic process that is occuring is leaving little room for positive improvement in this generation. I’ve come to the conclusion that the system drives the system and the government (and army) is missing a sensitivity chip. Duh

  53. Sergeant Major Says:

    Wow! Shame on me for reading these blogs. What a group of self important whiners. If you disagree with the waivers it’s just too bad. Sorry, recruiters are not hunting people down with various waivers in hand. People want in.
    You don’t want the war? No problem. Look the other way. Enjoy your freedom. As a matter of fact take a trip to the Pyramids, a cruise off the coast of Africa, or a hike in the countyside of the Phillipines. Enjoy the freedom and liberties you think you have. Oh, if you happen to get nabbed up by sword swinging beheading types……. call a friend. Don’t bug Rangers, Marines, or SEALs.
    I’m sorry (truly) that Americans with felonies have such a difficult if not impossible time getting into our military. I’m assuming you’ve paid your debt to society.
    My advice for folks with former legal problems. Try the Army and USMC. If the Active Duty folks turn you down don’t quit too easily. Try the Reserves and National Guard. If that doesn’t work ask neighboring states National Guard. That could work too.
    If none of those tactics work and you REALLY want to serve in a military unit……..consider the FFL (French Foreign Legion) They’ll take you, train you, grant you citizenship, and teach you to speak French. How cool is that?!

  54. Sam Says:

    I will keep this short. and not type out a ten page summary of what I think or force you to read just to see my point.
    I was convicted of assessory to strong arm robbery when I was 17. tried as a adult. I dident even know the person I was with. who reached outside of my vehicle and grabed another kids necklace when I seen him do it. I got scared and drove off. I should of stoped and thrown him out. but I was green as green as you could come to the world. I had a sheltered childhood. and had never seen someone act this way. anyway when I was pulled over I told the cops everything and was charged with the crime.
    I have paid for that day of my adolescence every single day that I awake since.
    So you will have to pardon me that I think its a great thing that I am given the oppturnity to serve my country to get my record cleared. where as I am not shamed like some useless dog when I apply for a job I have graduated college to get.
    and forced to work in union construction because its the only place I am capable to make a decent living. you people it really is sickening. what someone is convicted of a crime and they are usless to society other then to build your buildings. and cook your food?
    how do you expect rehabilitation of a individual when you force them into nothing?
    sorry I am sure you will have something to defend your beliefs and by all means you should but rember that these people such as myself in some cases, who are going to fight are doing so where as you may speak freely. and voice your beliefs. so pardon me if you made a little ill when you state that they shouldent be allowed.
    Thank you all for your time.
    Mr. Samuel M. Taylor

    P.S: that is very cool about the “FFL”

  55. Alan Says:

    I went back into the Army jul01,after a 14 year break in service. I could not handle Infantry duty no longer (hell, it almost killed me when I was 18!) I went into a support job. The young soldiers were not as disciplined as were the Infantry troops I had previously served with. However, they did seem to hold up well when we rolled into Iraq mar03. Overall,I was proud of the job they did. I did my 3 and went back to fort living room.

  56. debie Says:

    My daughter is going into the Army or Navy,She just finished her
    education on line.and passed her test,Now we don’t know
    if they will except it.
    She would like to make this her career.Now we don’t know what to do

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  59. josh Says:

    If i got cought witg weed a14and got cought at 15 for having sex with my 14 year old girlfriend and got a statitiry rape charge should i still be able to get into the milatery im 18 now and have been out of trouble since it seems like tbe milatery is backing up there own peoe bit my recrooter tells me i cant join even thoe this all happend when i was 14 nd have been outa tro

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