Thursday, November 01, 2007

Test Fraud at Local Marine Recruiting Depots

I suppose this was bound to happen.

A probe was begun last April at downtown Houston’s Military Entrance Processing Station when it was noticed that signatures on ASVAB tests did not match the signatures on the same soldiers’ enlistment forms.

It became obvious that stand-in test takers were being used in order to guarantee that Marine recruits would pass this critical test. Not only is the ASVAB test used as a vehicle to determine whether a recruit is actually accepted into the Marines, a military corps that is one of the most, if not THE most difficult club to join, but it also determines the recruits’ strengths. In the latter case the test is used to make decisions on where and in what capacity the soldier serves – although let there be no doubt, “the where” is Iraq.

This was bound to happen because we are running out of individuals who are willing to join the military during a time of war. During a time when soldiers are sent into the field for a longer tour than ever before, a tour that is actually shorter in duration than their interval of rest and training back in the US. During a time when soldiers, who think they are going home after their final tour, are “stop-lossed” back to Iraq.

It is increasingly becoming the case that qualified individuals are opting out of military service. Individuals with fewer choices in life are opting in, but face challenges in jumping over a fairly high bar.

Recruiters have always been aggressive. Always. But these acts of deception really do more damage than they do good. When we recruit below par soldiers to a military organization known for its excellence, we water down the overall effectiveness of the corps as a whole. Grunts in the Corps will tell you that they joined the best military organization in the nation because they wanted the person next to him to be the best, the highest quality fighter that he can trust to pull him out of trouble if it comes. If that is becoming no longer the case, it spells disaster for our elite military units.

So far they are saying that this is a local isolated occurrence. Where it doesn’t help is the fact that this local isolated occurrence occurred in four separate locations around Houston: Memorial City, Lake Jackson, Baybrook, and Houston. It’s possible that they knew each other and colluded. I hope so, because if this is not the case, then I fear we are witnessing the tip of the iceberg.

And if this gets back to the troops in the field, and you know it has, how are they going to regard the new recruits in their units?

1 comment:

Aoibhann said...

Unfortunately, this isn't surprising at all. What is surprising is that it is the Marines. The Army has even been known to recruit out of juvenile jail units and having their criminal records "lost". But these days Marine recruiters are under such incredible pressure for numbers and most of the recruiters were forced to take those positions that no sane person would want.