Irving Gonzalez signed a non-binding contract with the Army that allowed him to back out of joining the military at any time before appearing for boot camp. However, Army recruiter Sgt. Glenn Marquette was not going to lose a sale to a little act of free will, so he lied to the teenager — threatening jail time if he didn’t show up. The Army responded quickly. They reprimanded Marquette and then later quietly promoted him.
It is perhaps a measure of how desperate the Army has become to fill the ranks during a war that taxed the military to the breaking down. Recruiters get bonuses for bodies and the pressure to make the quota is clearly considerable.
CBS got the whole thing on tape as the teen called to tell Marquette, “I’d rather just stay here, Go to college.” Marquette responded by saying “Then guess what, you’re AWOL. Absent without leave.” He warned “As soon as you get pulled over for a speeding ticket, they’re gonna see you’re a deserter. They’re gonna apprehend you, take you to jail. So guess what, all that lovey-dovey ‘I wanna go to college’ and all that? Guess what? You just threw it out the window ’cause you just screwed your life.”
CBS interviewed seventeen-year-old Eric Martinez who says he was given the same treatment and threatened with jail if he opted to stay home.
Marquette could end up like Sgt. Thomas Kelt . . . if he is lucky. Kelt was from this very same station and was nailed just three years ago for calling and threatening teens at home. So what happened to Kelt? Pealing potatoes in Alaska? Not exactly, he promoted him and put him in charge of another Army recruiting station.
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