Uncle Sam Wants You, or Else: Media Catches Military Recruiter Lying and Threatening Teenager

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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21 thoughts on “Uncle Sam Wants You, or Else: Media Catches Military Recruiter Lying and Threatening Teenager”

  1. Tex Watson doesn’t have a younger sister. Do your research before trying to defame anyone. I know because his only sister is my aunt, and she is the oldest sibling.

  2. I joined after the Vietnam War but before the Women’s Army Corp was disbanded and joined in with the regular Army. My recruiter promised me an air conditioned 9-5 job and working only on Mondays through Friday. It sounded like a dream come true.I only learned after I left home that the recruiter(s) lied to me and everyone else. Do you remember the Charlie Manson murders? In his group was a guy called Tex Watson. His younger sister ended up in basic training with me. And she was insane. Her recruiter knew she was insane. It only came to a head when we had to go to the shooting range. Ms.Scary Watson said matter of factly that if she went to the range – she was going to kill us all. The drill sergeants took her seriously and did not allow her on the range until she was investigated. They found that she had a known history of mental illness – which the recruiter erased/ignored etc. This was the first and only time I have seen the US military act against a recruiter that lied and falsified records. They told us he was kicked out of the military.

  3. I’m sure they’ll have a great curriculum that will prepare students for university and a good future

  4. Let me give you some help on what to tell the parents who now outlive their only child, the widows and widowers who have no one to turn to for comfort, the single moms and dads who will have to sleep with their children to comfort them when their nightmares wake them screaming for their mommies or daddies – you tell them they died for freedom, democracy, Haliburton, Blackwater, oil or whatever you think will replace their loss. If you can still look in a mirror when you’re done, maybe you can find a translator and mail the same excuses to grieving Iraqis, I understand some of those people are in the same position and also may need some comfort.

  5. Mike,

    Thank you for your service to our country. The problem that people are having is with recruiters who actively lie to the kids they’re trying to recruit. I come from a family with a history of service, so I know how much pride people take in their service and branch of the military that they served in. I also know how mad they get about anything that tarnishes that branch’s reputation. I personally can’t see how lying to teenagers does anything but hurt the reputation of the Army.

    Having enough people volunteer to maintain standing Armed Services says something important about the people of this country and this kind of recruitment tactics just cheapens that.

  6. Tell that to the poor idiots that joined the National Guard thinking that they’d help around their State and ended up amputees or disabled in Iraq or being asked to murder innocent people. And tell that to the parents, spouses and children of the corpses that came back in pieces in a coffin. They “gave” their lives, what did their families “get”?

  7. I enlisted in the United States Army October 1, 1984, as a cannon crewman. The recruiter said the military would pay off my outstanding student loans and provide me with a $5,000 enlistment bonus upon completion of training. The Army did both. I re-enlisted and requested training for the military occupational training of 46Q – public affairs specialist – and a duty station in the continental United States. The Army honored that. When Kuwait was invaded in August 1990, I asked to be transferred to a unit in support of Operation Desert Shield. That request was also granted. After serving through Operation Desert Storm, I was sent back to the United States in March 1991, and was granted an honorable discharge in November 1992.
    We are taking about the United States military here – not social services. You get what you give.

  8. rafflaw,

    That is good news except for how he votes–HA! I am hoping the same as you and your wife for your son. More Training Sir!!!


  9. Bartlebee,
    I saw some of that show last night. It was a little scary.
    Jill, My brother served in Vietnam, but he was not killed there. I hope I didn’t give the wrong impression. He is alive and well, even if he does vote Republican! You are right about the hard sell that the services do with the kids. The video games seem to be an especially interesting way to get them thinking of the armed service. My son joined the Marines after college and he had been talking to a recruiter, on and off, for a few years. But when they are that age, they make their own decisions and so far he enjoys being a Marine. We are proud of him, but it is a little scary when we read of Marines getting killed. Now that he has graduated from Officer Candidate School he is in his next level of training which is called, The Basic School. That ends in October and then he would find out where his next duty station is. His Mom and I are hoping for a nice safe, stateside location, for some more safe training. I don’t know if the Marines will cooperate with our wishes though.

  10. Theres this show on HBO I saw last night, called “Recruiter”. It was like a movie about this recruiter trying to recruit teenagers.

    In all truth, it was like watching a Vacuum cleaner salesmen working a housewife.

  11. rafflaw,

    I am an idiot. I am so sorry about the loss of your brother. That must be painful, even now.


  12. rafflaw,

    You liar. There were not armies at that time, there were legions.

    I didn’t realize that happened during Vietnam. It makes sense, as they were desperate for bodies then also. I agree, if people are given the truth so they can make a real decision then I don’t have a problem with recruiters. I feel military service is, or at least can be honorable, depending on the person.

    “No child left untested” gives them the “right” to collect all that data and they should not be able to do that. There is no legal “opt out” option for the data collection.

    Recruitment in Toledo is intense due lack of jobs. They hit the high schools in the poorer areas much more heavily than the suburbs. They spend about $16,000 per head. They took a naive reporter from our newspaper to “bootcamp”. Of course he came back with a glowing review of his not to realistic experience. So they hit the schools, the paper, and bring the hum-vees to homecoming and the climbing walls to public events for young children. None of this is acceptable to me.

    I’m glad you knew your rights and could make a real choice.


  13. They’ll be recruiting at the prisons, halfway houses and reform schools next as they’ve been accepting felons and high school dropouts.

  14. Jill,
    I had similar experiences with recruiters way back in the 1970’s. And before anyone asks, yes, they did have armies that long ago. I had been hounded by recruiters while I was in college because I had already gone through the physical due to an administrative error in the processing of my student deferment. I was in the first lottery pool when they started using that to draft people into the army and my number was 230 ish. After taking the physical, I and my mother kept getting calls from recruiters suggesting that since my draft lottery number was 130, I would be drafted very soon and it would make sense to enlist. Of course, when I onformed one recruiter that my number was 230 he told me I was wrong and that I better run right down there and enlist. Now, I have no problem with the recruiters when they don’t harass people and when they tell the truth. When they lie to myself and to my mother, who already had a son in Vietnam at the time, that is where I draw the line. If only caller ID had been invented then, we could have avoided the calls.
    The bottom line is that when the Army promotes these abusive and dishonest recruiters, it does a disservice to the kids and to the Armed Forces as a whole. If you can’t sell the benefits of enlisting honestly, get in a different line of work.

  15. This has been going on even before they got this desperate. The things many recruiters do are unconscionable. They have invaded our schools. The recruitment bible says, “school ownership is the goal” and they mean it. Most parents don’t understand there’s an opt-out letter for being contacted by the miliatary. However, in real ways, this is meaningless. The army has contracted out for an exhaustive data base on each and every student. Last I checked they had over 400 data points per child. They use this to, in part, refine their pitch. For example, if a child has only one parent who is struggling to support them, they will tell her joining the army is a way to stop being a burden on your parent. Their techniques are psycologically refined and completely unscrupulous.

  16. Why put up with all this nonsense? Just bring back the draft. You’ll need it for Iran. To make it workable, just guarantee exemptions for the rich and kids of important people like campaign contributors.

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