Military Recruiters Plied Youths with Drugs, Alcohol, Fake Diplomas

At a time when high unemployment and high college costs compel more youths to consider military enlistment, a new federal report raises warnings about the tactics of some military recruiters.

Under pressure to meet their monthly quotas, some recruiters created fake high school diplomas for youths, hid the youths’ criminal records, failed to get parental signatures for their applications and helped some recruits cheat on their military aptitude tests, according to a the Government Accountability Office report on “recruiter irregularities” from 2006 through 2008. Other recruiters plied underage youths with drugs and alcohol and hounded them for sex.

“Of the 7,081 cases of recruiter irregularities reported by the service components during this time period,” the report says, “substantiated cases comprised 22.5 percent (or 1,592 cases).”

The punishments handed out by the Department of Defense included admonishment,  court-martial and “other than honorable discharge.”

Rick Jahnkow, program coordinator for the Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities –  which opposes military recruitment in schools – said the report should be required reading for school officials. “It will provide them with a reality check on what could be going on in their high schools, where recruiters are often allowed to wander unrestricted through lunch areas and hallways,” Jahnkow said.

The most common infraction involved “concealment or falsification of documents or information” in order to get recruits enlisted despite their checkered pasts or educational shortcomings. Examples include an Air Force recruiter omitting a DUI violation from an applicant’s application packet, and a Marine Corps recruiter attempting to have a recent recruit take the ASVAB for another applicant.

Other irregularities involved sex and drugs, such as a recruiter for the U.S. Marines impregnating a 17-year-old girl at the high school where he was assigned to recruit.

The report calls for the Department of Defense to do more to share data on recruiter wrongdoing in order to learn more about how to address the problem. In a written response to the report, the department said it “concurs with the report’s recommendations.”

The report was prepared for U.S. Rep. Susan A. Davis (D-Calif.), whose congressional district includes a large military base in San Diego, and U.S. Rep Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), whose district includes several military bases. Davis is the chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Military Personnel. Wilson, perhaps best known for shouting “You lie!” to President Obama during a presidential speech to Congress last year, is its ranking member.



Youth Today is the only independent, internationally distributed digital media publication that is read by thousands of professionals in the youth service field.

Youth Today adheres to high-quality journalistic standards, providing readers with professional news coverage dedicated to examining a wide spectrum of complex issues in the youth services industry from legislation to community-based youth work.


Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue.


We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization. Donors may be quoted, mentioned or featured in our stories. Our news judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors. Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions…(read more)



Recent Comments

Kennesaw State University Mountain Logo & Ceneter for Sustainable Journalism Logo
LOGO Institute for Nonprofit News 3 turquoise boxes stacked in "J" shape

Copyright © 2018 Youth Today and MVP Themes --- Published by Center for Sustainable Journalism,
Kennesaw State University, 1200 Chastain Blvd. Suite 310, Kennesaw GA 30144

To Top