Army Recruiter Used Scare Tactics

From NASCAR to bull riding, Army recruiters are pulling out all the stops and have had remarkable success meeting their quotas despite two wars. But one recruiter was caught in a tape-recorded phone call doing it with threats, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin.

As CBS affiliate KHOU in Houston first reported, Irving Gonzalez signed a non-binding contract that left him free to change his mind about joining the Army up to the moment he reported for basic training - which is exactly what he did.

"I'd rather just stay here," he said. "Go to college."

But listen to what his recruiter, Sgt. Glenn Marquette, told him would happen.

"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," Marquette said on tape.

"Then guess what, you're AWOL. Absent without leave," Marquette said.

Not only is none of that true, but it also violates regulations that prohibit the threatening of potential recruits.

Seventeen-year-old Eric Martinez says he was told the same thing when he changed his mind.

"You can go to jail, put out a warrant for you and spend your time in jail instead of in the Army," he said they told him.

Marquette has been suspended from recruiting pending an investigation and both young men have been told they are free to get on with their lives. But this is not the first time this particular recruiting station has been caught using unethical tactics.

Three years ago, KHOU overheard Sgt. Thomas Kelt leaving a threatening voice mail for a young man who wanted to cancel an appointment he'd made to meet with him.

It said: "you fail to appear and we'll have a warrant."

Kelt did receive a reprimand, but he has since been promoted and put in charge of another Army recruiting station.
  • David Martin

    David Martin is CBS News' National Security Correspondent.

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