Hardball Recruiter Gets Promoted

CBS News Correspondent Lee Cowan updates for CBSNews.com a recent story about an Army recruiter accused of questionable tactics.


An Army recruiter accused of lying to young would-be soldiers to meet recruitment goals – has not been disciplined as the Army promised. Instead, he's been promoted, reports CBS News Correspondent Lee Cowan.

Sgt. Thomas Kelt – the Houston soldier that caused a nation wide stand-down of recruiting offices after it was discovered he had threatened a young man with jail – was tracked down by Mark Greenblatt of CBS's KHOU-TV.

Turns out even though he violated the Army's strict recruitment guidelines -- and officials promised swift corrective action – Kelt has instead been transferred to another recruiting office where he has been promoted to supervisor.

The Army says he's the perfect person to be in charge of other recruiters since he experienced first hand what happens when ethics rules are broken.

The Army says it prosecuted 325 cases of recruiter fraud last year. Thirty-five of those were relieved of duty, hundreds more were given reprimands. But as the war in Iraq continues, and the casualties mount, Army enlistments are now about 16 percent behind current goals.

The young man who was threatened by Kelt is disappointed and says the Army's reaction to the problem is an indication it really doesn't' care about how it gets recruits into the army – as long as the enlistment quotas continue to be met.

In May, CBS News Correspondent Bob McNamara reported that the Army planned to halt recruiting for one day to re-instruct its recruiters on what they may and may not legally do to persuade young people to enlist. The retraining "stand-down" occurred on May 20.

As McNamara reported in May, "Going Army" and making history appealed to 20-year-old Chris Monarch, so he called a Houston recruiting office.

"I recognized the name," he said. "His name was Kelt."

Sgt. Thomas Kelt was the recruiter.

But a new baby changed Monarch's plan to enlist and he cancelled his meeting with the recruiter.

"I said I'm a volunteer firefighter and eventually gonna try to go career with it and I'm just not interested anymore and I hung up the phone," Monarch said.

But the recruiter wouldn't take no for an answer -- with a threatening Monarch with arrest if he didn't show.

"By federal law you got an appointment with me at two o'clock this afternoon at Greenspoint Mall." said Kelt. "OK, you fail to appear and we'll have a warrant, OK? So give me a call back."

  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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