Family Questions Ethics of National Guard Recruiting

Family Questions Ethics of National Guard Recruiting

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Jed Boal ReportingA woman who signed up for the Utah Army National Guard wanted to back out after she considered dangers of war, but the Guard said no. Was she strong-armed into service?

Army recruiting was scrutinized last week after a rash of reports that recruiters intimidated prospective soldiers who wavered on their commitment. The Army suspended recruiting last Friday to review ethical procedures. One Layton mother says the review arrived too late for her daughter. The young woman felt threatened by a local recruiter, but the Guard says it was all by the book.

Nationwide, the Army is struggling to meet recruiting goals. The Army is investigating a handful of cases of strong-armed tactics by recruiters trying to make up for the shortfall. One Layton mother says her daughter's experience is a lesson for recruiters and the recruits.

Evette Herrera's twin daughters Shae and Ember Kley visited an Army National Guard recruiter in Ogden a couple of months ago. Ember decided not to join, Shae decided to go for it.

Evette Herrera, Soldier's Mother: "At first she was excited, the glamour of it all, they'd get to jump out of planes."

She liked the idea of part-time income and a 10-thousand dollar signing incentive. But the reaction from friends and family was sobering.

Evette Herrera: "Are you kidding? They're going to war, they're out there."

Two weeks before shipping out she went to Camp Williams for a pre-boot camp training session and got a better idea of the expectations.

Ember Kley, Soldier's Sister: "Once she got a feel for it she was very scared."

Kley talked to a Navy recruiter about switching services and informed the Guard recruiter she had changed her mind. She got this voicemail in response.

Utah Army National Guard Recruiter: "My command says that if you don't ship, you don't report to basic training date, basic training is going to put a warrant out for your arrest -- a federal warrant."

So she shipped out to boot camp three weeks ago.

Evette Herrera: "She was told, be there or go to prison."

The family thought it coercive, similar to threats made by Army recruiters elsewhere. Actually, the Guard recruiter did nothing wrong. Kley passed the point of no return on her training day. Had she signed up for the Army, she would have sworn in at boot camp. The Guard recruits separately from the Army. Had Kley been threatened before swearing in the recruiter would have been out of line.

The Guard says they aim to be ethical in all recruiting.

Lt. Col. Dave Thomas, Utah Army National Guard: "What they tell you is what they mean and what's going to happen to you."

And recruits need to understand contracts are serious business once they are in force. The Guard is under orders to enforce the contracts. As for Kley, she now has a stress fracture in her heel and will have to redo boot camp next month. She may be in for the duration of her eight year agreement.

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