Tuesday, May 09, 2006 | By: Dusty Taylor

The Army is recruiting Autistic 18 year olds..are we that desperate?

Apparently we are.I want to thank Steve O. over at Bring it On! for posting this story today.I had to blog about it, if only to get it out of my head. As a parent, it upset me. As a daughter and wife of former Navy men it pissed me off.

Last year, many reports were out there regarding military recruiters abusing the rules to sign up new enlistees. The level of abuse was so bad, the Army halted recruiting for one day last May to re-instruct recruiters on legalities regarding their recruitment policies.

Well, they are at it again.

Army recruiters in Oregon signed up an autistic 18-year old. They signed him up for one of the most dangerous jobs in the Army, a scout. That means if he doesn’t get blown to bits, its ok for the rest of them to go into a situation or area. The child, and yes mentally he is still a child, has been tested by the Army and passed with flying colors…that is, if you think 43 of 99 correct answers is a passing grade. The Army will enlist adults that score as low as 31 correct answers. Is a passing grade of less than 33% acceptable in the real world?

Ummm..no.

Jared, the autistic 18 year old, told his parents he was going to enlist. They figured no way he would pass a test, not to mention the recruiters would be able to ascertain that Jared had a disability. I mean, the girls in school could figure it out pretty quickly. Jared is a good looking kid and those young chicks are always on the prowl for a “hottie”..that is until he can’t hold a decent conversation…then, they turn and walk away. The recruiters didn’t care. His mother called and asked him what he was doing. Jared told her he was taking a test, and entrance test. His mother asked to speak to the Army recruiter, Cpl. Ronan Ansley. She explained to Ansley that Jared had a disability that would never be outgrown, he was autistic. Ansley said he had one too..he had dyslexia.

Big difference between those wouldn’t you say?

So, after finding out her son had “passed” his entrance exam, Jared’s mother called the recruitment office and asked for Ansley’s superior. She spoke with Sgt. Alejandro Velasco. She again explained Jared’s disability. She advised Velasco to review Jared’s long medical history. Velasco declined stating he didn’t need to, the recruiter would take care of all that. Jared’s mother begged and pleaded with Velasco. His response was this:

"Well, Jared's an 18-year-old man. He doesn't need his mommy to make his decisions for him."

Jared’s parents contacted their local newspaper, the Oregonian. Thankfully they ran with the story. They contacted Velasco who denied knowing anything about Jared’s autism. Sgt. Velasco threw Cpl. Ansley under the bus, stating he had no knowledge of Jared’s condition and that Cpl Ansley was the man to talk to. The Oregonian also faxed Jared's medical records to the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion commander Lt. Col. David Carlton in Portland, who on Wednesday ordered an investigation. Jared’s parents are still waiting to hear if he will be released from his commitment to join the Army.

If you think this kind of behavior by our military recruiters is unusual, its not.

There are plenty of articles online about the Army’s enlistment tactics. Check out this one here. It’s the story of an honor student who told an Army recruiter that he flunked out of high school and had a marijuana habit he couldn’t kick. The recruiter told him how to get a fake diploma and took him to a store and picked out a masking agent for his urine test. Read the Ohio story of recruiters enlisting a 21 year old bi-polar man that had recently been released from a psych ward. I love the Houston story about a recruiter telling someone that a warrant would be issued for his arrest if he didn’t attend a meeting. The male wasn’t signed up, he was merely THINKING about it. There are many more..I am just too sick to my stomach to link them all at this point. The best part is yet to come however on the Houston story.

The Houston recruiter who threatened the interested male with an arrest warrant has been..drumroll please..promoted. The Army just loves those gun-ho types.

Don’t you?

8 people gave us their .02 cents:

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should give citizenship to illegals if they join the military. That would help two issues.

black dog said...

The Jared story is a total outrage!

dusty said...

Anon..how would it help both issues?

I know BD..its disgusting on every level.

Bruce said...

That's akin to me enlisting and becoming a bomb technician. Jesus...

CoffeeBigPlz said...

hmmm. What is next?
I know! I have discalculea (numeric dyslexia) so perhaps they will recruit me to balance the federal budget!

S. R. said...

I wouldn't be surprised if those army recruiters didn't even know what autism was, or that it existed.

Seriously.

jagular said...

Maybe we should put illegal aliens to work on building that wall. That would solve two issues.

I would love to make some sort of witty comment about the deplorable tactics used by army (or other military) recruiters. But I won't. There are many people in the military who are very honorable, and I don't want to denegrate them in the process.

But as far as the specific behaviors that you have listed. Wow. It really kind of leaves you thinking.

dusty said...

As I said I am a daughter and wife of former military men.My dad was a "lifer". I know alot more about the military than most civilians. I have lived within their bases for most of my childhood.

I am appalled at their tactics used to enlist very young males. I feel it smacks of underhandedness and it reminds me of bill collectors..which I did for over 14 years btw. Not every guy that works in the enlistment field is a bonafide asshat..but those that are make them all suspect..and thats so fucked up.