- The Washington Times - Friday, February 23, 2007

BALTIMORE — The officer in charge of recruiting for the Maryland Army National Guard has been relieved of his command and a recruiter is being kicked out after an investigation revealed “significant improprieties,” the Guard said yesterday.

Eleven soldiers were disciplined as a result of the probe, which uncovered at least two cases in which recruiters enlisted people despite knowing they were not qualified for service.

The Guard also will change its policies as a result of the investigation, putting an end to extended assignments in the recruiting battalion, said 1st Lt. Wayde Minami, a Guard spokesman.

“Previously, people could literally spend almost their entire careers in the recruiting-and-retention battalion if they were successful recruiters,” Lt. Minami said. “Now, the tours are going to be limited in length.”

Lt. Minami said he was unsure about the limits but that recruiting assignments could still last several years because recruiters need time to learn their territory and build relationships.

The investigation also found two cases of fraternization between officers and enlisted soldiers. And it found that several soldiers in the recruiting battalion misused government resources by goofing off when they were supposed to be getting training away from their usual posts.

“They were apparently out recreating,” Lt. Minami said. “The government paid for that.”

The Guard did not disclose the names of those disciplined because the actions were administrative. Nobody was charged with a crime, Lt. Minami said.

The disciplinary action against the soldiers included reduction in rank, reassignment out of the recruiting field and letters of reprimand.

Three of those disciplined were commissioned officers, including two who had a rank of major or above. Of the enlisted soldiers, five were senior noncommissioned officers. One of the five is the one who will be discharged, Lt. Minami said.

“We take our relationship with the community extremely seriously and feel strongly that the actions of a few do not reflect the hard work and professionalism of the thousands of men and women that make up the Maryland Army National Guard,” said Col. Grant Hayden, acting assistant adjutant general for the Guard.

The investigation began in early December after an article in the Baltimore City Paper detailed charges of misconduct.

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