Crushing demands of job lead some Air Force recruiters to falsify reports | Air Force Times |

Air Force recruiting is plagued by a longstanding epidemic of falsifying records, according to multiple recruiters around the country.

And some recruiting supervisors tacitly encourage overworked and undermanned recruiters to falsify their reports — a practice commonly known as pencil-whipping — as a way to keep up with requirements that leave recruiters working brutally long hours, eight current and former recruiters said in interviews with Air Force Times.

Recruiters who don’t cut corners and try to do everything by the book said they are chewed out for not getting everything done and their performance evaluations and chances for promotion suffer. They also said they’re stretched so thin, they suffer from physical and mental problems. Several said they developed high blood pressure, hypertension, heart problems, depression and other medical conditions after becoming recruiters. Some recruiters’ home lives suffer because they’re away from home so much and are so stressed. One recruiter, who asked that his name not be printed, said he nearly attempted suicide earlier this year because he was so stressed from the pressures of recruitment.

via Crushing demands of job lead some Air Force recruiters to falsify reports | Air Force Times |

Lemme tell you ’bout a common corner cut.

Kid comes in and agrees to join the service. The recruiter prescreens the candidate for health issues to ensure he meets the minimum requirements, or to find any issues that do need to be addressed such as medical records.

In addition to the usual stuff like broken bones, a common scenario was this- out of the blue, the kid blurts out that he had childhood asthma.

Well, you ask him, who told you that you had childhood asthma?

My grandma…

OK, where did your grandma go to medical school?

I mean, did your doctor tell her, or what? Is there someplace, some medical record we can find, that shows that yes, you did receive a diagnosis of childhood asthma? The course of treatment for it?

No? Your grandma just said it?

If you DO send a candidate to the MEPS who claims childhood asthma, but has no documentation to support the diagnosis, let alone show that he or she no longer has it, there is an excellent chance the doctor will simply classify them as not fit, no waiver. At best, they’ll send the candidate out for a pulmonary consult. Mind you, it’s a crap shoot. As a recruiter, I couldn’t ask for a pulmonary consult beforehand. So, here’s a kid with no documented history of respiratory distress, never to his recollection medicated for “asthma” and with no way to prove a negative about his condition.

It’s not a big surprise then that a recruiter would tell the candidate “Look, I’m not gonna be there with you and the doctor. You tell him what you want.”

The most grueling part of being a recruiter is that it IS grueling. It never stops. No one in your chain of command cares what you did last month, or in the preceding 24 months. What did you do this month? In a line company, you might have a operational tempo that is very stressful for a few months, a year, maybe  a year and a half. But eventually you’ll hit a part of the cycle where you do have some breathing space, and where you’ll get to go home at a reasonable hour and see your wife, attend your kids ball games and school play.

And some people thrive in the sales environment. It comes to them naturally. Anyone can be trained to be a reasonably successful recruiter. But not everyone has the temperament to enjoy the duty. They’ll put their head down, and power through, because that’s the job. But they’ll also go back to their real Army job as soon as they can.


11 thoughts on “Crushing demands of job lead some Air Force recruiters to falsify reports | Air Force Times |”

  1. Funny, but I don’t remember recruiters being stressed in ’68. Not much sympathy here. Maybe a stop at the local learning centers for some business sales courses might reduce the stress.

  2. Some areas are definitely easier for recruiters than others. Three months ago, I was checking out my hometown newspaper and they had the usual photo spread of the about-to-graduate high school seniors and what they were planning to do after high school graduation. I kid you not, about a quarter of the entire class was either enlisting, getting an ROTC scholarship or, in two cases, attending a military college like VMI or the Citadel.

    Being a remote area in Western NC, Clay County is one of those rare places in the US where the local recruiter gets a lot of help from the local families who actively encourage their kids to serve in uniform. However, I fear that places like Clay County are slowly but surely being warped by modern culture and will eventually (hopefully after I’m dead and gone) be just like Berkley, CA or Madison, WI….

    1. My high school town had a similar tradition – small graduating class and a couple of us in NROTC (one recently made General – damn successful career if you can pull that off!) and a couple enlisted in the Army out of High School

      This was early 80’s.

      And we also had one of our classmates denied entry into the Army. Not a good fit for the Army. So even back then they were turning away people.

  3. Xbradtc your point is/was a given. Then there is the VOLAR of the ’70’s up to and including the large enlistments post 9/11. It’s all ebb and flow with the common denominator being recruiters.

  4. As a drill, I cussed recruiters for the crap they sent me. Then I went on recruiting duty and realized it wasn’t their fault. If a walking rock or fence post came in and wanted to join I had to process them. No Shit– had a BS graduate from Rutgers Univ come in and score a “4” on the ASVAB. Physically threw him out of the office. Sometimes the rocks passed and became “crap down range”. Recruiting was more stressful than drill sgt duty, hero at the end of the month, dog at the first of next month.

  5. Y’all make me soooo glad ( I’m glad, I’m glad, I’m glad ) that I did my basic training in the USAF. When I later joined the ARNG, they said that I was good to go. Three weeks of playing with the Army at jump school just confirmed my belief that I had made the correct move.


  6. Paul….please elaborate on what 3 weeks at BAC (Basic Airborne Course) means to you…I believe I know what you mean but want to be clear.

    1. The Army treated the students in BAC ( most of whom were fresh from basic and AIT ) like basic trainees. At two and half years time in service, I had the third most time in service in my student company. I neither needed nor enjoyed the cs that was freely handed out by the non-BAC people. The school cadre were outstanding and I enjoyed their training very much.

      One example of the cs was that I was gigged for not having my belt buckle polished. The Air Force belt buckle is not supposed to be polished.

      As I have a very strong dislike of heights, I am very proud of having completed BAC. By the way, thank you for letting me know the acronym. I had either forgotten it or never knew it. I was helping adjust the altitude of the state of Georgia in the fall of 1967. Another side note, as I recall, my helmet number was 173. Caught some minor flak over that.

      I hope this provides you the information you wanted.


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