I wish I was writin' a fiction novel...Unfortunately, these are testimonials from real people...Read on...

Date: Tuesday, July 07, 1998
From: XXX@aol.com
Subject: Just a note to you...
   I know I spoke to you this weekend.  I just thought I should followup for your website.  I was the email in Jan that said I was relieved and told to recruit after relieved, etc.  Anyway, I was brought up to Grand Forks to a special court martial for the following specifications:

1. Disobeying a lawful order from my flight supervisor to not go to another AFRO.
2. Disobeying a lawful order from my first sergeant to have no contact with our orderly room NCO.
3. Using a GOV for personal use.
4. Using a GOV for unofficial use (goes with spec 1).
5. Unofficial phone calls up to about $30.
6. Putting an improper leave address on my leave form.

    These had terms like, "Willful neglect", "Fraudulantly obtaining services from AT&T", etc. to make it sound like I was on the FBI's most wanted. Really a sad situation. I was in the same squadron as you so you know the deal.

    As to spec 1: No lawful order was given and the flight secretary wrote a statement to that effect. (She later was coerced to say that she "may have not been listening when the order was given." That's alright. This was the same person who would do the "Pampered Chef" business from the office using the phone, computer, and copy machine. She also had the local radio station on her speed dial to win contests. Of course she won many. She would also take the GOV when needed to her home when her car broke down. My attorneys wanted her on the stand.)

    As to spec 2: The first sergeant did not have the power to issue such an order, and there was no reason for such an order to be given. There wasn't any hanky panky, no sexual harrassment, no integrity problems.  The NCOIC of the orderly room was just the one person in the 342 RCS that actually seemed to care about my well being to the point that when I was told to recruit after I was medically relieved, she elevated it to the right people to have that order stopped.
*** Airminder's comment - It should be noted that the NCOIC of the orderly room is the equivalent of MPF on a normal base.  All things normally dealt with at MPF on base would be done through the orderly room NCOIC.  "Have no contact with this person" sounds absolutely absurd! ***

    As to spec 3: I used the GOV to move things from my home as I was ordered out of my leased family housing.  There was no situation for me to move.  My wife is in Texas and when the first sergeant heard that she was moving, he ordered my out of the house.  There was not any empathy on why she moved, or any "I am here for you if you need it."  Just good old kick you while your down.  So I was ordered to move out of a 4 bedroom house in December by myself.  When I asked for 5 days of leave to prepare, I was denied it.  I don't know why, I had 50 plus days of leave coming to me, I was relieved of recruiting hence not doing anything.  Just another game for them to make me twist in the wind.  Why didn't I ask to use the GOV you say?  In my situation, no is the first thing I here.  I even came up with the idea for the recruiting command to use the internet to do the work for us: mailouts, meps casefiles, get rid of promis.  My boss immediately said no, stole my idea, elevated it, and got recognition for it.  Now HRS is going to use my idea, and my boss got credit for it.  Only one of many examples...

   As to spec 4: This relates to spec 1. Since there was a lawful order given (not) and I went to another AFRO (to do RGM) it was unofficial. What a joke.

   As to spec 5: Of the $30 worth of phone calls, $20 worth were to base operators, base communication shops for my prior AFSC, assignment personnel... The other $10 were to my wife, friends that gave me moral support, and a couple of numbers that I had never heard of and are disconnected.  They could never come up with a complete list, never come up with guidance of what is official and what is unofficial, and never even told us that we could not make moral calls.  My boss would call his wife, order pizza, see if his car is ready, find a job for his brother in law, call uncle mike, go flying during duty hours, etc.

   As to spec 6: I put down my parent's address and phone number for emergency contact information.  I was to be travleing throughout the midwest by car and was staying all over the place from Wisconsin to Iowa to Offutt to San Antonio to San Angelo to Keesler to...you get the picture.  Since I was calling home daily to see if my attorneys had called or whatever, I left the best number I could.  We all do it.

   In summation, all you recruiters that ask your flight supervisors why we lie cheat and steal to put kids in and are told to shut up, they will get you one way or another.

   My attorneys were told by the Staff Judge Advocate that even if I win my court martial, which we were confident in doing, that my commander was still going to put a discharge package together against and cite everything under the sun to get me out of the USAF, mental health, quality air force, cut backs, bad record...Then he offered me a general under honorable conditions.  We had to take it because even winning the court martial, I would still have to fight a discharge board and maybe get worse than a general; if I would have lost just one spec, I would have a federal conviction on my record, and still have to fight a discharge board; if I win the court martial, win the discharge board, and go back to my prior AFSC, I would always be looking over my shoulder wondering what everyone knows about me and live in a constant state of paranoia.

   This way I am out, can apply for an upgrade to my discharge after 6 months, shouldn't be too hard: to get into recruiting you have to have a good record.  I also have job offers, not in sales (no way), that will do me fine.

   My flight supervisor, told a medically retired MSgt who was a former recruiter that: "SSgt K (me) didn't do anything that the rest of us didn't do, he (me) just went about it the wrong way."  He is now a squadron trainer for the Milwaukee squadron.  What a joke.  While under his expertise, 3 of us got relieved for various reasons, (mental health) and a 4th is on Prozac, Paxil, or Zoloft and still recruiting.

   My IG complaint that I filed in the first week of December, no response.  As long as recruiting puts in their 31,000 kids a year, an E-5's career doesn't amount to anything.  That is why the IG doesn't want to do anything.  Not to mention the discharge board that I may have faced.  Boy!!, am I enthusia...forget it.

Date: Thu, 16 Jul 1998
Subject: Another Recruiter
From:  XXX@pop.erols.com

   Well, what a surprise to stumble on your web-page.  I carried the NPS bag for 4 years.  I also won a silver badge 3 of the 4 years.  I was very lucky though.  When I chose to become a recruiter, I insisted on my hometown, and I was a 25 year old buck sergeant with good looks, a nice smile, and a good reputation.  I had only been in the Air Force for 4 years up to that point.  The whole USAFRS is a numbers driven mess, and the powers that be really believe that cold-calling works.  In my four years of recruiting I can't recall even one enlistment from a cold call.  I was successful because I got my butt out of the chair and went to my schools, got involved with community activities, and put my face where people could see their local Air Force representative.

   In my 4 years of recruiting, I won 3 silver badges.  However, if it weren't for my zone becoming economically unstable that never would have happened.  I was in the right place at the right time.  And I pencil-whipped thousands upon thousands of school folders, and as long as I was churning out numbers, my Flight Sup and  the squadron didn't even bother to check how i was doing it.

   In addition to that, how many kids have been told to keep their mouths SHUT, about drug use, police violations, medical problems, etc... just to meet your goal.  How the hell else were you supposed to meet your goal?

   The funny thing is though, even wearing that Silver Badge on my pocket didn't stop them from chewing my pants leg like a pit bull, when the numbers started slowing down.  Air Force Recruiting is the only job where I've ever had a face to face shouting match with a supervisor, while wearing a silver badge.... ridiculous.

   At the three year point, when I informed the Squadron Commander that I was NOT extending my 4 year deal, I was, from that point on, treated like a big scum-bag... all the while wearing my silver badge.  If they treated bag carriers with respect and dignity, regardless of numbers, imagine how successful EVERY recruiter could be.

Date: Wed, 12 Aug 1998
From:  XXX@ix.netcom.com
Subject: Airminder's Virtual Folly

   Having served in AFRS for 15+ years I can tell you MOST of this probably happened to you because of pressure from Headquarters. (Group or Higher)

   Squadron Commanders play kiss-ass for their OERS and recruiters seldom matter if their own careers are at stake!  (Yes, I was a SQ Commander and I didn't play this game)  Keep the web site til you get your promotion back!  If they order you to take it down...have your wife or another relative re-open it!

   Don't get me wrong.  Some officers I served under in Recruiting were fine men.  Gen Bennie Davis stopped the test cheating sanctioned under Gen Sczpanskey.  Gen Carlson stopped the selection of women based on looks alone started by the same General Sczpanskey! He also got the first air conditioners and radios in staff cars for recruiters!!  IN fact This General "S" tried to fondle a female office in a staff car I was driving!  A few wild turns got his attention off of her tho!

Date: Fri, 28 Aug 1998
From:  XXX@aol.com
Subject: Is this a new policy.......

Hi Al Lamb
   Screw up and get promoted...Is this a new policy with the Air Force????   I don't know if you remember me, but back on 22/4/98 I wrote you and asked for address information on an IG named: Lt. Col. S*, by the way thanks again!

   My husband and I sent our complaint to Lt. Col. S*.  We shared his address with lot of our guys in my husbands unit.  And Lt. Col. S* ended up doing a full investigation.  There were four charges, against four persons, acknowledged by Lt. Col. S*, who sent his findings to Sacramento, which in returned found the same findings, but they felt it was to ďHOTĒ for them, so they sent it their finding to Washington D.C., who also found four charges, against the same four persons.

   But..................................Here is the clicker!  Washington sent it to the bases 1-star General who felt that these charges were absurd and he in return promoted the four persons that the charges were brought against.  CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS?

   This past weekend my husband had duty and the four gave a party to celebrate getting away with it.  They even told us that was why they were having the party.  The four went as far as to tell the whole unit that they were untouchable.  That they screwed up and were promoted. These exact words!  I was there.

   The four, also over the loud speaker let it be known that if they found out that anyone other then the persons on the report, had went against them; they were going to be asked to leave or made to leave.  Their choice!

   I, myself am disgusted!  In my complaint, I told of a time, about being sexual assaulted by a Chief and that the only reason I had not place charges against that particular Chief, was that I was afraid that there would be recourse taken against my husband.  I know that there is probably nothing that can be done about it now and thatís, ok.  I still donít want to!

   Another, lady told of a time where she moved in with a person at the base, after her husband left her; A Master Sergeant from her Unit gave her address to her Ex husband, who in return went to the house and beat the living crap out of her and the guy she was living with.  The Ex husband even held a gun to their heads.  She ended up leaving the Air Force and moving to another state.  I donít know where.  Isnít giving out personal information against the law?

   I know that you are a busy person, but this is ridiculous that they are getting away with these things and more.  But, do you have any suggestions on where or who to write to about the the problem?  By the way, this is the third time charges were brought against these four.  They got away with the other charges too!
A Wife

Date: Sat, 19 Sep 1998
From: XXX@rapidnet.com
Subject: Airminder's Virtual Folly

   Your recruiting site is GREAT!!!  I, too, am a former recruiter who was shown the door in the summer of 1995.  I began recruiting in rural
Pennsylvania in early 1994.  I won't get into the fabricated claims against me by my supervisory chain, the "2" referral EPR, or the lame responses to my IG complaint.  Your site is 100% accurate in that regard, and I'd be beating a dead horse if I told my story.

   One thing that's missing, though, is advice for people who are currently experiencing what we went through.  I know that a lot of guys who are going through the process of being relieved from recruiting probably see your website, so I thought I'd give them some thoughts and advice.

   If you're being relieved from recruiting and feel like your world is falling down around you, I've been there.  Here's a few things to chew on:

1.  "You're fired!"  Heard that lately?  Well, if the "company" (they always refer to the AF as the company, don't they?) is telling you that, they're wrong.   The last time I checked, I don't work for a company.  Rather, I'm an NCO in the Air Force.  But anyway, if they insist on using corporate language, you need to know that you're not being "fired", you're simply being "reassigned to other duties within the company, at the same pay grade" -- more than likely duties you'll enjoy far more than recruiting.  You're probably wondering what's going to happen to your life, your livelihood, and your family now that you're fired.  Well, now that you know you're merely being reassigned in the same pay grade, you don't have to worry about it at all.

2.  Now that you've been relieved, you probably spend more time at the squadron doing support things.  That's how it was in my case.  Think about what's at the squadron:  phone bills, all sorts of other useful records, and the most important thing -- a photocopier!!  Do you understand their plans for you?  Do you know who's with you, and who's against you?  Do you know who's coming to your office while you're not there, going through your records, then making calls to your flight supervisor?  You can't know, until you put the pieces of the puzzle together.  Go get the pieces.

3.  Don't let your life be consumed by your present troubles.  Be advised that 99% of the "real" Air Force views being relieved from recruiting as a badge of honor.  I have walked on water ever since arriving at my present unit, and whenever I tell someone about the 2 EPR in my past (I haven't told many), they are genuinely shocked.  Thank you, AFRS, for providing me with a GREAT "sales aid" when I make my case to others to stay out of recruiting!

4.  I'm 6 foot tall, weigh about 200lbs, and I'll be damn if I'm going to let something that weighs less than an ounce and only stands 11" tall (my EPR) defeat me.  I haven't had mine thrown out, but made TSgt regardless.  Look in your PFE and figure out how much your EPR will hurt your WAPS score, and I'm sure you will agree that although scoring high on your PFE and SKT will be a challenge, you CAN do it!  If I did it, it's possible.  If it's possible, then you can do it too.  Don't let your EPR defeat you, either.

5.  Fight, fight, fight... and have fun doing it!  You really haven't been fired, you now have greater access to evidence, you'll be looked upon as a man (or woman) of honor and integrity once you return to your career field, and you can still be promoted.  Now that you know all this, then why not have a good time?  File your IG complaint BEFORE you PCS!  I did, and it was refreshing to roam the halls watching them squirm for once.  "Where did he get those phone bills?  Who helped him write this complaint?  How does he know all this?"  What a hoot!!

6.  Okay, I'm back in my career field, I've got all this evidence, my congressional complaint is locked, cocked, and ready to go.  Can you guess what I did?  You won't believe it in a million years, but I'll tell you anyway:  I FORGAVE.  Oh, I didn't call my flight sup, or my superintendent, or even my commander -- heck, I don't have their phone numbers anyway.  But as I held the pile of paperwork in my hand, I simply said "I forgive you, and I hope your life goes well from now on."  I stuffed the paperwork in a big envelope, tucked it away, and now only bring it out when someone's thinking about taking that leap into recruiting.  You can't begin to imagine the weight that was lifted from me when I did that.  My spiritual, professional, and personal lives have improved beyond all I could ask or think, and I honestly feel my forgiveness played a big part.  I'm no longer challenging the EPR or working the IG system, and I feel I have my life back.  I know forgiveness is probably the last thing you're thinking about right now, but after the dust settles and you've reestablished yourself in your career field, maybe you could give it a try.  If I met my old flight supervisor on the street today, I'd probably say something like, "How's your wife?  Is your life going okay?  About what happened... no need to talk about it.  If I was wrong, I'm sorry.  If you were wrong, I forgive you.  Life goes on, and I really do hope yours is good."  And I really do.

   Looking back on it, I think I forgave a little easier than most people because I knew the truth about my life.  No matter what they said to me or wanted me to believe, I knew I wasn't being fired, I knew my career field would accepted me with open arms, and I knew my opportunity for promotion still existed.  If you realize these truths, you'll get through it a whole lot easier.  Your positive attitude will inspire your friends, keep hope alive inside of you, and drive your enemies nuts!

   There you have it.  Although we all know that recruiting has some major flaws, we can all agree that the "real" Air Force is still good.  I love the Air Force, and I try not to let a short period of time (relatively speaking, if you're planning on at least 20 years) sour my whole outlook.  If you'll do the same, you'll find a renewed sense of pride in yourself, pride in your service, and hope for the future.  Allen, thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts, and I wish you luck as you try to straighten out your situation.

-- Chuck
P.S. -- Please xxx-out my e-mail address, as I have no time for those "you're a #$% idiot" e-mails from people like Jeff S.

Date: Sun, 20 Sep 1998
From: XXX@EmeraldCoast.Com
Subject: My time in AFRS

Boy am I enthusiastic ! NOT !!!!
   Well like many people reading through your website I to am an Air Force Recruiter. Like many I had dreams of grandeur, and like many these dreams soon turned into a nightmare.  I to was the tops in my former AFSC and made the mistake of applying for recruiting duty. I have had many of the same experiences that the other letter writers have had, from the LOC's to LOR's and being threatened with
a UIF.
    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS INTEGRITY IN AIR FORCE RECRUITING SERVICE, THIS IS FROM THE TOP ON DOWN. If there was such a thing then these commanders and superintendents would not be able to live with themselves for what they have done to their fellow Airman.  I believe that this is one of thew biggest problems in AFRS. They are they're own little Air Force and they have lost track of the fact that they wear the same uniform as the rest of the AF. There is almost nothing that I hate more than hearing someone say something about the " REAL AIR FORCE. "  Maybe this is why it seems that in recruiting they can make their own rules as they see fit to cover their asses !

   I have tons of experiences that I could share with you, along the same lines as the rest. I've been on the bag for over 3 yrs now & I've been successful but only at the expense of my family. No more !!!!! I will not do anything for these people that will require me to disregard the needs of the most important people in my life !

   One of many !...
I was sending a fully qualified young lady to MEPS, she had already had a physical at another MEPS a year ago. I had no info on the prior Phys except that it was still good and she was qualified.

   I measured her the day I sent her to MEPS at 65" and weight of 147 lbs.  MAW of 150 lbs. I did this with the Sqdn's own MEPS Processing Checklist...so far so good.  MEPS measures this girl @ 64" and wt of 151, BUSTED ! They then perform a BFM and get her at 34% BFM.  Well as you can guess I have to drive 4 HRS to go see the man !  I drive to the sqdn, wasting what was to be a productive day. Knowing what was coming I already prepared my rebuttal for the upcoming LOR. First I spoke with our new First Sgt, I showed him my rebuttal and without hesitation he started on the offensive. He told me what a hard ass the cc was and that I could do what I wanted but if I gave the CC the "company answer " I would only receive a LOR.... but if I started "blaming" the never calibrated scale in my office or the MEPS BFM procedures then I would receive a UIF also .  Keep in mind I am the typical NCO who came to AFRS after 8 1/2 yrs in the
AF with not even a LOC.  This day I meet the New CCU, he is the typical career recruiter !  Now the moment of truth, I meet the acting commander. What a piece of work this guy is, arrogant and condescending. I've never been degraded so much by anyone in my life ! So, taking the advice of the CCU, 1st Shirt & my Flight Chief, I give him the company answer and take all of his insults about intelligence and such. Knowing damn well that this man is definitely below me on the IQ scale !  Once this is done I am reassured that the LOR will "disappear" once the new commander gets here... yeah right.

   Well, all this time I am feeling bad for the young motivated girl that went to MEPS and got "hosed" well, remeasured she is still 65", after waiting 1month I send her to the local AFB Hospital to Physical Exams for a BFM.  They measure her at 65" and 25% BFM, they also add a statement that there is no way this young lady is under 65" and that the MEPS must have measured her incorrectly  on both ht & BFM.  Now I send her to MEPS again, can you believe they remeasure her at 65" and 25% BFM ! Good for her ! I felt bad that she was the one who took the brunt of the punishment by being labeled "FAT" when she in fact wasn't.  I have come to accept the reaction that my chain of command had towards me, from the flt chief trying to cover his ass to the overbearing loser of an acting CC who's only mission in life is to "screw" another hard working lesser than him NCO.  Well, Monday I will inquire to see if my PIF still contains the LOR and if so I will be on the phone to the IG.

   Now I'm counting the days till I go back to my primary AFSC and when everyone wonders about the big smile on my face I'll explain to them that I've spent the past 4 years ruining my career in Air Force Recruiting Service !

Thanks for allowing  me to "vent"

Date: Thu, 08 Oct 1998
Subject: Airminder's Virtual Folly

Wow what a great site!
    I am an ex army recruiter who like you was run all over by the chain of command. My mistake- turning my station commander in for forging a medical document on a kid who had a history of spinal menangitis. He had the kid not declare it even after the kid turned in his medical records showing the diagnosis. After I did that all hell broke out for me. One day I made a mistake and the next thing I knew they were recommending a special court martial and a chapter 14 for serious misconduct. Yes the court martial finally went through after two years of the command threating the Ft Huachuca, Az. SJA's to take the case whereas the Ft Bliss, Tx. SJA would not take the case, stating the charge is frivoulous and not in the best interest of the US Govt. I beat the court martial. My command became furious. They recommended a Chap 14 for serious misconduct. Well 8 months after that a board of officers heard the case and recommended to keep me in the Army and disagreed with the commands findings and recommendations.  Man what a slap in the commanders face. So here I am, and I can understand your situation. Recruiting was the worst assignment I have ever had. I never knew such low down back stabbing yellow belly liars with no honor existed in the ranks. But they certainly do thrive in recruiting. I wish you the best of luck in your plight!

Date: Mon, 5 Oct 1998
From: XXX@portcros.gardaccess.com
Subject: The Job...
Hi Al,

   Well, despite what you've said about the job, I'm off to RIC school next month to try my hand at it.  I'll report for duty in Orange County, California.  I was just wondering if you could tell me where you served as a recruiter?  Was it anywhere near where I'm going?  Do you know anything positive or negative about my future squadron?

   Also, I saw references to the expression "carrying the bag" and simply "the bag" in some of the correspondence on your page.  What exactly does that mean?

Wish me luck!
*** Airminder Comments ***
Good luck my friend...I do sincerely wish you well...Sounds like you're as hard headed as I was.  You will learn all too soon what "carrying the bag" is all about.  "Carrying the bag" not only refers to the actual bag you always seem to be carrying in your hand while you're a recruiter, but also to the elusive, ever increasing, heavy bag that you must carry around your neck and on your shoulders which is difficult for anyone but you to see and feel.  May you have a better experience than I my friend.

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