recruiter pushing me to lie at MEPS

I figure that there are enough military people on the boards that I can get some solid advice on how to proceed. Any help would be extremely appreciated. Here’s the background:

I’ve been talking with a USMC recruiter over the past week. In the initial pre-screen, I was very forthcoming about my checkered past, including hallucinogen use and a brief stay at a psychiatric ward (self-admitted, depression, for four days which ended with the psychiatrist stating that I really had no reason to be there.) Both of these things took place around 5 years ago; since then my nose has been clean. Whenever I bring this stuff up, my recruiter cuts me off with a gentle shushing and explains that:

  1. When I go to MEPS, I should answer all yes/no questions “no”. Furthermore, I need to be consistent with what I tell MEPS and whatever’s in my package.

  2. Doing so isn’t lying. Because these events occurred so long ago, they’re irrelevant. The military only cares about the person I am today and will be in the future, not what happened in the past. (Although, regardless of how I feel about myself as an individual, isn’t past behavior the strongest predictor of future behavior?) Sometimes my recruiter is a little more explicit and says that only things which happened within the past 5 years count.

  3. He’s trying to look out for me. Due to my test scores, I should be able to land any MOS I want (although no guarantee). He wants my options to be open so that I’m more likely to get an enlistment bonus.

My recruiter is a GySgt with an absurd number of ribbons on his uniform (15, although I don’t know if this is actually impressive), including a Purple Heart and a Drill Instructor ribbon. I want to take him at his word, but what he’s telling me seems incredibly sketchy.

He took me to take the ASVAB and the DLAB yesterday, and I smoked both of them (99%, 147 respectively). After seeing my scores, he began pushing me strongly to consider the cryptologic linguist program. The MOS forms are pretty clear that I’d be disqualified for top secret clearance, although they don’t seem to indicate whether it’s a hard DQ or whether it’s open for consideration on a case-by-case basis. However, I don’t feel comfortable lying about my past to the military. If that bars me from certain MOS’s, that’s okay with me. I’m not ashamed of my past, and I’d rather not live in constant fear of having fraudulent enlistment charges thrown at me. Furthermore, there are medical records indicating my stay at a psychiatric hospital, and although I have no criminal record involving drugs, an background interview with anyone I’ve known from 2003-2004 will turn something up.

Although I’ve brought these issues up with my recruiter several times, his advice is always the same. He certainly hasn’t started the process for filling out any waivers, and since I intend to spill the beans at MEPS regardless, I know I’m going to be sent back until I get everything straightened out. My recruiter wants me to go to MEPS for the physical and to sign the DEP forms on Friday. (I don’t know why he’s trying to push me through in just a week, particularly since I told him I can’t ship out until at least October.) Will I just be wasting my time by going to MEPS? Should I be speaking to someone about the situation he’s put me in? If so, who? I don’t really know who is above my recruiter.


Put the brakes on. Don’t sign anything else, don’t do any more tests until you get clear answers, preferably with witnesses or from uninvolved parties. Once you sign up you’re covered under the Uniform Code of Military Justice(UCMJ) and your rights/responsibilities under civilian law change significantly. They may be able to force you to ship out before October, they may be able to do other things you don’t want. I think you’re on the right track to refuse to follow the advice to lie, but you need to get more on top of this so you don’t end up railroaded in a way which wouldn’t be possible under civilian law but may be possible under UCMJ.


Thanks, the only thing I’ve done so far is sign paperwork to take those two tests, and as far as I can tell, all that means is that I’ve verified my SSN. He wants to finish up my package in the next few days, but I’ll hold off and see what other answers I can get. Would it be in my best interests to find another recruiter? I assume that I won’t have to be tested again since my results are already in the system.

The problem with lying about being admitted to a psychiatric hospital and such is what if one day you’re up for a top secret clearance? I mean, those guys go through everything in your life. You won’t them to ask you about it, have to lie again to keep the lie, and then you get busted for such. It won’t be pretty.

Being in crypto requires top secret clearance, and I’m going to try to apply regardless as I speak a fair number of languages already and it sounds interesting. I’m just puzzled why my recruiter would steer me into crypto and suggest that I lie knowing fully that I have something on my medical record which is potentially disqualifying.

Dude, do not lie to MEPS. A guy in the DEP when I was there told them that he’d had asthma as a kid, and when they didn’t find it on his medical records he was banned from enlisting (or some such something. Fraudulent enlistment?) Turns out, his grandma had just self-diagnosed him as having asthma and never taken him to the doctor to get it checked out. He wasn’t consciously lying – he really believed that he’d had it. Poor guy.

Also–parents and grandparents, don’t lie to your kids.

From a completely non-military perspective, it the reason he’s pushing you just standard, run of the mill high pressure sales techniques? Does he want you to lie so that you get a higher position, and perhaps make him more money? Does he want you to sign that paper immediately so that he doesn’t lose his “sale?”

I assume military recruitment works on some manner of commission paid basis, but I may be completely off on that. Any way about it, is he in some sort of position to lose money / promotions / his job if he doesn’t make his targets?

(former USMC here)

Your recruiter is not capable of doing anything else useful for the Corps, hence his current position. DI’s are frequently moved to recruiter status. He is only biding his time until his retirement. His only focus in life is to sign up warm bodies.

That said, there is a high probability that he is not aware of (or concerned) about the myriad requirements in many MOS’s, let alone any that require a security clearance.

You stay on the right path, and you’ll be just fine.

If they find out you lied after you’re in, they can DD you for fraudulent enlistment. Chances are, you could serve your whole enlistment without anyone finding out or caring, but if you get investigated for a security clearance, your history could come out (especially if you had any kind of arrest record).

One thing I can tell you for sure is the recruiter cares about himself, not you. They are not your friends or mentors. You are just a fish to be landed for them. It’s standard for them to flatter the marks and tell them how smart they are, how exceptional, how they can get any MOS they want. They did it to me too, and other than high test scores, I was an exceptionally shitty candidate. Once they get you in, they couldn’t care less what happens to you. They get the credit for the kill, and they move onto the next deer.

Don’t lie. If it was really unimportant, they wouldn’t TELL you to lie. Chances are, it won’t end up keeping you out, but it’s better to go in without anything hidden. No good recruiter tells you to lie.

Without passing on the venality of recruiters, I think there is a lot of wisdom in the observation above.

“Fraudulent Enlistment” and “False Official Statement” are the 2 articles of the UCMJ you would be violating right off the bat. I say this as a JAG lawyer currently active in the Air Force (having said that, I will now include the standard “I am not YOUR lawyer and this is not legal advice” disclaimer). If you do this and then try for a TS, it is almost a certainty that it will be discovered and you will face discipline. They don’t fuck around with TS clearances and they very often include polygraphs. Bottom line…DO NOT lie on your enlistment paperwork. Period.

You should answer each question as honestly as you are able, and you should have all supporting medical documents in-hand, so that yuo may apply for whatever waivers are necessary. Further, you should understand that you may not be waiverable, and thus many not be acceptable for enlistment, but that the Corps will try as hard as possible to get you a job.

It IS lying, and it’s a specific crime. Actually, several specific crimes: 1) False Official Statement, a crime under the UCMJ. 2) Fraudulent Enlistment, a crime under the UCMJ. 3) Fraud and perjury, - civil and UCMJ offenses. Yes, the Corps cares about who you are now, but they also care about your history, and for exactly the reasons you enumerate.

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
He’s looking out for himself, and in the process, gonna fuck you!
You’ll be signing the papers saying you’ve honestly filled out your application, and that no one has told you to lie, or made false promises to you. Anything they find out later (and the government is GOOD at finding things!) falls on your head, not his. When the Marine Corps version of the Recruit Quality Assesment Team comes around and gives you the ‘come to Jesus’ speech, and you start coughing up all these facts (and you will - The RQAT people are skilled!), it’s your butt in the seat, and your future on the line.

What you’ve got here are highly desirable raw abilities that will allow this recruiter to fill a high-priority slot, which will a) be of great benefit to the Corps, and b) make him look damned good. He isn’t going to see the benefit of your developing skills- he’s too senior to be in long enough for your skills to become effective in helping the Corps berfore he retires. But he WILL reap the prestige of gaining a hard-to-find ‘Upper’ as a recruit.

I’m an (ex) squid, but I have a lot of respect for the Corps. Very likely, you’d be an asset to it. But only if they know how you are, and place you where you’re able to be of best service. And the only way to do that is to know, exactly, who you are. And further, do you really want to start your service in one of the most honorable fighting formations on the planet with a lie…?

Don’t do it. It’ll take courage, but don’t do it. Marines are known for their courage anyway, and now is the time to start showing it. Get ALL the documentation. Put it ALL in your package. Get your waivers, even if it means getting a consult from MEPS, or two, or four. Even if it means that there are some jobs you can’t take. Even if it means that ultimately, the Corps can’t find a place for you. If you’re rejected from the Corps for being honest and honorable, well, there are a LOT worse ways to fail. There are worse ways to succeed, too… You don’t want to succeed on a lie.

Best fortune, and keep your head high.
Former Naval Recruiter (seven Gold Wreaths)

My son tried to get into the Marines about 5 years ago and his recruiter gave him some shit to drink to mask the dope in his system. They were willing to waiver him on one pot bust, but the second one was the deal breaker.

The military frequently bends the rules when they’re short on bodies. Be straight up with them and let them decide if they want you or not.

As others have said, you shouldn’t lie about anything in your enlistment paperwork. You most definitely should not lie about anything where you know there is “smoking gun” evidence that you lied…like the medical records you know exist.

You sound like a pretty smart guy, so you really shouldn’t need us to tell you the problems with this.

  1. If the military only cared about the person you are today, and not what happened in the past, they wouldn’t ask you about what happened in the past.

  2. If only what happened in the past 5 years counted, then they’d only ask for information for the last 5 years.

  3. If they weren’t concerned about drug use and mental state, they wouldn’t ask about it.

  4. For any government paperwork, even just to get a fishing license, if there’s a statement at the bottom that says “I hereby certify the information given herein is true and correct to the best of my knowledge,” and you sign it, and you’re lying, you have potentially bought yourself a world of trouble. It is is many cases not just a bad idea, but a crime.

  5. As smart as you are (again), if and when you are caught lying on the application materials, no one is going to cut you any slack for the fact your recruiter bullshitted you. You are responsible for the statements you make, the information you disclose, and the materials you submit.

Tell him you intend to tell the truth, then tell the truth. At the end of the day, why do you need to give a shit what he thinks anyway?

Bear in mind that he’s telling you to do something for his own best interest and against your own. He’s asking you to lie for HIM, not for yourself. There are no consequences for him if you get caught.

Don’t let him intimidate you either, an ex-USMC DI is probably pretty good at that. Be on guard for it. You’re holding the cards, not him. You can switch to another recruiter any time you want.

We have a marine recruiting office by my gym and I’ve had three different marines ask me to sign. And I’m like “I’m an old man, (I’m almost 45) there not gonna take me.” And they say “So, just sign up and then they’ll say no.”

So there must be some value in getting people to sign whether or not they actually qualify

This is a common misperception. No military recruiter gets anything quite so crass as money for putting ‘butts on the bus.’ What he will get for filling a hard-to-fill slot is prestiege, and if he does it often enough, a minor decoration. Enough minor decorations can impact promotion rates, but as he’s already a GySgt with many, many decorations, that won’t count for much. Mostly, it’s plain ol’ competitiveness.

Again, misconception, but an understandable one, if you’ve no familiarity with the military. Missing targets can make one’s life uncomfortable, and put one under pressure, but recruiters don’t get demoted for failing - they get sent back to the fleet/force, and are returned to the jobs that they know and at which they’ve already excelled. Now, commiting UCMJ offensives, in the pursuit of making one’s life easier…? THAT will get you busted. And that’s the windmill this particular recruiter is facing.

Basically, recuiters are highly successful, success-driven self-motivators. And they’re taken out of jobs where they’re acknowledged experts, and placed in a job where their success lies not in their own hands, but in the hands of some 17 year old kid whom doesn’t know up, down, hot, cold, or what they want to do with their lives. That’s hard. Many don’t make it the transition. Many do. And many fall some uncomfortable place in between (that would be me). The environment is sales, with heavy importance on succes, heavy pressure for success, and you can’t pass that pressure on to the prospect. Recruiters are the kinds of people whom hate to fail, and they’ll add their own pressure on top of everything else. It’s a killer load, and it breaks a lot of people. In the end, it effectively broke me, too. This GySgt is at the breaking point, but he’s determined to hang on, and rather than face failure, he’s going to try to overcome the system. It won’t work for very long - he WILL get found out.

Switch to a different recruiter. Don’t let this guy impress you into doing something you don’t feel right about.

Regarding post #18: Thanks for taking the time to explain all that, Tranquilis. I have to say I’m quite surprised that the process runs on not much more than plain old competitiveness and elbow grease.