US Military Forced to Recruit Felons For Duty in Iraq

by on April 21, 2008 · 3 comments

in War and Peace

Associated Press/ April 21, 2008

WASHINGTON – . Under pressure to meet combat needs, the Army and Marine Corps brought in significantly more recruits with felony convictions last year than in 2006, including some with manslaughter and sex crime convictions.Data released by a congressional committee shows the number of soldiers admitted to the Army with felony records jumped from 249 in 2006 to 511 in 2007. And the number of Marines with felonies rose from 208 to 350.

Those numbers represent a fraction of the more than 180,000 recruits brought in by the active duty Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines during fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2007. But they highlight a trend that has raised concerns both within the military and on Capitol Hill.The bulk of the crimes involved were burglaries, other thefts, and drug offenses, but nine involved sex crimes and six involved manslaughter or vehicular homicide convictions. Several dozen Army and Marine recruits had aggravated assault or robbery convictions, including incidents involving weapons.

Struggling to find recruits

Both the Army and Marine Corps have been struggling to increase their numbers as part of a broader effort to meet the combat needs of a military fighting wars on two fronts. As a result, the number of recruits needing waivers for crimes or other bad conduct has grown in recent years, as well as those needing medical or aptitude waivers.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, who released the data, noted that there may be valid reasons for granting the waivers and giving individuals a second chance. But he added, “Concerns have been raised that the significant increase in the recruitment of persons with criminal records is a result of the strain put on the military by the Iraq war and may be undermining military readiness.”[ For the rest of this article, go here.]

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Frank Gormlie April 21, 2008 at 3:31 pm

Everyone needs at least a second chance.


avatar OB Joe April 21, 2008 at 4:07 pm

Hey, some of my best friends are felons, or ex-felons. They’re still people. A lot of them had drug-related old convictions.


avatar KENNETH J. BAUGHMAN May 20, 2008 at 3:29 pm

I am very interested in joinong the army, but I made a mistake back in 2001, just after High School, and was charged with a drug felony. I was convicted in 2002, and with the help of my parents and a lawyer I got 3 years probation, which ended 2005. I have not been involved in any drugs since because I regret the mistake that I did by putting my parents through such a horrible ordeal as that. I just would like to know the chances of my getting a waiver so that I could join the Army? I joined back in 1999 while I was still in school and was to leave for bootcamp with my buddy (that was when the army offered the “buddy System” if two joined together. Well, we left to get transported to Mossouri, but they halted our departure because my buddy had to go to Summer school to get his scores up to graduate from high school, therefore, since he could not go, I also backed ou. that is the biggest mistake I have ever made, because if I would have continued,despite my buddy, I would not have gotten involved in the trouble that I get into and would have been well on my way in a career that I wanted.
Kenny J. Baughman


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