Recruiters Hunted Homeless With Paintball Guns: Probe

Arizona National Guard faces wide-ranging investigation

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 15, 2012 4:04 PM CDT

(Newser) – Members of Arizona's National Guard hunted the homeless with paintball guns, forged documents, sexually abused women, embezzled funds—and were allowed to go more or less scot-free due to a lax and corrupt climate, the Arizona Republic reports. The newspaper's investigation, based on interviews with Guard officers, found that most of the perpetrators were military recruiters seeking teenage recruits on visits to high schools. The Guard's top officer acknowledged the problem but blamed it on a few "bad apples."

Yet according to officers who approached the Republic, the corruption festers because of a good ol' boys network, a college fraternity atmosphere, and pressure over enlistment quotas. "The way the Arizona National Guard is today, I would not trust it with my son or daughter," said a lieutenant colonel. "It disgusts me. ... People don't get fired, they get moved." Apprised of the investigation, Gov. Jan Brewer's office said it plans "a full, fair and independent review of the Arizona National Guard."

National Guard Troops near Sierra Vista,  Ariz.
National Guard Troops near Sierra Vista, Ariz.   (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Kadlubowski)
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