|335th Radio Research Company
Ex-ASA Recruiter Story
Courtesy Marc Robinson
|In Private conversations with Earl Shollenberger MSG US Army (ret.) he confessed the following to me..........I have informed him that I plan to "expose" his dasterdly deed to all the innocent young men who fell prey to such men as himself........
Shollenberger speeks...... With regard to your "ambush" metaphor . . . I proudly confess to you that during the period November 1963 until July 1966, while assigned to the Philadelphia Main Recruiting Office as the ASA Field Representative, I did indeed "ambush" more than 500 of your young asses into our beloved ASA. Further, I still cherish the award I received from Arlington Hall HQ for that honorable accomplishment. Shit that's about a batallion of you "top ten percent" troops. I never COULD understand how youse young studs joked about the abysmal stupidity of "lifers" - then sadly commiserated among yourselves for being hoodwinked out of four years of your lives by those "evil, cunning, low-life, silver-tongued "snake-oil-salesmen" LIFER ASA "recruiters"!
Ain't human nature a bitch?! Hell! I'd starve trying to sell Cadillacs at ten bucks a shot - but you guys were easy. Most of the time I had difficulty trying to fully explain the "program" to you guys 'cause you were fighting for the pen to sign the papers.
And I don't wanna hear any of that bull about Field Representatives wearing civilian clothes - cause if Arlington heard about it our ass was grass. D'ya know that the local Army recruiters got extra credit for ASA enlistments along with Wacs, Nurses and Warrant Officer Flight Program enlistees? Yep! It was due to the four year enlistment requirement and the difficulty of getting quality enlistees in the face of Navy and Air Force competition.
So - as a result, there were times a Representative (in order to look at himself in the mirror each morning) hadda occasionally "unsell" applicants from the ASA program. Sound impossible?? Okay - several scenarios:
As in all human situations you had ambitious AND lazy recruiters. But I was totally dependent on all 36 of them to initially "sell" my "program" to their qualified applicants. My first "eyeball" interview with an applicant always occurred immediately after he completed his AFQT (mental) and physical examination at the Main Station. As with all programs, I had to assure that the applicant had, in fact, exceeded the minimum scores (in "battery" combinations) necessary for ASA MOS training. If there was an interest (or background) in languages, I also had to administer the Army Language Aptitude Test (ALAT) for linguist training.
After that, my most important responsibility was to carefully screen the applicant for personal factors which could deny him an ASA security clearance i.e., homosexuality, police record, foreign relatives or membership (or close association with members) in listed "Un-American" Organizations". (Hmmmm an aside . . . Willie's anti-war activities in England included coordination with European members of the "World Peace Council" - which I believe was one of the many "communist front" organizations listed on the rear of Form SP 298 (??) Statement of Personal History. He also made several visits to unspecified areas of the Continent during that period. I KNOW, by specific criteria contained in my job description I would not have been PERMITTED to consider him for service in ASA. (And that bastard criticized Linda Tripp for a youthful misdemeanor, after illegally obtaining HER background material - WHATTA piece of shit!!)
Okay - where was I. Well if the applicant qualified, he became MY sole responsibility - police checks, processing papers, enlistment schedule . . . the whole schmier!. And the recruiter got credit for TWO enlistments without ever lifting a finger or ever seeing the kid again. So the lazy bastards among them loved it. Ergo . . .kids who were excited about other programs (including Flight School) were told to see me after their tests - and the recruiter called me to try to induce them to take ASA. Lotta soul-searching there - and admittedly some rationalization - but I KNOW I frequently told applicants to go back and tell the recruiter they had talked to me but were ONLY interesed in their original preference - but to keep it under his hat because I WAS dependent on them for applicants.
The other occasions involved "unselling" applicants who were given a complete rash of BULL-SHIT by local Army recruiters BEFORE they came to the Main Station. I'm not saying we didn't have unscrupulous Field Reps - or some who wore civilian clothes and played the "cloak and dagger game - but I am saying I WASN'T one of them. Further, I think almost all of the kids' horror stories actually came from the local recruiters and NOT the ASA Field Representatives.
That duty was the ONLY ASA "gravy-train" set-up for career NCO's with "Operations" MOS's. Headquarters wanted recruitment to be performed by guys who knew the ASA technical fields.
During the years before I requested Field Representative duty I served two years in the Philippines as a trick chief and platoon sergeant which required garrison AND Operations supervisory duties, and weekly rotating shift (with training and inspections always conducted during normal duty hours followed by an eve shift at Operations.)
I then applied and was accepted for a six-month "Advanced Surpervisor's Analysis Course" at NSA. Although I had always been a good "nuts and bolts" field DF "op" my leadership suffered because I was a lousy "ditty-bopper" and I was told the course would provide me with a TA MOS - WRONG!!). Then I had another direct transfer to Harrogate England as an Acting Platoon Leader (of a platoon compried of 105 men and nine squads - a complement required to perform full opperations at a large field station during non-dayshift hours).
With a "frozen" MOS while filling an offier's duty slot, I tried to maneuver into yet another option. For three years, during the German Occupation, I was the Detachment Commander of a remote Strategic D/F Site along the Czech border. Soooo, I applied (and maxed) a Warrant Board which had to come from Bremmerhaven to Harrogate solely for my board. But, because I hadn't worked the MOS for six years, I spent one year in limbo as a possible "alternate" before being informed of my non-selection.
THAT's when I junped at the opportunity to be on COMPLETE detatched duty - living in my own home with my family - only eighty miles from my home town. The irony of that was - although I accepted the fact that I could NOT be promoted during the period of assignment because I would be "working out of MOS" - within six months I was (illegally) promoted as a reward for excellent performance!!! Ain't life WEIRD!
And I"M TRULY weird for running on like this. But it's ALL your fault for the "AMBUSH" trigger. All I can say is I'm all alone and got plenty of time to ruminate and reminisce, so this is what I do. And I guess tonite was "your turn in the barrel, Robo"!
I'd say "I'm Sorry"! But fuggit, I'm NOT!!
> PS: That'll learn ya not to anwer my email!