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One-Day Halt in Army Recruiting

The Army will halt its recruiting efforts for one day this month to allow commanders to emphasize proper conduct following apparent excesses, Army officials said Wednesday.

The stand-down will take place May 20, said Douglas Smith (search), an Army spokesman. Army officials said it would affect almost all 7,500 recruiters at 1,700 stations around the United States.

In at least two instances, recruiters are facing disciplinary action for their dealings with potential recruits.

In Houston, a recruiter allegedly threatened to have a wavering would-be recruit arrested if he backed out, according to Army officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. The recruiter has no such authority.

Officials confirmed a second inquiry in Colorado, pointing to news reports about recruiters who allegedly offered information on fake diplomas and ways to get around drug tests and physical fitness requirements.

Army spokesman Paul Boyce (search) said the one-day halt will allow commanders to review policies and guidelines with recruiters as the service enters its peak recruiting period, when high school graduates and others are out of school and considering whether to enter the military.

The move comes as the Army remains short of its recruiting goals for the year. Recruiters are under increasing pressure to fill the ranks. Opinion surveys suggest that an increasing number of potential recruits and their parents are wary of the Army's recruiting pitch while soldiers are dying in Iraq.

Smith said the Army has investigated 480 allegations of impropriety by recruiters since Oct. 1. Some cases are still open, and 91 allegations have been determined to be founded. Eight recruiters have been relieved and another 98 have been admonished.

Since 2000, the Army has relieved between about 30 and 60 recruiters annually for improprieties, according to data provided by Smith. These often involve recruiters concealing negative information about a potential recruit from rest of the Army.