Arizona National Guard Recruiters 'Bum Hunt' Homeless With Paintball Guns, Report Says

national guard whistleblower targeted

Staff Sgt. Chad Wille thought he was doing the right thing three years ago when he went to his supervisor to report a claim that fellow National Guard troops traveling in an Humvee had been seen shooting paintballs at pedestrians in a nearby Phoenix neighborhood. Rather than being rewarded for his integrity, however, Wille was instead subjected to years of harassment by his peers, The Arizona Republic reports.

Wille routinely drove the camouflaged painted military vehicle himself -- and indeed was doing so on the day an angry bicyclist confronted the Arizona Army National Guard recruiter and told him it was Wille's vehicle that was used in the attack. But Wille was away the week of the supposed incident and so reported it to 1st Sgt. Lucas Atwood, his supervisor in the Recruiting and Retention Command, the newspaper says. (The Republic's account of Wille's case is the result of its five-month investigation into his story.)

The newspaper says Wille also asked a colleague if he knew who had the keys to Humvee during the week Wille was away. The co-worker said another recruiter, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Amerson, used the vehicle to go on what others in Wille's unit called "bum hunts."

The Republic reports that an inquiry by Arizona National Guard commanders discovered that Guard members allegedly were involved in numerous criminal and unethical acts while on patrol in north Phoenix, which included assaulting and humiliating homeless people in 2007 and 2008, shooting paintballs at them, or getting them to dance and sing for money.

Witnesses also alleged that Amerson, a former "Recruiter of the Year," and other soldiers engaged in sexual misconduct, recruiting improprieties and cover-ups. Female recruits told investigators that they were ordered to flash their breasts, while homeless women were offered money, food and drink for exposing themselves.

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Though Wille's act help to pull back the veil of abuse his colleagues were allegedly heaping on innocent victims, as the investigation progressed, he became a target for blowing the whistle. The Republic reports that he was subjected to a two-year campaign of harassment that included being falsely accused of assaulting a teenage girl and threatened with a bullet to the head, among other reprisals. He was also pressured to resign but refused.

Several investigations eventually led to demotions or reprimands of numerous recruiters with ties to Wille's case, including Amerson, who was found culpable for fraternization, vehicle misuse, recruiting improprieties and dishonesty.

National Guard investigators said commanders failed to hold subordinates accountable for wrongdoing, partly because they also allegedly engaged in unethical behavior, NBC News reports.

Wille told the Republic in a recent interview that he feels betrayed by his colleagues and National Guard leadership.

He was forced to conduct investigations in his defense for two years, he said, and also filed complaints with the Defense Department's inspector general, but got no response.

"They don't try to do the right thing," Wille said of the Guard. "They're too busy looking out for the agency and trying to cover up."

In response to the investigation, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has announced an inquiry into Arizona's military operations, NBC News reports.

In a statement, a spokesman for Brewer said, "She would like the inquiry to begin as quickly as possible so that she is provided credible information with which to judge the conduct of the Arizona National Guard and its leaders."





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94 Comments

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rha39

If the USA can't find another war soon let our trooops fight each other.

October 19 2012 at 11:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CUSACitizen

IF I said IF this is true, the degradation of our society is going faster than I ever thought. Boy Scouts, Clergy, Coaches, Teachers, CIA, all in positions of thrust. Who is watching our best interest anymore?

October 19 2012 at 10:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
stevenv469

i am glad that there is time for our military personnel to entertain themselves

October 19 2012 at 9:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lifehub

Most things that AOL puts into print, I don't believe.

October 19 2012 at 5:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to lifehub's comment
deeteam

this is from a series in the az republic...don't believe what they print either? do you believe anything you read? most of the politicians in az, from our ged educated governor down, are only concerned with the border battle and bury their heads in the sand regarding any other problems

October 19 2012 at 9:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
G

Then why read them?

October 23 2012 at 10:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bricklayer

The best part is they are all Republicans,, Boy ,, they just just love war and violence.

October 19 2012 at 5:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bricklayer's comment
lifehub

And you know this.....................how? Typical lib-lobe. lol

October 19 2012 at 5:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lifehub's comment
G

Why even bother reading? You already know everything.

October 23 2012 at 10:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
lofr45

There should be a full investigation, not by the military, but by the United States Justice Department. A seperate investigation with a Special Prosecutor and his team. This won't happen because of political reasons. The Commander of this Guard Unit is probably good friends with someone in the drivers seat in Washington.

October 19 2012 at 12:33 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lofr45's comment
ycplum

I would argue that there should be a parallel investigation with absolutely no contact between investigations. It keeps both sides honest. Also, Be a vet (US ARmy and NY NG), I want to give the Arizona NG a change to redeem themselves by conducting an honest and thorough investigation. And if they fail, they get doubly screwed since you have the Fed investigation.

October 19 2012 at 10:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rudimario

Pretty strange stuff. Seen worse though. A long time ago, after doing7 years in the USMC....I got out. Then I got the bright idea to go into the Army Reserves....would've gone to a USMC recon unit, but they didn't have a slot for my rank...no ifs ands or buts. So the army it was.....anyway....to make it short, I had a new, very young, very pretty young lady put into my shop. She was fresh out of school and I was tickled to death to get the extra help of a qualified person. Her rank was that of E-3. I watched my P's and Q's and took the job very serious. However started going out with the 1st Shirt, then the command SMaj.....and even the XO off and on. Would you believe that young lady was to good at her job, she made E-6 in less that nine months. Man....that was enough for me. lol

October 19 2012 at 12:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rudimario's comment
Yadi

no one could make E-6 in less than 9 months rublish...maybe her E-4 but for the E-5/6 rank you had to go to non-commisioner schools that take several months each...

October 19 2012 at 8:16 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
watson185

Arizona again...!

October 18 2012 at 11:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
donahuepapad123

another idiot trying to turn anything and everything into a political statement ? and generalizing the whole democratic party as the problem ? let take a wild guess , your republican , right ? lol neither side meens what it used to anymore , so have fun with it ? they all blame each other so no one can take credit for doing anything for the people , so much more would get done if they would just be the peoples party and stop all the dem/rep bullshit ???? we dont need a presedent ? we need a parliment !!! to be held accountable by the people on a yearly bases ? lol like the big boys would let that happen .

October 18 2012 at 11:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Welcome King

More military scandals.

October 18 2012 at 10:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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