Army Recruits Autistic Man

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Jared Guinther, 18, was diagnosed at three with moderate to severe autism. He doesn’t speak unless spoken to and has been enrolled in special education his entire life. Yet he was recently permitted to enlist in the U.S. Army as a cavalry scout—widely considered the army’s most dangerous job because of its frequent engagement with the enemy using “anti-armor weapons and scout vehicles.” And despite the fact that he was completely unaware of the war in Iraq until last fall, he enlisted when approached by a military recruiter and offered a “$4,000 signing bonus, $67,000 for college and more buddies than he could count.”

His story draws attention to the surge in recruiting improprieties over the last several years. Its possible that recruiters concealed Guinther’s disability in hopes of meeting their enlistment targets. According to The Oregonian, Maj. Curt Steinagel, commander of the Military Entrance Processing Station in Portland, said the papers filled out by Jared’s recruiters contained no indication of his disability. “I can’t speak for Army,” he said, “but it’s no secret that recruiters stretch and bend the rules because of all the pressure they’re under. The problem exists, and we all know it exists.”

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate