TWIN FALLS — The U.S. Army is investigating a former trainee’s claim that his Idaho recruiter told him to hide his medical conditions when enlisting.
The man’s Army medical provider is recommending a medical discharge for the 19-year-old Twin Falls High School graduate, according to correspondence between the Army and U.S. Sen. Jim Risch’s office.
The man asked that his name and medical conditions not be revealed.
“I want to be left alone,” he told the Times-News. “I want to move on.”
The Army, however, has initiated an investigation into the tactics used by Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Gaunya to recruit the man, said Lisa Ferguson, spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command.
“Pending the investigation, (Gaunya) has been taken off recruitment duty,” Ferguson said in a telephone interview from her office in Fort Knox, Kentucky.
The young man reported Aug. 20 for basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and returned to Twin Falls last weekend. He is now staying at his mother’s home in Gooding.
Gaunya first contacted the man by text message in March, and he told Gaunya he didn’t think he would be eligible for service and explained his medical conditions.
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At that point, Guanya asked the man to call him.
“It’ll be a lot easier to talk about it on the phone rather than texting. It’s cool I feel you,” Guanya said in a series of text messages provided by the man’s father, Ryan Horsley, of Twin Falls.
“Guanya told my son the Army didn’t need to know about his medical condition,” Horsley said.
In retrospect, Horsley said, he probably should have opposed his son’s enlistment, but he felt confident his son’s medical conditions would disqualify him. His son planned to become a human resources specialist.
“The fact remains that he is an adult, and while I disagreed with his decision, I still wanted to support him and respected him in his effort to try and to want to serve our country,” Horsley said.
Horsley said he reached out to Risch’s office after his son “had a meltdown” at Fort Jackson while he was still in entry-level status. Risch’s office contacted Col. Timothy R. Frambes of the 120th Adjutant General Battalion in South Carolina.
“The United States Army Recruiting Command will evaluate and, as appropriate, investigate this allegation,” Frambes responded in a Sept. 6 letter to Risch. “If the process determines an act of impropriety did occur, appropriate corrective and disciplinary action will be taken.”