June 17, 2008
Teens say recruiter duped them
Grads claim they were told they could go to college before serving
Advertiser Staff and News Services
The Navy said it is investigating a Honolulu-based recruiter after two Kapolei High School graduates said they were scammed into joining the service.
Cory Miyasato and Joseph Mauga Jr. said Navy recruiter Petty Officer 1st Class Jimmy Pecadeso promised them they would be able to get a free, four-year college education before going off to sea.
Instead, the two 18-year-olds said they found out they would be going off to boot camp and then active duty.
Their families made a complaint to the Navy.
Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David McKee, a spokesman for Navy Recruiting Station Los Angeles, which includes Hawai’i, said, “We’ve done the preliminary inquiry, and we’ve initiated a formal investigation.”
McKee said Miyasato and Mauga are no longer obligated to fulfill a Navy contract and enter boot camp.
“They’ve asked to be removed from the delayed entry program, and we’ve honored that request,” McKee said.
McKee said he would have to check whether Pecadeso was temporarily relieved of duties, or if he continues to work as a recruiter.
A person who answered the phone at the Kapolei Navy recruiting station said Pecadeso wouldn’t be able to comment, and referred any questions to McKee.
The Navy said it has recruiting offices in Kapolei, ‘Aiea, Honolulu and Kane’ohe.
McKee said Miyasato and Mauga were to go into the Navy under the “delayed entry” program, but that the delay in reporting for boot camp ranges from about a month to, rarely, as long as a year.
McKee said he believes the general integrity of Navy recruiters to be high.
The Los Angeles recruiting office encompasses 54 recruiting stations in California, Hawai’i, Guam, South Korea and Japan, McKee said.
For June, the total goal for the stations is 210 recruits, 30 of whom are expected to come from Hawai’i, Guam, South Korea and Japan, McKee said.