Vet cleared of wrongdoing in Army recruiter bonus scandal
Attorney said basis of reprimand was defective
An Iraq war combat veteran caught up in the Army’s recruiter bonus scandal has finally been cleared of wrongdoing after a long legal battle.
Maj. John W. Suprynowicz, a member of the Texas National Guard, was informed last week by Army South that his personnel record is no longer “flagged,” meaning he can be promoted to lieutenant colonel and get back his security clearance.
Maj. Suprynowicz always maintained his innocence in rightfully collecting $85,000 for referring 41 recruits over six years to enlist in the Guard. But he faced
a two year-plus probe by the Army’s Criminal Investigations Command (CID) that stopped his career and brought threats of prosecution from the Justice Department.
Enter the Center for Terrorism Law, directed by Jeff Addicott, a former judge advocate for Army special forces who teaches law at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. Mr. Addicott, who goes to bat for service members he believes are unfairly treated by the military justice system, took on the major’s case.
Working without a fee, Mr. Addicott pressed his case with the CID and the commanding general of Army South. He obtained sworn statements from recruits who said that Maj. Suprynowicz did in fact refer them, contradicting CID’s contention that he did not.
Mr. Addicott in person accused CID investigators of shoddy work. He said the Guard’s Recruiting Assistance Program, known as G-RAP, spit out confusing regulations.
“It is amazing in our modern military, awash in political correctness, that they would spend so much time and effort to crucify a highly decorated combat warrior rather than celebrate him as the preeminent symbol of what our military now needs more than ever — real heroes,” Mr. Addicott told The Washington Times. “I will continue to fight for these heroes here at our pro bono military justice mission.”
At one point Maj. Suprynowicz received a reprimand, a career ender. But Mr. Addicott argued forcefully in a series of back-and-forth letters that the basis for the reprimand was wrong. Maj. Gen. Clarence K.K. Chinn, Army South commander at Fort Sam Houston, ultimately agreed and ordered it destroyed.
“The CID recklessly attempted to destroy him over false allegations buttressed by false interviews and a most haphazard and cherry-picked reading of the confused G-RAP provisions,” Mr. Addicott wrote to Gen. Chinn on Oct. 26.
The Times featured Maj. Suprynowicz in a February report about the Army’s broad investigation into a recruiting scandal, primarily by National Guardsmen who took bonus money for recruits they never actually recruited.
The CID said it was one of its largest probes in history and could involve $100 million in fraud. The Times examined Army records that showed the proven and suspected fraud sat at just $6 million.
The Guard started the recruiting program in 2005 as continuous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan caused the Guard to miss its end-strength goal of 350,000 troops. The $2,000-per recruit bonus turned into a quick success.
The Guard met manpower needs, but the Army stopped the cash incentives in 2012 after audits revealed fraud.