Senator Gillibrand Calls For Investigation Into Military Hazing and Racism

kirsten gillibrand Senator Gillibrand Calls For Investigation Into Military Hazing and Racism

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (Getty)

In the wake of the death of Manhattan soldier Private Danny Chen, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand wants the Defense Department to conduct a system-wide review of incidents of hazing and racial discrimination in the armed services.

Private Chen, 19, died from what was ruled a self inflicted gunshot wound in October. In the months prior to his death, he wrote family members describing suffering bad treatment at the hands of his fellow soldiers including verbal abuse, being pelted with rocks and held upside down. The military charged eight people with wrongdoing in connection with his death.

“My deepest condolences go out to the Chen family,” Senator Gillibrand said in a statement. “I cannot imagine what they are going through as they mourn the senseless loss of their son. No soldier should have to mentally or physically fear another soldier. There is no room for discrimination and mistreatment in our military. We need to ensure that those responsible for this type of abuse are held accountable and we must take steps to prevent any more tragedies from happening.”

Senator Gillibrand, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also sent a letter to Dr. Joanne Rooney, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, asking for details about the processes by which hazing incidents are reported and resolved. “Private Chen’s case is not the first instance of alleged hazing of an Asian American serving in the military. It is outrageous that any man or woman serving our country would be subject to discrimination or harassment, Senator Gillibrand wrote. “I have heard military leaders state that hazing is not tolerated by the U.S. military. Given these cases, it is important for the strength of our armed forces and their relationship with America’s diverse communities that there be a close examination of the following issues.”

Read Senator Gillibrand’s full letter below.

 

Dear Dr. Rooney,

We are all deeply saddened by the death of Army Private Daniel Chen. While I am pleased to see that the Army is taking this very seriously and has moved to transfer and charge eight soldiers in the case, I am concerned that this case could be emblematic of a broader issue that needs to be closely reviewed and immediately addressed.

As you know, Private Chen’s case is not the first instance of alleged hazing of an Asian American serving in the military. It is outrageous that any man or woman serving our country would be subject to discrimination or harassment. I have heard military leaders state that hazing is not tolerated by the U.S. military. Given these cases, it is important for the strength of our armed forces and their relationship with America’s diverse communities that there be a close examination of the following issues:

Is there a report provided to your office of instances of hazing by type, service, command, and location? If so, I would like to receive it.

What type and quantity of training is provided to both officers and recruits with respect to hazing and racial, religious, gender or other types of discrimination?

Is there additional training prior to deployment?

What is the standard procedure by commanding officers when incidents of hazing are reported?

What is the process for reporting such incidents outside one’s chain of command?

What are the disciplinary and/or legal repercussions for such incidents? Please provide a report of actions taken in the instances reported in the first bullet point.

I would be pleased to work with you in this matter and would like a briefing for my office in the next few weeks on the issues raised herein and any other that would be appropriate related matters.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    As a Vietnam Veteran I find these hazing incidences to be disgusting.  We we taught to depend on one another, regardless of personal differences; the man you harass today may be the one your life depends upon tomorrow. How can men fight an enemy of America when he perceives an enemy in his ranks? That can only lead to chaos and defeat.

    I read where this also happened within the ranks of my fellow Marines. Has boot training changed so drastically that we are no longer a brotherhood? 

    All bigots need to be weeded out. There should be no place for such people in the military, where everybody’s life depends on everybody else. If there is no cohesion within the ranks, there is no military.

    Our recruit training should include ways to eliminate the hatred that leads to bigotry; and it should be such that any and all unrepentant bigots be discharged dishonorably as soon as they are identified.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What racism? And why does Gillibrand try to look like a man?