Around fifteen Marines have been forced out of the service since June over accusations of hazing- part of the Corps’ renewed crackdown on the practice.
California-based 1st Marine Corps Spokesman 1st Lieutenant Paul Gainey reported that 15 Marines were administratively separated and one convicted of Article 92 (failure to obey an order or regulation) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Another Marine was given a punishment at the Court-Martial.
The Marines belonged to a myriad of units, including 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, and 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, both based at Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center 29 Palms, California; and 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, based at Camp Pendleton.
All cases were adjudicated after the arrival of the new 1st Marine Division Commander, Brigadier General Eric Smith.
“It was a problem that [Smith] saw when he arrived,” Gainey said. “There were three allegations of hazing when he got on deck. I think he saw it right away.
According to Military.com, the General released an email saying he had to act after being metaphorically “flipped the bird” by junior Marines.
“I’m not here to inflict group punishment, but my assessment is that I’ve just been flipped the bird by lots of lance corporals, so I am headed their way to demonstrate this is an unwise [course of action],” he wrote, mentioning that hazing incidents included physical assault, making Marines drink alcohol against their will, and forced haircuts.
“As I have stated before, hazing threatens the strength of our small units and directly impacts our combat readiness,” he wrote. “Hazing, much like drug abuse, sexual assault and other criminal misconduct, is not acceptable.”
So unacceptable, in fact, that Smith has no problem throwing his rank around to quell the situation before it gets out of hand.
“I have a strong personality and am in a position of authority, so I am obligated to ensure that none of you interpret my message against hazing as directing any specific outcome for any particular case,” he said. “More important than my desire to stamp out hazing is our collective requirement to adhere to our constitution and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”
The US Marines have been plagued with hazing incidents from boot camp to the barracks, with several high-profile cases making the news in the past two years.
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