Military Hazing and Why It’s Necessary

Military Hazing and Why It’s Necessary

Over the last several years, an influx of suicides by veterans and active duty soldiers and Marines has caused many people to start looking into possible reasons why our nation’s heroes are killing themselves at an unprecedented rate.  Though it is completely obvious that a vast majority of these soldiers are committing suicide due to their combat experiences in the long and protracted “War on Terror”, some would like to use these suicides as fodder to attack military culture and it’s use of hazing.  The real problem here is that many civilians have a disconnect between perceived injustices and the realities of war.  Some people have this idea that it is possible to have a group of men, trained to kill our nation’s enemies, sent to places where they face death on a daily basis, and still expect them to always behave in a civil and polite manner.

Hazing is a matter of life in the military, especially in combat arms units.  It has always been there and hopefully, it will always remain.  This is even more important today than ever.  Today’s young men and women are arguably the most coddled and sensitive group that has ever been thrust upon the military.  They have had their hands held and told how incredibly wonderful they are since they were babies.  The toughest job in the military is Drill Sergeant and trying to get these guys into a mental state prepared to suffer and kill is next to impossible in the short time they have.  Much of the conditioning necessary to get combat arms soldiers and Marines ready is done when they get to their line unit and it is brutal, mean, and necessary.  Everyone gets picked on.  I will say it again, EVERYONE GETS PICKED ON! Those guys who you will call brother will be some of the meanest sons of bitches you will ever meet.  They do this because they know that you will need to be just as mean and just as prepared to do what is necessary when all hell breaks loose.  Believe it or not, it saves lives.

One of the rallying cries for the “anti-hazing” movement is the suicide of Pvt. Danny Chen back in 2011.  After a memorial service for this young soldier was concluded last week many of the people who attended stated that they were keeping his memory alive while reminding the nation that racial hazing is still a problem in the military.  They are naming a street after this kid and there is even an opera being produced based on his life (No, I am not kidding) .  What they fail to mention is that this kid was A TERRIBLE SOLDIER.

Allred said he called for Chen’s relocation because he was concerned about the green soldier repeatedly falling asleep while on guard duty and forgetting equipment, mistakes for which he was and had been punished. New York Daily News

There is nothing that shows a person’s complete and total disregard for his battle buddies than falling asleep while on guard duty.  It might seem like a trivial thing for those who have never been to war, but there is a reason why that up until the 20th century, falling asleep on guard duty was punishable by death.  You are putting everyone on that base in danger to attack and a horrible death at the hands of the enemy.  I am sorry that Chen killed himself, but the truth of the matter was that he was obviously not the caliber of soldier that his comrades needed him to be.  It is likely that his actions would have killed someone or even multiple people had he not killed himself.  The members of his unit had every right to make his life hell.  Most soldiers would have taken the hazing as a learning experience and driven on.  This loser chose to kill himself.  His suicide was a symptom of a weak soldier and not due to any hazing. If you think I’m being harsh, you have obviously never known what it is like to depend on your buddies for your life. Sensitive gets thrown out of the window when people are actively trying to kill you.

A couple years ago, Senator Chu, a vocal advocate for changing the “military culture of hazing”, was on NPR talking about two soldiers who committed suicide, one of which was Danny Chen.  After getting completely disgusted at the interview I sent the following response:

I felt the need to contact you about your interview in regards to military hazing. Both the Marine Lance Cpl. and the army private both fell asleep while on guard duty. Prior to World War I, falling asleep on guard duty was punishable by death. When a soldier or marine falls asleep on guard duty they are literally putting every single person on that firebase or combat outpost in danger. I am not saying that the corrective training that was done to these guys was completely okay, but when you fall sleep on guard duty there’s a potential for every single person there to die. There should be no coddling when you’re talking about being a combat arms soldier or Marine. The fact that both of these guys were so weak willed that after getting beat up a little bit they killed themselves is a pretty good sign as to why they were not quality combat soldiers to begin with. I am not trying to sound dispassionate, but there is no room for weakness in war.


A Combat Arms Veteran (OIF V)

Soldiers are asked to kill people for this nation.  They are supposed to be tough and able to withstand some of the most horrible conditions imaginable.  From the beginning of time soldiers have instituted certain training and behavior to help get young men ready to do what only a small group of people are able to do.  This training and subsequent punishments doled out once the new soldier arrives at his duty station are necessary and they save lives.  Civilians don’t have the slightest idea what it takes to go to war nor what it takes to survive one.  These people who feel it is their responsibility to try and change military culture should stop, step back, and realize that they have no idea what they are talking about.  Maybe they can stop and thank soldiers for what they do instead of telling them how to do it.

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