Hazing Incident Leaves Soldier With 6 Staples in Head
WWMT TV (CBS), Aug. 30, 2012
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – A disturbing case of military hazing was caught on video, and the soldier’s father is furious about what happened to his son.
The video of Sergeant Phillip Roach’s “rite of passage” as the Army calls it, is hard to watch.
What happens afterward, however, might be worse.
The video shows Sergeant Roach being struck in the chest with an instrument that appears to be a wooden mallet, and after a brief period, he fell backwards striking his head, opening a cut which required six staples to close.
After Sgt. Roach hit the ground, his father says he started seizing.
“I was told that nobody came to his rescue right away,” Ken Roach said. “His fiance was there, and she knelt down next to him to comfort him, and nobody really responded until his commander came in.”
Ken Roach is an 8-year Army veteran himself, and no stranger to hazing.
He even felt it necessary to call President Obama, and the Department of the Army sent back a letter, which acknowledged the ‘unauthorized ceremony,’ calling it a “clear incident of hazing that caused in jury to a great soldier.”
Read related post on traditional hazing rituals in the U.S. military
The letter also says that First Sergeant Carpenter, who strikes Roach in the video, has been reprimanded, but Ken says it’s not enough.
We reached out to the Department of Defense, the Public Affairs office for the Secretary of the Army and the White House with regards to this story.
When we hear anything from them, we’ll let you know.
Following is a statement from Sen. Carl Levin:
“I am very concerned about this hazing incident, and I am asking the Army to urgently review it. Preventing and responding to incidents of hazing is a leadership issue that requires action at senior levels of the Army. Earlier this year, the Senate Armed Services Committee, which I chair, adopted a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 that requires the service secretaries, in consultation with the service chiefs, to report to the committee on hazing in their services.”
This story comes out days after a soldier from an Alaska-based Army unit was sentenced Monday to about three months in prison and demoted to private for his role in the suicide of Pvt. Danny Chen, who authorities say killed himself because he was hazed over his Chinese ancestry.
I-Team: Was A Crime Committed In Military Hazing?
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) The I-Team is digging deeper into the alleged Fort Bragg military hazing incident, regarding whether or not a crime was actually committed.
Two recent high profile military hazing cases prompted Congress to hold hearings earlier this year to see what the Pentagon was doing to prevent hazing from happening.
At that hearing in March, all of the leaders of the branches of the military said all the right things.
Just a few weeks after this hearing, the incident with Sgt. Phillip Roach happened.
Roach’s family says this should result in severe consequences, not just what the military is calling a minor offense.
Friday, the I-Team discussed the case with a local prosecutor as to whether a crime was committed, because the soldier knew he was going to be hit.
The prosecutor said, “consent has to be freely and willingly given. When you have outside forces that are pushing you to the point where you acquiesce and are not necessarily willing to do it, that’s where you are crossing the line.”
Which appears to mean that even if someone technically consents to getting hit in this case, as Sgt. Roach did, the person striking somebody is still responsible.
Despite the video, the Army doesn’t appear to be leveling serious military charges against the soldier who did it.
Leaders React to News of Fort Bragg Hazing
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – New developments have already begun to emerge regarding a hazing story we broke Thursday night.
The incident is now getting national attention.
A local soldier was injured after being struck in the chest by a mallet.
A day later, everyone is reacting, from the man’s father, to Michigan’s congressional delegation to the military’s top brass.
Ken Roach sent Newschannel 3 a video of his son at a promotion ceremony, as Battle Creek native and Army Sergeant Phillip Roach is stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Roach gets hit in the chest by a large wooden mallet, and wobbles for a second before falling to the ground and hitting his head.
He then has seizures and is rushed to the hospital.
His father, an 8-year veteran who knows about hazing believes the incident went too far.
“You sign your kids up to go to the military, you know that their life is in danger, but you don’t expect to get a phone call that says he had seizures because someone hit him with a wooden mallet,” Roach said.
The Army sent back a letter to Ken Roach, acknowledging the unauthorized ceremony and calling it a clear incident of hazing that caused injury to a great soldier.
Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said, “I am very concerned about this hazing incident and I am asking the Army to urgently review it.
“Preventing and responding to incidents of hazing is a leadership issue that requires action at senior levels of the Army,” Sen. Levin continued.
Senator Debbie Stabenow weighed in on the issue as well, saying “this video is very disturbing; hazing is a very serious issue.
“The Army must thoroughly investigate this incident, hold those responsible accountable, and address the problem to ensure it does not happen again,” Sen. Stabenow said.
Lawmakers Weigh-in on Army Hazing Case
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – After Newschannel 3’s exclusive look Thursday night at a Battle Creek soldier’s disturbing military rite of passage, we’re getting calls from lawmakers and military leaders alike.
Back in April, a fellow soldier recorded Phillip Roach’s unauthorized promotion ceremony at Fort Bragg, just weeks after hazing related suicides at Fort Bragg led to Congressional hearings.
On Capitol Hill, military leaders promised to crack down on the practice.
The video stops short of showing seizures Roach’s father says his son experienced as a result of the blow.
His father came to Newschannel 3, concerned about the hazing and how the military responded to it.
Ken Roach said that as of Friday night, his son is being ordered to complete tasks not common to the rank of Sergeant, as a result of coming forward about the incident.
While U.S. legislators are calling for decisive action, the Army says it’s done everything it plans to do.
I am very concerned about this hazing incident, and I am asking the Army to urgently review it. Preventing and responding to incidents of hazing is a leadership issue that requires action at senior levels of the Army. Earlier this year, the Senate Armed Services Committee, which I chair, adopted a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 that requires the service secretaries, in consultation with the service chiefs, to report to the committee on hazing in their services — Senator Carl Levin, Chairman Senate Armed Services Committee
A Lieutenant Colonel from Fort Bragg said that, “corrective action was promptly taken,” and that the soldier was “punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”
The Army says the Sergeant wielding the mallet in the video “received a significant punishment, that will always be in his record,” but Roach strongly disagrees.
“Just the Article 15 and a $1,000 fine, and the letter of reprimand,” Roach said. “Yeah, it will stay in his record, but it will probably get put behind somewhere and after a year he’ll be promoted.”
Phillip suffered bruising on his chest, staples in his head from the fall, and we learned from doctors that the blow may have caused a condition called commotio cortis, which can be fatal up to 65 percent of the time.
“If it had been an E5 or below, they would have been reduced down to E1 or even put in the stockade,” Ken Roach said.
The Army says Sgt. First Class Carpenter gets to keep his E-7 status, but “he’s been transferred to another base and is no longer directly responsible for soldiers.”
Ken Roach told Newschannel 3 he received two phone calls tonight–one from Brigadier General Charles Flynn, the Deputy Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne, and Col. Patrick J. Hynes, the Brigade Commander.
Roach says both men apologized and expressed regret for what his son experienced.
Col. Hynes promised to call in Sgt. Roach’s entire command chain first thing in the morning, to make sure Phillip isn’t being treated any differently as a result of reporting the incident, Roach said.
Hynes also gave his word he would make sure no one–not Sgt. Roach, nor any other soldier–gets singled out.
Filed under: Resources Tagged: | 82nd Airborne Hazing Ceremonies, Army Promotion Ceremony Hazing, Brigadier General Charles Flynn Deputy Commanding General 82nd Airborne, Danny Chen, Fort Bragg, Investigation, Ken Roach, Senator Carl Levin, Sgt First Class Capenter, Sgt Phillip Roach Hazing