Minutes after returning to his room after a long day of training Iraqi soldiers, Spc. Jarett Wright heard the door open.
Three of his fellow soldiers entered and pushed him down on the bed. Wright struggled, but the other soldiers were too strong.
Two of them — both sergeants — held him down by the shoulders. Another grabbed his legs.
The soldiers ripped off Wright’s belt and tore off his pants and underwear.
Taking turns, the sergeants grabbed Wright’s genitals while the third soldier repeatedly shoved a finger into his anus.
The attack lasted about a minute. But Wright was not the first, nor the last, soldier in C Troop, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, to endure this kind of assault. The unit calls itself “Crazy Troop.”
Wright, who spoke to Army Times about what happened to him, said all the new guys in the troop experienced some sort of initiation. However, the initiations escalated with attacks on him and two other specialists, he said. The two other victims also described identical attacks in interviews with Army Times.
Incredible. Read the whole damn thing. Be prepared to vomit.
The Army has really dropped the ball if the only punishment meted out has been to the direct participants in this. Four soldiers charged, two convicted, one acquitted, one trial pending.
But what of the chain of command? III Corps seems to have taken its sweet time in initiating an AR-15-6 investigation. Why didn’t the senior leadership relieve some people? At a minimum, the Troop Commander, and 1SG, and the platoon leader and platoon sergeant should have been relieved.
Look, I’m not a saint, and I’m not some pansy that faints at the mere hint of hazing and playing hard.
I was suspended in high school for hazing. I deserved it. But this sort of attack isn’t hazing. It’s rape. It isn’t an initiation. It’s bullying and preying on the weak. And it is utterly against Army Values, either the flowery words the Army promotes, or the deeply held convictions of real soldiers of what it means to be a soldier.
This crap doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Someone in the chain of command had to know something was going on. And if they didn’t, that should be grounds for relieving them. NCOs and officers are paid to know what is going on in the ranks.
Look, there’s good clean fun. New to a unit? Get a promotion or a medal? Count on getting a “dogpile” where you’re tackled and your whole platoon leaps on top of you in a massive pile. A few bruises, and a lot of chuckles. An occasional game of grabass in the ranks? Meh. We never played “swipe the credit card” but a popular pastime in formation waiting to fall in was to tap the guy in front of you in the nuts with your rifle barrel. But I think most folks understand that there’s a pretty good distance from that to pinning a guy down, stripping him, and penetrating him.
So now, because a Troop had piss poor leadership, the Army is out 7 troops. The four attackers, and the three victims.
If a troop commander lost 7 troops in combat due to stupidity, you can bet there’d be pressure to relieve them. Why not here? Well, already, all the leadership has moved on. Let’s hope the Army can catch up to them and put a big red NO-GO stamp on their careers. Leadership is key to a successful Army. Bad leadership is devastating.