Criminal hazing: Raped by his fellow soldiers – Army News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq – Army Times


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.

via Criminal hazing: Raped by his fellow soldiers – Army News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq – 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.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Criminal hazing: Raped by his fellow soldiers – Army News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq – Army Times

  1. There’s a code when it comes to being a man, especially when it relates to toughness and another man. You take it. You take the punch in the arm, the slap on the face. You run the extra mile, do the extra pushup. You endure the ridicule that boys/men will ulitmately dish out to boys/men.

    It never includes several men holding another man down and doing these kinds of things. This wasn’t hazing, it was rape. It was wrong. It was criminal.

    Tim

  2. LT Rusty

    Love to hear Actus Rhesus’ thoughts on this …

  3. navyone

    Wow, this is disgusting. Bring ‘em up on charges. If guilty, get rid of them with a dishonorable discharge. . .

  4. Mark Dunlap SFC Rigger (Ret).

    110% agree….this is beyond sick, twisted, and just plain WRONG!!!!!

  5. Grumpy

    If this is proven by the evidence to be true, they should be brought to trial in a Military Court of Law. If found guilty, they should NOT be discharged under any circumstances. They should be sent to “Corrective Custody for the Rest of their Natural Lives, with No Possibility of Parole.” Corrective Custody means they do everything and I mean, everything, by the whistle. Yes, I want to make an example to the whole world, that this behavior is not acceptable. Just because there is an article on this alleged event, does not mean that it actually occurred. But, if the evidence shows it, then it was a message and I believe that this is the appropriate response to that message.

    • Four soldiers charged, two convicted, one acquitted, one trial pending.

      For good or ill, the attackers have faced, or are pending court martial. My concern is, why hasn’t the chain of command been held accountable for allowing this climate to develop and persist?

  6. Grumpy

    Brad, is this case closed? Have they been sentenced? In your view, how far up in the “Chain of Command”, bears responsibility in this event? This did not “just happen”, but who bears responsibility? Is this just the result of a “few bad apples” or is this the result of a “serious flaw” in our whole military system? There may be many parts to this problem. How does this behavior reflect on the service as a whole? Brad, my objective is to as completely open questions to get to the real truth. In my view, I can see many reasons why an event like this may have happened, but none of them are acceptable excuses. The real answers may come from the victim, those in immediate command to those who are/were in command on higher levels. For the record, yes, I am talking about the whole War on Terror and the Bush/Obama Presidencies with all of the associated “Congress Critters”. I am just leaving everything on the table, there is plenty of blame to go around.

    • Courts martial have been held or are pending for the offenders. Not much to say about that.

      An AR15-6 investigation into the unit is ongoing.

      I sincerely doubt this is a terribly widespread problem. That is to say, I doubt that rape as a form of initiation is rampant. Is hazing happening with increasing frequency? I don’t know. Could be. The strain of 10 years of war is showing. Lots of people are getting promoted awfully fast. Most of them do well, but some should never have been promoted. But no, I don’t think it is a “serious flaw” throughout the force.

      Have the definition of hazing been dumbed down to “any level of grabass that wouldn’t look good at Sunday School?” Again, I don’t know. Infantry units are fraternities of a sort. A true brotherhood. And anytime you gather a bunch of young men together, hijinks will happen. But these incidents aren’t hijinks.

      As to who should be fired, at a minimum, the Troop (company) Commander and the First Sergeant, and I’d have to seriously consider the Battalion CO and Command Sergeant Major. Are they criminally culpable? Not that I can tell. But how any higher commander could continue to have confidence in their ability to command/lead is a mystery to me. I’m certainly willing to hear from the officers who read this blog on their thoughts on the matte, as to firing the Bn CDR. But from the NCO side of the house, as I said above, it’s NCO’s JOB to know what is happening. Either they didn’t know, or knew and didn’t stop it. Unacceptable.

  7. Grumpy

    Brad, I don’t know all of the facts in this case, but if the AR15-6 investigation into the unit is still ongoing, there are no conclusions.

    To be honest, this does not add up. The investigation of the unit and the offenders, both need to be complete before there is a finding. You make a valid point about the length of time of the war. My question is this, are we talking about 10 years or 20 years of warfare, going back to Persian Gulf War under GEN Schwarzkopf or just after 9/11? I tend to think we are talking more of the former, rather than the latter. If you understand the Arabian culture, it supports this perspective.

    The concepts that you suggest that this was mere playing around or hijinks, simply does not wash. The behavior of one or more of the troops reflects on the force in totality. This is the reason for the stressing of discipline on all levels. You suggest, “firing” certain levels of the chain of command. But you also raise the question of “criminal culpability”, as long as the investigations are going on, they may be criminally liable under both Military and Federal Law. We live in the Post–Watergate era, every body wants to use some form of strategy derived from the “Plausible–Deniability” foundation. In the military, responsibility for behavior lies with the individuals, the Non-Commissioned Officers, the Commissioned Officers and the Command.

    Part of this problem, lies in the type of offense, it is classified as a “Sexual Offense”. It does not matter if it is male on female, female on male, female on female or male on male. As long as this is not consensual, it is a crime. It may go to a Military Court and he could wind up before the US Supreme Court.

    We can respectfully disagree, but I do not want to become disagreeable. You make some very good points, at the end, you make your most important point, it does not matter why the NCO’S or the CO’S didn’t get involved. No matter what their use use is, it is not acceptable.

  8. Esli

    The officers’ job is to establish a climate that says that this behavior is unacceptable. The NCOs’ job is to enforce it. The army’s senior leadership has clearly said hazing in any form is a no-go, and it is now all of our responsibility to promulgate that at our own echelons. In my opinion, the problems lie in a couple of areas. First, the threshold of what constitute hazing has definitely changed. I personally hit, and got hit with, a 2×4 board in the company classroom, and even in the company day-room 25 years ago, with the full knowledge of the CO CDR. It was okay then, but I don’t believe so any more…. Now, even corrective training is hazing. What occurred in the article is unacceptable, then or now, however. Why did it happen? First, unless the issue is raised to the chain of command, said chain of command has no idea what happens out on a dispersed platoon patrol base or JSS. Second, leaders, particularly junior leaders, are younger and more inexperienced than ever, leaving them perhaps unwilling to do what is right. Third, peer pressure has, and always will, exist, allowing events like this to continue. Now, the article did talk about stuff occuring in garrison settings, such as on bus rides to training, and you see the slippery slope from stupid but minor stuff building to major events, because no one stopped it early on. I saw a troop commander and 1SG relieved because a kid got pummeled so hard during a promotion that he had internal injuries and had to be evacuated. It is appropriate to fire the most senior leader who 1) failed to establish a standard; and/or 2) ignored violations when he knew about it. But if there is one thing I have learned, it is impossible to know everything that goes on in a unit. If no one told him, don’t go on a witch hunt; this isn’t the navy.