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Old 10-05-2018, 02:29 PM
 
Location: East Helena, MT
763 posts, read 478,094 times
Reputation: 2003

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I am at a loss for words. I just found out that my Nephew, who joined the Army 7 months ago, is on his way to a medical retirement due to hazing. He was conducting training after boot camp at Fort Polk. He and 3 other trainees violated the standing orders of the Staff Sergeant (senior NCO at the time) by walking to the PX last Saturday to get some snacks. The Staff Sergeant had restricted junk food for everyone while in training. As punishment, he ordered the 4 trainees to drink 2 gallons of water, put garbage bags on under their PT uniform, and run until they threw up all of the water. 2 of the 4 threw up right away, and were allowed to return to the barracks. My Nephew and another trainee didn't, so they were ordered to drink another gallon of water and keep running. My nephew went into cardiac arrest 10 minutes later. When he collapsed, the Staff Sergeant thought he was faking and told everyone to stand back. The other trainee ignored him and started CPR. CPR was continued until he was life flighted to a civilian hospital where he was placed on life support. He survived, but not without permanent heart damage. His heart is only moving about half of the blood it should. He is going to undergo some further tests, but right now, it appears that he will need an artificial heart valve, due to severe leakage. He is 19 years old and has congestive heart failure.


The Staff Sergeant has been relieved of duties until a formal investigation is completed. The other trainee was also treated for water toxicity. Because he is 6 foot 4 and 220 lbs, he was able to handle the large amount of water better than my 5 foot 9, 155 lb Nephew.


My Nephew is devastated. I just can't believe that we still have idiots in todays military that think that hazing is OK. Especially those that are in charge of recent enlistees, who want to fit in, and are more likely to go along with hazing. I hope that the Staff Sergeant is Court Martialed.
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Old 10-05-2018, 05:31 PM
 
6,696 posts, read 2,608,873 times
Reputation: 18245
I'm so sorry that happened. It's amazing that only your nephew was harmed - that amount of water can easily cause the deadly condition of hyponatremia (water intoxication).

I hope he's court-martialed too, and your nephew is able to settle civilly for a large amount although my guess is that doesn't typically happen in military training.

Prayers for miraculous healing for him.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318619.php
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Old 10-05-2018, 06:19 PM
 
9,345 posts, read 15,780,146 times
Reputation: 17142
I'm sorry to hear that. I am certain a court martial is in the sergeant's future.
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Old 10-05-2018, 06:28 PM
 
Location: Newport Beach, California
31,385 posts, read 18,420,530 times
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I am so sorry to hear this.
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Old 10-06-2018, 04:44 PM
Status: "I can retire today...but I love my job so...." (set 23 days ago)
 
Location: USA
550 posts, read 196,003 times
Reputation: 1527
Please keep us updated both on your nephew’s condition and as the Army determines the next step for the sgt.
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Old 10-06-2018, 04:48 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
32,101 posts, read 39,155,933 times
Reputation: 40500
I wish to add that he should likely be set up for counseling. Involuntarily separating for medical reasons is depressing. His situation is orders of magnitude worse.
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Old 10-07-2018, 11:47 AM
 
1,923 posts, read 1,325,614 times
Reputation: 3021
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericsvibe View Post
I am at a loss for words. I just found out that my Nephew, who joined the Army 7 months ago, is on his way to a medical retirement due to hazing.

The sergeant will be lucky if he ONLY gets a BCD or dishonorable, given the gravity of the offense. He may wind up doing a stretch in Leavenworth if the brass really wants to send a message and the political climate is right for it.
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Old 10-07-2018, 12:53 PM
 
Location: Chasing horses and watching circuses in Atropia.
209 posts, read 84,398 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Led Zeppelin View Post
The sergeant will be lucky if he ONLY gets a BCD or dishonorable, given the gravity of the offense. He may wind up doing a stretch in Leavenworth if the brass really wants to send a message and the political climate is right for it.
Remember that all you are hearing is one side of the story and given the use of the word "trainee", a civilian at that.
I'm not at all saying it didn't happen, but I doubt a civilian knows the full scope of the situation or the training at Fort Polk. Furthermore, I am willing to bet the seven month in the army private has a similar amount of knowledge. Nothing wrong with it, his lens is very narrow due to the lack of experience all new guys have.

It is possible that the event at Polk triggered something that may have happened later on when there was no easy life flight options. Polk keeps Cajun Dustoff on standby 24/7. They are good and given the number of evacs every month, VERY experienced.

Outside looking in, the investigation will likely show a ton of lapses in judgement by the SSG.

I would be curious as to what post the nephew was from so I can narrow it down to what rotation.

Hope the kid gets better and enjoys the rest of his long life.
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Old 10-09-2018, 09:39 AM
 
Location: East Helena, MT
763 posts, read 478,094 times
Reputation: 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by abnfdc View Post
Remember that all you are hearing is one side of the story and given the use of the word "trainee", a civilian at that.
I'm not at all saying it didn't happen, but I doubt a civilian knows the full scope of the situation or the training at Fort Polk. Furthermore, I am willing to bet the seven month in the army private has a similar amount of knowledge. Nothing wrong with it, his lens is very narrow due to the lack of experience all new guys have.

It is possible that the event at Polk triggered something that may have happened later on when there was no easy life flight options. Polk keeps Cajun Dustoff on standby 24/7. They are good and given the number of evacs every month, VERY experienced.

Outside looking in, the investigation will likely show a ton of lapses in judgement by the SSG.

I would be curious as to what post the nephew was from so I can narrow it down to what rotation.

Hope the kid gets better and enjoys the rest of his long life.


First off, I am not a civilian. I am retired Navy. I used the word trainee because that is exactly what my Nephew is. He graduated basic, and is attached to Fort Sam Houston. He was training to be a Combat Medic. He hasn't graduated his A school, hence my usage of the word trainee. In the Navy, when someone was striking a new rating, they were called a trainee until they graduated and earned their new rating. I don't know what the Army calls a greenhorn straight out of boot.


I also don't need to know the specific training being conducted to know that this was nothing more than hazing. If someone violates the standing orders, you punish them by making them stand additional watches, take away liberty, give them additional collateral duties. You don't order them to drink a bunch of water until they go into cardiac arrest. Was there a lack of judgment, absolutely. That being said, NCO's in charge of recruits, and recent graduates, have to be held to a higher standard. This was an abuse of power. Here is the definition of hazing per the DOD.


Any conduct through which a military member or members, or a Department of Defense civilian employee or employees, without proper military or other governmental purpose but with a nexus to military service or Department of Defense civilian employment, physically or psychologically injure or create a risk of physical or psychological injury to one or more military members, Department of Defense civilian employees, or any other persons for the purpose of initiation into, admission into, affiliation with, change in status or position within, or as a condition for continued membership in any military or Department of Defense civilian organization.




For the comment that this may have been preexisting, that has already been ruled out. The Cardiologist that is treating him has already determined that the death of heart tissue was caused by lack of oxygen, which was caused by cardiac arrest due to water toxicity. The only variable right now is if he will need an artificial heart valve. As of today, he has a significant leakage at the valve that brings the blood in from the artery. Because of this, blood is leaking back out, severely affecting blood flow.


Right now my Nephew is in shock, and denial. He is hoping that the leakage will go away and he will be able to go back to active duty.
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Old 10-09-2018, 10:23 AM
 
Location: Newport Beach, California
31,385 posts, read 18,420,530 times
Reputation: 12142
Just my .02 as a civilian.

Does hazing still exist? Whenever you ask if a very broadly defined action is present in any very large entity, the answer is always yes. If you really want a satisfactory answer, terms need to be more clearly defined.

For example, my brother went through something called gold wing pinning ceremony a long time ago, he was very proud of it, but now, it is considered "hazing".

I think there is also what some would call “hazing,” and some would call “team building.” The difference is whether or not the group involved knows their crowd and expectation of turnabout. Some actions are clearly wrong. Some are a little more on the gray side of things.

I think good natured rights of passage are a great way to build teams. However, hazing (like whatever used on your nephew to cause him harm) is never necessary.

He is only 19 years old and now he is suffering permanent heart damage. Clearly there is something seriously wrong with the training, hazing, whatever has been used on him. It is not right.

As a CIVILIAN, I have to ASSUME that Generally speaking, military professionals know how to discipline troops to build them up rather than break them down. Just as importantly, a military professional can weed out the weak men from the strong so they do not hurt their unit. Neither process requires "hazing" to cause people permanent heart damage.
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