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Destroyer officers destroy own careers with hazing, harassment directed at female enlistees

This was a complicated hazing incident.  The “Hazing” also has elements of sexual harassment and, though it is military hazing, it also has elements of degrading occupational hazing. Glad the Navy finds such behavior wrong.  Now get rid of the Chief’s ceremony, huh, Navy? –Opinion by Moderator Hank Nuwer

Excerpt:

The action against Cmdr. Kenneth Rice, executive officer of the USS Jason Dunham, and Master Chief Petty Officer Stephen Vandergrifft, the vessel’s top warrant officer, was announced Friday, NBC News reported.

Officials said that on Oct. 15 a chief petty officer ordered 19 women to clean out two non-functioning toilets on the Dunham, which is based in Norfolk, Va. Thirteen of the women were told to march to the dock carrying buckets of human waste and to dump it in two portable toilets.

Lt. Cmdr. Reann Mommsen, a spokeswoman for US Fleet Forces Command, said some of the women were not supplied with proper protective equipment for the job. She also said that the waste could have been disposed of on board the Dunham and ordering the women to walk it to the pier was hazing.

Cmdr. Michael Meredith, the Dunham’s commanding officer, only learned of the incident on Oct. 21 and acted properly once he was told, officials say. Officials said the charges against Rice and Vandergrifft include failing to notify Meredith.

Rice and Vandergrifft were convicted in non-judicial proceedings...

 

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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