Hazing News

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


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

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; 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 current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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