Hazing News

Old beliefs die hard. The Daily Breeze editors printed a letter advocating sadism in the name of military training.

Regarding the Daily Breeze letter below: Hazing is against the law. Would the Daily Press have printed this letter if
the writer had advocated the value of comitting some other crime involving sadism or masochism? I don’t blame the writer. He believes what he believes. But the Daily Press editors are the gatekeepers, the journalistic watchdogs. I think their editorial judgment was off line here in printing the letter. Carrying a  well-researched article on why such misguided beliefs still exist in the military makes more sense. Moderator

(letter below)

I read with mixed emotions the story of the “hazing” of young Marines at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown (“Marine relieved of command,” Sept. 11). As a former Marine who spent two years in special operation capable units, I can tell you that during my era of service “hazing” was never an issue: It was a matter of fact.

In every elite Marine unit, as well as the entire 6th Marine Infantry regiment, it was a rite of passage when you reported in. I still carry my “burn-in” mark for the Pathfinder platoon of the 22nd MEUSOC, a round white scar the size of a pencil eraser, where another Marine and I laid a lit cigarette lengthwise in the trough formed by our locked forearms and waited until it went out. That was on the first night. It got tougher after that.

The FAST unit at Yorktown is no ordinary detachment; they are, in fact, elite troops expected to perform at a very high level of combat skills. Brutality in training has always been controversial, but the harshness of training in the Marine Corps has paid huge dividends on the battlefield.

I would hope that the NCOs who are charged with maltreatment of subordinates are judged by those who have been shot at.

Ron Inman


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. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

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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