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Marine commandant 'outraged' over hazing incidents

marine January 31, 1997
Web posted at: 2:09 p.m. EST (1909 GMT)

From Military Affairs Correspondent Jamie McIntyre

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The top officer of the Marine Corps on Friday condemned hazing incidents in which young Marine graduates of a paratrooper school had their metal insignias pounded into their chests by fellow Marines.

"I am outraged that Marines would participate in such disgusting behavior," Marine Corps Commandant Charles Krulak said. "There is absolutely no excuse for this type of behavior."

CNN has obtained videotape that graphically depicts the 1991 and 1993 "blood-winging" hazing incidents at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

In the video, Marines scream and writhe in pain as the sharp posts of their metal insignias -- called "jump wings" -- are pushed through their T-shirts and into the skin. As the Marines struggle to remain standing, the pins are manipulated and, in some cases, are pounded into the flesh by their peers from the elite paratrooper unit.



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Nine Marines, including one officer, are being investigated in connection with the incidents.

The probe began after the videotape surfaced. It shows a group of about 35 Marines taking part in the banned ritual.

Such rituals are strictly prohibited by the Marine Corps, and those found guilty of the hazing or improper initiation rituals are subject to court-martial and expulsion from the Corps.

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Since 1994, 52 Marines have been court-martialed for hazing and another 34 have been reprimanded or received non-judicial punishment.

Of the 35 Marines who can be seen on the 1991 amateur videotape, 27 have been identified by the Marine Corps, and only nine are still on active duty. Most are enlisted men but one is a lieutenant.

The statute of limitations for courts-martial is five years, but if the nine Marines being investigated are found to have broken the rules they could still be punished or ejected from the Corps.

The results of the investigation could be announced as early as Friday.

The Marine Corps said it was not aware of the incidents until the video was brought to its attention.

 
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