Leaders removed from Georgia-based Guard unit in Kosovo after hazing investigation

More than a dozen leaders from a Georgia-based National Guard company deployed for peace-keeping duties in Kosovo have been removed from the unit following a U.S. Army investigation into hazing. From John Vandiver and Stars and Stripes newspaper in Stuttgart, Germany:

“The ones pulled out were all NCOs and officers. Right now, we have a total of 17,” Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling said in an interview with Stars and Stripes. “Some have committed more serious offenses than others.”

Among those reassigned was the commander of the company, which is from Georgia’s 3rd Squadron, 108th Cavalry Regiment, Hertling said.

Hertling declined to go into detail about the nature of the abuses, citing the continuing investigation that is expected to result in formal charges within a week. However, Hertling said that many of the problems stemmed from “excessive physical demands” on soldiers in an attempt to initiate them into the unit.

“Think of the opening scenes to (the film) ‘G.I. Jane’ with the SEALs,” Hertling said, referring to a film about a woman who enters special operations-style training and is put to the test.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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50 comments Add your comment

Eric

February 24th, 2012
5:38 pm

Seriously? These are the guys we entrust to protect us? They can’t even protect each other. WTF?

Scruffydog

February 24th, 2012
5:39 pm

This world has lost it’s mind. How bad could it be. It’s the Air Cav. Pull up your panties and deal with it.

Bernie

February 24th, 2012
5:46 pm

Today’s, American soldiers behavior is a microcosim of similar behavior reflected in the general population. However, this is a surprising story to hear this behavior is going on in this war time enviroment with a national Guard unit espcially since their direct involvement with all of America’s ongoing conflicts.. These unit members tend to be a little older in age, more experienced in life and in work.

This is a clear reflection of the failure of unit leadership and management. As in the occurence in New Orleans during the hurricaine. In the event of any state emergency, I now, know I must have pause when confronted for any reason by these units members, as I currently do with all local police agencies. They may, not all be there to serve and protect.

double

February 24th, 2012
5:57 pm

Georgia units huh? Under the leadership of Deal appointees I suppose.

Eric

February 24th, 2012
6:02 pm

Scruffy dog…you’re a throw back from a different era. Time to grow up. Hazing is about pain and control inflicted on a comrade, not about proving your manly abilities. It’s about time people learned to respect each other. Now don’t get me wrong, a little kidding is just fine. But when that “kidding” crosses the line to inflicting pain…that goes too far. You would feel differently if this was your daughter. And the panty comment…so childish.

Devildog

February 24th, 2012
6:22 pm

Hey, Eric, it’s the same kind of bullets coming at you. Gotta say this: After my three month summer camp at Parris Island, never saw hazing in my regular Marine units. There’s a lotta respect among all us guys who made it off that island with an Eagle, Globe and Anchor stamped on our brains. Guess the NG doesn’t have that same respect.

blake

February 24th, 2012
6:26 pm

This is not an Air Cav unit it is a LRS unit and the leaders (Senior NCOs and officers) of this unit are not appointed by the Gov.

HOOAH

February 24th, 2012
6:55 pm

“Pull up your panties and deal with it.” I agree with this statement for the most part. No harm No Foul. “Hazing” can be considered team building and “team building” can be considered hazing. Think about that one.

USMC DAWG

February 24th, 2012
7:02 pm

When will they be isued their pink tu-tu’s and ballet shoes? Good God I can’t believe how sensitive the military has become. Does the USMC still allow “blood striping” for their NCO promotions? What about “blood winging” for the recon/ANGLICO Marines?

jeff

February 24th, 2012
7:29 pm

Hey Dog and Dawg: Why don’t you trot on over to the NG recruiter and re-enlist and put your money where your mouth is? Bet you never even served in a forward area.

Lo

February 24th, 2012
7:40 pm

GA National Guard = corruption. My husband is in the guard and the things I hear are shocking- can’t believe people get away with this stuff.

Ole Guy

February 24th, 2012
7:47 pm

The article doesn’t specifically point out the nature of the hazing. However, throughout my somewhat checkered military career, I have experienced, first hand, observed, and doled out what many within the civilian community may view with disdain. With extremely rare exception (I might stress…EXTREMELY rare), these, what we refered to as “special/extra training” all had a purpose. Though, at any particular moment, there may have been an element of doubt, what the civilian community does not, cannot, and will never understand is the nature of the unknown; the unimagined demands placed upon those who dare tread where others simply chose to (mentaly) suck their thumbs.

I have no doubt the soldier in question felt “violated”; felt, somehow, wronged. Maybe he was; maybe he simply felt, for the very first time in his life, that he had to pull, deep down within himself, the courage to simply ADAPT, ADJUST, and, against all (perceived) odds, PREVAIL.

If the Stars and Stripes, and the AJC are going to smear the long-standing practices within Special Operations…practices which have enabled the FEW to endure hardship far beyond the imaginations of the protected…perhaps they should get the full story first. For a supposedly responsible General Officer to leak this story to the press without first ensuring full disclosure of the facts is, indeed, irresponsible.

Armorguy

February 24th, 2012
7:49 pm

As a past member of 1-108th Armor (now 1-108th Cavalry) it’s disgusting 1) to see this kind of behavior in a cavalry unit, 2) that officers seem to have participated or ignored it, and 3) that previous posters fail to realize that “hazing” is, in reality, usually “assault and battery”.

Hazing is not “team building”. Hazing is not about “how bad can it be”.

Hazing destroys unit cohesion and morale. Hazing makes units combat ineffective. Hazing, at it’s extremes and it’s been seen in Iraq and Afghanistan, cause soldiers to commit suicide.

If you think it isn’t you can rest assured you would have lasted a very, very short time under my command.

John

February 24th, 2012
7:50 pm

Rather broad brush there Lo and all. Let’s not let the actions of a few tarnish the name of a good organization. The men and women of the Georgia National Guard have sacrificed a lot over the last decade to serve their country. With few exceptions they have done this professionally and honorably. This is not representative of the Georgia National Guard.

LtCol (Retired)

February 24th, 2012
7:55 pm

Probably politically correct overkill from today’s military leaders. All of us have done something recently that if scrutinized (with personal bias and spin applied) would sound worse than it was.

Unless you have served in the military (which I did for 24 yrs) and spend time in combat (which I have)….. STFU!!!

RAMZAD

February 24th, 2012
7:57 pm

I have been noticing that every time I see the enemy it is us.

Curious

February 24th, 2012
8:00 pm

Enter your comments here

Fourteen years of command time in the Army. Never happened in the units I was affiliated with.
This is probably a good example of a Company Commander thinking he’s a stud, but in reality, he’s an insecure non achiever trying to prove something.

Do you think MAJ Dick Winters in “Band of Brothers” would have done or condoned something like this? Capt Sobel maybe?

Dave

February 24th, 2012
8:02 pm

Hazing in an operational (peacekeeping or not) indicates soldiers are poorly led and bored. I spent three birthdays in Baghdad and we were either patrolling, pulling guard/maintaining equipment. Free time was for eating, sleeping, making a quick call to a loved one. Life of a deployed solder is exhausting, the fact that chain of command would tolerate/condone hazing is a sad indictment on the Ga NG.

RAMZAD

February 24th, 2012
8:03 pm

LtCol:

Maybe that is the reason you did not make colonel. At least the military recognized that you were not colonel material, since you were just not bright enough to refrain from proving that the Army was right.

Listen to your asinine comment- “politically correct overkill” when hazing sometimes get innocent people killed. Glad to know your career became a recognized “overkill” in stupidity.

Old Corps

February 24th, 2012
8:06 pm

Time to take the PC out of the military. We need warriors. It’s not a thing of times past to expect mental and physical toughness. I have been there–a front line Marine. I am with the Lt. Col. They need to STFU and man up.

RAMZAD

February 24th, 2012
8:20 pm

Old Corps

“Man Up” “We need warriors” “mental and physical toughness.” Only morons do not recognize that hazing hurt unit cohesion, mission reliability, interpersonal trust, and the personal confidence of people who need to work effectively together. Do you all believe the elite Navy Seals go around terrorizing each other to “Man up” or to gain mental and physical toughness?

As a former member of USAF it horrifies me to hear other people who should understand military life spewing this nonsense. I would bet the people who were terrorized by your types- to “man up” were the Jews, the blacks and the Asians and the Latinos. That is good old bigotry, and yes I am
not deluded. I came upon lots of them in USAF too. I guess the do come out to blog hate vapors.

Armorguy

February 24th, 2012
8:20 pm

“Old Corps” and “LtCol” – guess what? Peacekeeping operations in Kosovo these days aren’t combat. They are peace keeping (funny, guess that’s why they chose the name). The people there trust us to keep the peace so that the war they dealt with won’t come back. Troops with a serious case of “beat the crap out of each other for ‘fun’ in our off time” tend to do the same to the people around them. Maybe you should read about how bad it got for the Canadians in the Horn of Africa…

Keep the neanderthal “I was in com-bat so I know what I’m talking about” back in 1974 where you found it. It’s not needed in today’s Army.

Doug

February 24th, 2012
8:24 pm

USA USA USA USA USA USA

Sandra

February 24th, 2012
8:24 pm

I noticed the Fox 5 I-Team did a story tonight on problems at the top of the Georgia Guard. These are the dividends when the governor chooses to put politics/good ole boy system above proven leadership. (i.e. Dudney)

http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/dpp/news/iteam/I-Team-Gov-Appointee-Causes-Stir-20120224-pm-pk

td

February 24th, 2012
8:26 pm

Lt. Col.and old Corps,

Thank you both for your service to our nation. The vast majority of the posters on this blog are socialist democrats and as such have a great disdain for military service and believe that the only good thing about the military is to be able to force their agenda (social engineering) so that they can “prove” it works and should be implemented in all of society. Please ignore their asinine comments about your service and our soldiers and know that the vast majority of real Americans respect what you do or have done for our nation.

Curious

February 24th, 2012
8:36 pm

td

You’re a frequent commentor and at least you’re interested.

I served over 30 years from Vietnam thru Dersert Storm. Hopefully, I’m qualified to speak.

This is probably a case of poor leadership and I’ll garantee 99+% of leaders will agree.

RAMZAD

February 24th, 2012
8:37 pm

td:

You are such a suck stone.

“real Americans” disagree all the time. Who are the real Americans? Only the idiots like you who spew the same Right Wing garbage? Have you ever served in the military? Do you know what it is to have to depend on and trust someone with your life day in day out? No one is questioning military respect here. You bring into question the WHOLE quality of your service when you come here to promote or support hazing of any kind. I wish you were not such a fool. You would probably we worth something.

RAMZAD

February 24th, 2012
8:39 pm

Sandra:

I looked at the video and saw the corruption you are talking about. Thanks for posting that.

Curious

February 24th, 2012
8:41 pm

Too much Jack Daniel’s! I’m out of the net.

tom

February 24th, 2012
8:43 pm

Dishonorable discharges for all involved. Done deal.

RAMZAD

February 24th, 2012
8:48 pm

It never fails to amaze me how people who are expected to be sensible and to do the right thing and to preserve and live out the creed of the meaning of the most important things they have doe with their lives turn around and betray the spirit and the essence of the whole deal. Hare is a darn Retired Light Colonel and a USMC warrior saying that hazing is ok. My God! What have we wrought in your name?

RAMZAD

February 24th, 2012
8:50 pm

….have done with their……….

USAFRet

February 24th, 2012
8:52 pm

If this was just confined to the unit or military as a whole, I might (though I doubt it) condone it. However, here’s what you get, guys: three years ago, at a Civil Air Patrol Bivouac, several 15-to-16-year-old cadets began hazing numerous other cadets, mostly 12-and-13-year-olds, new to CAP. After a few reported this, and several parents responded to pick their children up, the older cadets stated that “we’re trying to break them down, so that we can build them up again.” Do you condone such arrogance on the part of 15-year-olds, that they have the knowledge and resources to “break down and build up”? And guess where they got it from? Yep, their Cadet Commander, who had been a Marine for four years (non-combat rating, I might add), who was not allowed to reenlist (probably through the 30K annual out program; in other words, he was not good enough to reenlist in the Marine Corps).

LtCol (Retired)

February 24th, 2012
8:53 pm

Razzod and ArmorGuy:

My point is that in today’s world everyone is hypersensitive and most claims of discrimination, bias, and HAZING are way overblown. Until you know the facts of this case (which none of us 5,000 miles away reading an AJC article do) don’t be critical of the men and women in our military who are protecting your right to draw welfare and be a fat lazy slob.

RAMZAD

February 24th, 2012
8:53 pm

Here is a darn….

I am so aghast…at these betrayals..I can’t even spell straight.. I guess I will just leave this alone…

td

February 24th, 2012
8:56 pm

Curious

February 24th, 2012
8:36 pm

Thank you for your service. I am interested and know that our military is the best in the world. I trust that if they are guilty of breaking the UCMJ then the military will handle the issue in the professional manner that they normally do.

I have zero level of patients for people that want to take any instance to bash the military and I am sick and tired of the progressives attempts of turning the greatest force in history and attempting to turn them into some kind of social test grounds.

RAMZAD

February 24th, 2012
9:04 pm

“Welfare” “Fat lazy slob.” Here where you are gone with it, Colonel.

If we assume that you might have earned the right to get this distinction. Hazing is never right. hazing causes frustration, mistrust, depression, suicides, mission disasters, and hate and all the worst in people come out when they are officially or unofficially terrorized.

Maybe on 9/11 Al Quida was just hazing us, so we could “man up” and get “mentally and physically tough.” Have you thought about that?

It is never right to haze any one at any time for any reason- PARTICULARLY; when next
day you are going to have the hazee walking behind you with a M-16, several banana clips,
of 7.62mm projectiles, a big knife, and a SW 9MM pistol…bad idea to haze that individual,
but you would not know anything about that Colonel. You were too busy writing the hazing
manual.

td

February 24th, 2012
9:05 pm

RAMZAD

February 24th, 2012
8:37 pm

Yes, if you are looking at the little information about this matter and making an indictment of the military in general or even this unit without the results of the investigation then you IMHO are not a real American. If you do not like my opinion then I am sorry but it is not going to change and I will continue to call anyone out for making such claims.

RAMZAD

February 24th, 2012
9:06 pm

td

You need a test ground for your brain. Clearly you have been looking all your life for one.

RAMZAD

February 24th, 2012
9:09 pm

td

Fool!

We need one word. HAZING. 17 or eighteen of them and we have to split infinitives?

I am sure that is a word you can play around with until it becomes something else. It is the Right Wing Way, but spare me.

td

February 24th, 2012
9:28 pm

RAMZAD

February 24th, 2012
9:09 pm

You are just showing how much disdain you have for the military. You are indicting the entire military of a word you see in writing with no investigation and no trail. I am sure you are one of the people that was crying on these blogs saying those terrorist in GITMO should be given all the benefits of criminal justice system.

RAMZAD

February 24th, 2012
9:50 pm

td

No disdain for the military. 17 or 18 people pulled into the Command building for hazing is not a side show or an anomaly. This is not like one or two. We are Americans, td. We do not torture people. We do not let our troops haze each other.

You can not be ruled by your fears or led by your doubts or motivated by hate. Right is right, and,
as Americans, we do not allow other people to have us redefine our senses of propriety every
other day. td, hazing is wrong, and you know it, and 17 or 18 people spilling their guts about what is going on is not just some guys getting together to blow smoke.

I apologize for the mean things I said about you. You have a right to your opinions, and your expression of them should not be basis for me to be abusive. It is not right.

td

February 24th, 2012
10:06 pm

RAMZAD

February 24th, 2012
9:50 pm

Apology accepted. I do not take anything on a blog personally but it is nice to see someone that has the integrity to say they were wrong to get personal.

Ole Guy

February 24th, 2012
11:04 pm

Stand by one, guys! To begin with, I am not alltogether sure if the term “hazing” may or may not be entirely misused, misinterpreted, and/or completely moot. The very term, once associated with relatively harmless fraternal pranks, can now be interpreted as a senior casting glares of disapproval in the general direction of junior personnel steeped in the poisonous atmosphere of political correctness. Until the good General (absolutely no disrespect intended, Sir) decides to share, with the public, the particulars of just exactly what sort of behavior constitutes “undue hazing” within the GARNG, we, the interested public, cannot issue anything resembling meaningful input.

As with many of us who’ve “been there”, we can all share in common experiences which involved far less than the “fair an’ square” behaviors which the civilian community can never fully understand. To paraphrase the Crazy Colonel Nathan R. Jessup (so abley portrayed by none other than the venerable Jack Nicholson) in the movie “A Few Good Men”…”…you rise and fall under the blanket of security I provide and question how that blanket was woven…”. That blanket was and continues to be woven by men who know what adversity is; who have the intestinal fortitude to accept it, work through it, and maintain mission focus. The task of preparing men for the critical job of providing that security blanket is NOT through the pc dictates of fairness, good will, and the warm an’ fuzzies of kind actions. Anyone whose “been there” knows that armed conflict is not a gentlemens’ game of “please and thank you”; of “don’t bruise my feelings of dignity and self-worth”. Surviving and thriving within the “unfainess” of a training scenario is the only way to come anywhere near survival in combat.

After the General has seen fit to publish the particulars, perhaps we can all issue nuggets of insight. Until then, perhaps we can refrain from the sophomoric attacks.

john

February 25th, 2012
2:05 am

Ask COL. Liethen why the current 1SG and CO were removed, all three current PLT Sergeant for Article 93 for knowledge, but the current TWO SGM that are all so in country and also the last two 1SG of this unit were not removed? They stood beside this from their tenure also. If they have information on the above mentioned personnel and they were removed then why not equality across the board. isnt that what this is all about?

LRS Plank Owner

February 25th, 2012
9:33 am

I was one of the origonal members of this unit and I can assure you that Hazing was not in the program and was not tolerated by the commanders of the unit while I was there. All three C.O.s were professional and experienced. When I left the unit it was in good hands but 10 years later and some of the junior leadership who didn’t think we were hardcorps enough became senior leaders and turned the unit into something that I would not recognize. No longer a Band of Brothers it became a devisive unit of haves (RangerTabs) and have nots (Non-tabbed) unfortunately it looks like adult leadership fell by the wayside and instead of bonding hazing became a way of seperating those who saw themselves as better Soldiers from those they could put down, denigrate and torment. I am glad the worm has turned and those unfit to lead are being held accountable seems like they forgot that it is the “Man who makes the Ranger Tab not the Tab that makes the Man.” I hope my old unit finds it’s balence and once again becomes the great unit it is capable of being with a tight knit bond of respect and brotherhood instead of this hollow shell of affected super elitism. –En Orbis Terrum

Ole Guy

February 25th, 2012
9:43 am

LRS, well-stated! ALL OK, JUMPMASTER!

Old Squid

February 25th, 2012
2:49 pm

Something that has taken me a long time to learn is not to judge others and their actions unless you REALLY know the facts or have been in their shoes. I have a little bit of military experience as well as a personal connection to the GA National Guard unit currently deployed to Kosovo.

First an opinion to some earlier comments. I really don’t believe the Stars and Stripes or the AJC was attempting to smear the GA Guard, they just reported on information which they received. However I do have to agree with Ole Guy that the officer who made this information public may have been premature.

Someone wrote: Peacekeeping operations in Kosovo these days aren’t combat. That is true, but it is also not a recreational activity. The men and women deployed there are still separated from their families, wives, husbands, children. On the other hand, they knew that deployment was a possibility when they volunteered. Has our military changed in nature because it is made up of volunteers? I won’t venture an answer on that because I don’t know. But I do know some of these young volunteers and they are men and women who are just as dedicated to serving our country as were the generation which enlisted during World War II.

I am not a fan of hazing but it has different degrees. I personally had to run through the “belt line” when I was about 12 years of age, in the Boy Scouts. I was guilty of talking after lights out. Did it ruin my experience with the Boy Scouts? No, it was punishment for not being obedient to my leaders. Is it possible that the alleged hazing in Kosovo has been blown out of proportion? Possibly, it depends a great deal on what really took place with the private who reported it. I was in basic training with a recruit whose father was an admiral. The recruit felt that our company commander, an NCO, was too tough on him so he wrote a letter to his father. I have no way of knowing what part the father played in this but the recruit was “moved back” to another company, not as far along in their training. This meant that he spent at least an extra week in basic training. Another recruit suffered minor bleeding from his hand because the NCO made him continue to knock on a door until the knock was “loud enough”. There are two incidents which I witnessed during basic training. Were they hazing? The point I am trying to make is, this can be very subjective.

Finally, I know an NCO in the GA Guard unit deployed in Kosovo very well. He is a great example of a soldier and could be categorized as a professional soldier. Prior to his enlistment in the GA Guard he was Army Airborne for several years, including two lengthy combat tours in Iraq. The men in his units are his first concern. He takes his assignments and duties very seriously. However he was not aware of any hazing or other serious incidents within the unit. He is there in Kosovo. He is serving with this unit 24/7 while his wife and two young children are here in the States. Did hazing really take place? You don’t know for sure, you were not there. Please don’t judge others. Or at least wait until more information, hopefully factual, is available.

Ole Guy

February 25th, 2012
4:33 pm

Squid, thanks for the reference toward the “belt line”…it is truly amazing how two simple words can lead to a stroll down Amnesia Lane…a journey not traveled in over fifty years. As I recall…a task which becomes more challenging as the years march on…my sprints through the belt line were for no other reason than…BECAUSE. There was no singling out; no “why’s everybody always picking on me?”, and certainly no expressed animosity. One certainly did not welcome, nor relish the “hardships” which went along with being the FNG in any group. This was simply the way it was (and, as far as I am concerned, should always be).

I have always held supreme confidence in the “military ways” of going about the business of training men (and, more recently, the female gland) to view self, not as an individual deserving of (unearned) dignity, but as an integral member of something larger than self; deserving only of the dignity and respect which is earned through individual focus on group welfare. You are absolutely right, Squid. We mustn’t judge others within the void of incomplete background knowledge. However, I find it most-prudent to rise up in full support of a system which has, despite it’s many flaws, produced the finest military force on the face of this Blue BB in space. If it is found that the leaders involved did indeed violate a basic trust of training and taking care of Soldiers, they should pay the price of willfull misconduct. Otherwise, another “nonhacker” will have been identified and, hopefully, placed within a command structure which does not require 105% from everyone, from the CO down to the Private.

ABN!

Michael

February 25th, 2012
5:17 pm

This is an anonymous blog where people are free to make up their credentials, such as, I was president of Burundi for 40 years and King of England for 40 years before that. Therefore I am qualified to say what or what does not qualify as a good cup of tea.