By Louis Chan
AsAmNews National Correspondent
For Rep Judy Chu (D-CA), the issue of military hazing is personal.
Her nephew, Lance Corporal Harry Lew committed suicide after being subjected to hazing by his fellow Marines.
“Next month will recognize the fifth anniversary of the death of my nephew, Harry Lew, Chu testified yesterday before the House Armed Services Committee. “In the middle of the night, his fellow Marines took it upon themselves to administer so-called “corrective training” for almost four hours. They tormented, abused and degraded him. They forced him to perform useless, unnecessary exercises while he was clad in his full body armor, carrying a 25-pound sandbag. After they kicked, punched, and stomped on his back, they nearly smothered him with the contents of the sandbag. Twenty-two minutes after this torture, Harry took his own life, and my family was forever changed.”
Last month, at the urging of Chu, the General Accountability Office released a report on military hazing and found while the various branches of the military including the Department of Defense, had hazing policies, there is little oversight on how well those policies are implemented.
“Without routinely monitoring policy implementation, DOD, the Coast Guard, and the military services may not have the accountability needed to help ensure efforts to address hazing are implemented consistently,” the report stated.
GAO investigators released 12 recommendations including calling for the Undersecretary of Defense and the Secretaries of each military department to monitor implementation. It also asked the Department of Defense to come up with a uniform standard for compiling data on hazing incidents.
Chu is urging Congress to include in its 2017 National Defense Authorization Act a requirement for the Department of Defense to submit an annual report on the implementation of hazing policies, to improve existing training of servicemembers to better identify and respond to hazing, and to issue department-wide guidance on the collection of data on hazing.
“Only when we have these changes in place can we truly begin to eliminate hazing in the military. I urge Congress take action to eradicate hazing in the military,” said Chu.