News / USA

Military Court Convicts US Soldier in Hazing Trial

Danny Chen's father, Yao Tan Chen, and mother, Su Zhen Chen, stand to the left and right of Elizabeth OuYang, president of the New York chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans, at a press conference in New York on January 5, 2012.Danny Chen's father, Yao Tan Chen, and mother, Su Zhen Chen, stand to the left and right of Elizabeth OuYang, president of the New York chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans, at a press conference in New York on January 5, 2012.
x
Danny Chen's father, Yao Tan Chen, and mother, Su Zhen Chen, stand to the left and right of Elizabeth OuYang, president of the New York chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans, at a press conference in New York on January 5, 2012.
Danny Chen's father, Yao Tan Chen, and mother, Su Zhen Chen, stand to the left and right of Elizabeth OuYang, president of the New York chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans, at a press conference in New York on January 5, 2012.
A military court in the U.S. state of North Carolina has convicted a staff sergeant in the hazing-related death of Private Danny Chen, a Chinese-American soldier who killed himself while on duty in Afghanistan.
 
The court-martial in Fort Bragg convicted Andrew Van Bockel of one specification of hazing, three specifications of dereliction of duty and two specifications of maltreatment.  

The jury sentenced Van Bockel Wednesday to a reprimand, reduction in rank two levels and 60 days of hard labor, 45 of which the court determined he had already served in pre-trial confinement. 
 
The accused is one of eight soldiers charged in relation to the death of Chen, who shot himself in the head on October 3, 2011, after repeated physical and emotional mistreatment by members of his unit. 
 
George Wright, a spokesman for the U.S. Army at the Pentagon, said Wednesday that the Army respects the decision of the jury.  
 
But Elizabeth OuYang, president of the New York branch of the Organization of Chinese Americans, expressed outrage over the sentence, which she called "light." 
 
She said what Van Bockel did to Chen was not corrective training but torture.  
 
"He not only fostered a climate of unrelenting and escalating hazing that ultimately cost Danny his life, he instigated the hazing," she said in a statement. "Had Sergeant Van Bockel done his duty to stop what he and lower-ranking superiors were doing, Danny would be alive today." 
 
Chen, a 19-year-old U.S.-born native of New York City, was one of the weaker members of his platoon who, at times, forgot his equipment and fell asleep on duty. Soldiers picked on his race, calling him derogatory names like "fortune cookie," "dragon lady" and "chink." 
 
They also put him through intense physical tests, forcing him to do push-ups with his mouth full of water and crawl across the ground while his superiors pelted him with rocks.

On one occasion, he was dragged across the gravel on his back after leaving on the shower water pump. In another instance, Chen was ordered to shout instructions to his unit in Chinese although no one else spoke the language.
 
The U.S. Army says it does not tolerate racism or hazing, and officials charged some of the accused with negligent homicide, a heavy charge that was dropped in each of the trials. 

The accused have been convicted of lesser offenses ranging from assault, racial maltreatment, hazing and dereliction of duty. The punishments for the other six superiors convicted ranged from jail time, discharge for bad conduct, forced labor, reduction in rank, reprimand and fines.
 
The case has stirred a debate inside and outside of the military about how to prepare young soldiers for the pressures of war without mistreating them. While the Army says it is working to discourage hazing, former members of the armed forces say superiors often ignore certain behaviors they may consider to be peer bonding exercises that test the mental and physical limits of soldiers. 

OuYang said it is those demeaning, abusive behaviors that drove Chen to suicide. 
 
An eighth and final soldier remains to be tried in the case.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sam from: LDroFnNMhLTUAx
November 28, 2012 11:41 AM
Thinking like that is raelly amazing

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid