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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

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