A military court denied the appeal of a former Parris Island drill instructor sentenced to 10 years in prison for abusing three Muslim recruits, including Raheel Siddiqui of Taylor, who died during boot camp in 2016.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals reviewed the 2017 court-martial of Gunnery Sgt. Joseph A. Felix Jr. and affirmed his conviction and sentence.
decision issued last week, the court called Felix a "bully" whose "misconduct impacted an entire generation of Marines."
"The appellant was placed in a position of trust, charged with turning young men into Marines. He was one of their first authority figures — their first example of what a Marine was supposed to be," Senior Judge and Capt. Frank D. Hutchison wrote for the court.
"Instead of providing a positive example and conducting meaningful training, he taught his recruits, by his example, that rule-breaking was commonplace and that violence against fellow Marines was not only acceptable, but required to instill discipline. Not only did he fail to correct or report his subordinates' bad behavior, he encouraged it and participated in worse and more pervasive behavior."
Several members of the Marine Corps' famous Silent Drill Platoon were kicked out of the service or punished by their command after someone reported witnessing them using a training rifle to strike someone.
Three Marines have been discharged in the last 60 days and two others lost a rank after the Naval Criminal Investigative Service began looking into hazing allegations inside the revered unit that performs at public events around the world.
NORFOLK, Va. — Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator Adam Matthews on Thursday pleaded guilty and apologized to the family of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, a Special Forces soldier who died during a hazing incident in Mali.
Matthews was sentenced to one year in prison, reduction in rank to E-5, and given a bad conduct discharge, although the punitive discharge could be lessened if he testifies against the other service members involved in the case and Melgar's family approves, according to Navy Capt. Michael Luken, the military judge overseeing the case.
Melgar died on June 4, 2017, when Matthews and three other U.S. service members hazed him with the permission of Melgar's team leader.
U.S. Marine Corps recruits of Papa Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, wait for the next command during a final drill evaluation Aug. 2, 2017, on Parris Island, S.C. (U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Joseph Jacob)
The U.S. Marine Corps continues to grapple with hazing at its storied recruit training center at Parris Island in South Carolina, where the service punished at least eight drill instructors and a number of officers for abusive behavior last year, the Washington Post reported Wednesday, citing multiple internal investigations.
The incidents uncovered by the Post involved female drill instructors in the 4th Recruit Training Battalion mistreating female recruits. Battalion drill instructors reportedly humiliated, physically assaulted, and even endangered recruits.
These incidents come despite the Corps' best efforts to curb these unacceptable and dangerous practices.
In one situation, a drill instructor allegedly made a recruit put "feces soiled underwear" on her head.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Xavier Navarro)
Two Air Force squadron commanders have been fired after an investigation uncovered "a culture of hazing within their units," officials have announced.
The two commanders relieved are Lt. Col. Robb Fiechtner of the 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; and Lt. Col. Joshua Cates of the 5th Air Support Operations Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, according to the 354th Fighter Wing.