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.
Luke Flowers argued on Friday in this column that we need less babying of our junior enlisted ranks. “We need to empower our junior NCO’s and junior enlisted to make jokes so that when they have to go pick up someone else’s cadavers they can laugh afterward,” the retired Army lieutenant claimed.