A hazing scandal in the Air Force's elite tactical air control party community led to the removal of two squadron commanders recently, said Col. Benjamin Bishop, commander of the 354th Fighter Wing.
The Air Force has roughly 1,100 TACPs, who fight alongside conventional and special operations forces. They can call in airstrikes but they are also highly trained for ground combat.
"The tactical air control party is a weapons system in my command," Bishop told Task & Purpose. "It is an elite team that has tremendous capability and tremendous potential to employ on the battlefield. I am very protective of that weapon system and I am very passionate making sure that it's able to be as lethal as possible when the time comes. A hazing culture that could arise is a threat to mission effectiveness."
A recent death at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, brought attention to hazing in Marine recruit training. Raheel Siddiqui, a Pakistani-American recruit was subjected to abuse, which including being slapped, being insulted based on his Muslim faith, and being put in an industrial clothes dryer which was then turned on.
On a cloudless night in the summer of 2010, a guy in my platoon walked off our combat outpost in Kandahar. He wasn’t headed anywhere in particular. Just off. Just away from us, the men he had spent the past several months eating, sleeping, shitting, and patrolling with in the mud-brick villages and grape fields of southern Afghanistan.