US Marines Officially Define Hazing
One of the recurring questions during the recent controversies over military hazing has been what, precisely, is hazing? While some may think it should be obvious, the nature of the military environment — and the need to explicitly enforce a regulation — make it far less so. Now,
The new Marine Corps policy now defines hazing as “any conduct whereby a military member or members, regardless of service or rank, without proper authority causes another military member or members to suffer or be exposed to any activity which is cruel, abusive, humiliating, oppressive, demeaning or harmful.”
The Patriot Perspective makes some interesting distinctions:
Exposing a Marine to “cruel, abusive, humiliating, oppressive, demeaning or harmful” acts with the purpose of making a correction means that a Marine might be saved from being kicked out, from poor decisions, or from their own problems that they need to get over in order to watch out for their fellow Marines and make it back home safe. Everybody gets “hazed” according to that definition throughout boot camp – because it’s a matter of corrections and character building. The same thing happens afterwards in the fleet.
It’s worth noting that there are MOSes that still have actual hazing rituals – and they are part of customs and courtesies, but informally – and they’re voluntary. The Navy still conducts hazing rituals (for shellbacks and polliwogs and golden shellbacks and things like that), but they’re voluntary. If you want to go run around the deck of a ship in your underwear and get hit with the fire hose in the Arctic Circle, well, that’s up to you. If you want to wade through bilge and garbage that should’ve been thrown off the fantail to get your golden merman or whatever the Navy calls it, that’s fine – it’s voluntary.
Those Navy guys have an interesting idea of fun, but what do you do when you’re crammed together on a boat for months on end? Then again, the Air Force does have its Namings…