I haven’t been following the case of Private Danny Chen, a 19-year-old from New York’s Chinatown neighborhood, and his suicide in Afghanistan in October too closely, but caught the recent report about his eight fellow soldiers being charged for his death due to bullying:
“Chen’s fellow soldiers dragged him across the floor, threw stones at the back of his head, forced him to hold liquid in his mouth while upside down as part of an apparent hazing, and called him “Jackie Chen” in a mocking accent in a reference to the action star Jackie Chan, according to Elizabeth OuYang, president of the New York chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans. The details of his alleged hazing came from Facebook and email messages, discussions with cousins and a few pages of Chen’s journal released by the Army, OuYang said at a Chinatown news conference.”
I don’t know that many Asian Americans who have served, but this incident reminded me of my friend Otto Lee as well as my friend’s brother, Baldwin Yen, who both served in Iraq, as well as Garrett Yee who recently got called up and is serving in Afghanistan as I write this. I’m glad that they never experienced any discrimination or hazing while they were overseas serving our country.
And sadly, this is not the first incident this year. Apparently in April, Marine Lance Cpl. Harry Lew, 21, shot himself after being hazed the night before by fellow service members. In Chen’s case, he was taunted for being un-American. What is more patriotic and American than serving in the armed forces? Hopefully, if these charged soldiers are indeed guilty of this wrongdoing, justice will be served.
(Image photo credit: ABC)