Father: Son struck, hurt in Fort Bragg ceremony
Posted August 31, 2012
Updated September 1, 2012
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — A southwestern Michigan father said he's angry about an Army promotion ceremony in which his son was struck with a large, wooden mallet and seriously injured, according to a story published Friday.
Ken Roach of Battle Creek told WWMT-TV that Sgt. Phillip Roach was hurt April 4 at Fort Bragg during what the Army called an "unauthorized" event. Roach said his son suffered a seizure and head injury and was hospitalized.
Video obtained by WWMT shows Roach stumbling back and forth after being struck, then collapsing after shaking the hand of the mallet-wielding soldier. The father said a letter from the Army calls the incident "hazing" and the soldier responsible was "reprimanded," though Ken Roach said he would like to see assault charges brought.
The Associated Press was unsuccessful Friday in trying to reach Ken Roach at phone listings under his name. Fort Bragg officials told WRAL News that they were aware of the allegations and the video.
They issued this statement Friday night:
"Corrective action was promptly taken in this case. The 82nd Airborne Division took administrative action against a Soldier involved in striking another Soldier in April 2012 and he was punished under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. The very foundation of what we do depends on trust, and trust depends on the treatment of all Soldiers with dignity and respect by fellow Soldiers and leaders."
WWMT also obtained a statement from Michigan Democratic U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, who asked the Army to urgently review what happened. The chairman of the Armed Services Committee said he's "very concerned about this hazing incident."
Ken Roach said his son's fiancee was at the ceremony and she knelt down to try to help him, but "nobody really responded until his commander came in."
"That's a wooden mallet — that could have killed my son," Roach said.