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Father Furious After Army Son Hit in the Chest With a Mallet, Suffers Seizure During Hazing


"He could've killed my son and he should pay for it."

A still image from video shows Sgt. Phillip Roach getting hit with a wooden mallet during an Army initiation ceremony. Roach's father is furious about the injuries his son sustained and is demanding punishment. (Image source: WWMT-TV)

Army mallet hazing

Disturbing video of a solider being struck in the chest with a wooden mallet at Fort Bragg, N.C. and then collapsing on the ground has his father furious and demanding punishment for those involved, WOOD-TV reported.

Ken Roach of Michigan said his son, 22-year-old Sgt. Phillip Roach, suffered a seizure and required stitches after knocking his head on the ground when he fell. He said the Army later acknowledged the April incident was a "hazing" event to mark his son's promotion to sergeant.

"I never thought in my wildest dreams I'd be contacted by anybody that my son had a seizure and was hit in the chest during a hazing incident," Ken Roach told the Associated Press.

Video of the incident first obtained by WWMT-TV shows Phillip Roach receiving the blow after another solider first takes several practice swings. Phillip Roach stumbles backward, then shakes the other soldier's hand before collapsing.

Ken Roach, an Army veteran himself, told WOOD both the soldier wielding the mallet and the one filming it were his son's superiors.

"He needs punishment. That was assault with a deadly weapon," he told the station. "He could've killed my son and he should pay for it."

Ken Roach said that because of the seizure, his son has been unable to get medical clearance to fly a plane and do other duties he trained for. He said he received a letter from the Army calling it an "unauthorized ceremony," and a "clear incident of hazing that caused injury to a great soldier." The letter also said the soldier who did the hitting had been reprimanded, but Roach said that wasn't good enough, telling WOOD it was a "slap on the wrist"

"I'm not mad at the Army," Ken Roach said. "I'm mad at the individuals who done it and who's trying to give a little slap on the wrist and say, 'It's good to go. Let's just sweep it under the rug. Send him somewhere else and be done with it.'"

He said his son's fiance, who was also a soldier but has since been honorably discharged, was also present during the incident. He told the AP neither she nor his son want to comment publicly for fear of retribution.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, told WWMT in a statement he was "very concerned about this hazing incident" and was asking the Army to review it.

Roach said he's just looking out for the welfare of his son, who decided he wanted to join the Army as a high school junior "so he could serve under the flag and fight for the freedom of the United States," according to the AP.

"There's a possibility that he may never be able to clear medically and be able to do his job and they could medically discharge him just because of this stupid hazing," he told WOOD.

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