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33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thank HEVVINS some officers are responsible, mature adults! Imagine this! A blood pinning THAT MIGHT ACTUALLY DRAW BLOOD!!!!!! Oh, I feel the pain of the poor servicemen (who, by the way, WEREN'T the ones to file the complaint)! After this, I'm sure our servicemen were having a big group hug, having never SEEN blood before!!!!


I'm sure this will be good news to all the fanatical, "willing to die for Allah" terrorists around the globe. "American soldiers won't even have a PIN driven into their chests as a sign of honor! WE would take a bullet! Now we know they truly ARE weak!"

I'll wager boku buck both "reporting officers" were chicks... Thank God they lowered the standards so girls could get into the military. It sure has made the military stronger, leaner, and better able to do it's job...

Local Navy unit leader relieved in hazing case
'Blood pinning' incident prompts investigation

By James W. Crawley

May 3, 2002

The Navy is investigating a reported "blood pinning" hazing incident at a downtown restaurant and has relieved a local unit's commander, the service announced yesterday.

Cmdr. Robert Seligman, commanding officer of Explosives Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3, was reassigned after two officers told authorities hazing had occurred April 18, Navy officials said.

"There's no room for hazing in the Navy," said a spokesman, Cmdr. Rob Newell.

Investigators are trying to determine whether Seligman - as part of a ceremony marking the completion of an officer's training - placed a metallic badge on a lieutenant's uniform without the protective caps, then used his fist to pound the insignia's pins into the officer's chest.

The junior officer suffered puncture wounds but no serious injuries, Newell said.

Two other officers at the dinner reported the incident to their units, initiating the investigation.

No charges have been filed, but Seligman potentially faces a general court-martial or administrative punishment.

The investigation is being overseen by Capt. Michael Tillotson of Explosives Ordnance Disposal Group 1. Newell said the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the service's civilian criminal detective unit, is not involved.

Seligman could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Mobile Unit 3 disarms bombs, mines and explosives. It has about 80 officers and enlisted men and women who are routinely deployed with aircraft carriers and amphibious groups. The unit also keeps, trains and uses dolphins to locate mines and enemy swimmers.

The reported hazing happened during a "hail and farewell" dinner April 18 marking recent transfers to and from the unit, stationed at the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado. Attending the dinner were 17 officers and 13 civilian guests.

"Blood pinning" was part of many elite units' initiations for decades. The Pentagon banned the practice as it clamped down on hazing in the late 1990s.

The most notorious blood-pinning incident involved Marine Corps paratroopers.

Videotapes that came to light in 1997 showed two initiations in 1991 and 1993 during which Marines could be seen grimacing in pain after fellow Marines used fists to pound newly awarded paratrooper pins into their chests. Blood could be seen.

In one scene, a helmeted Marine was picked up by others and used as a human battering ram to slam a paratrooper's gold-winged insignia into another Marine's chest.

After an investigation, several Marines were discharged from the military and others were reprimanded.

Traditionally, such hazing was more common in high-risk units, said David Segal, a military sociologist and University of Maryland professor.

"It demonstrates that they are tough enough to do the job," Segal said.

Hazing was prohibited by order of the Navy secretary in August 1997. The order bans striking, branding, tattooing, pinning, "tacking on" and "blood wings."

"The Navy has a zero-tolerance policy on any form of hazing or harassment," Newell said. "We're an organization committed to respecting the dignity of our service members."

Although the military justice code doesn't mention hazing, the Navy policy states that hazing constitutes a "failure to obey a lawful general order." Hazing also could violate sections on assault and battery.

When Tillotson completes the investigation, he can pass the case to an Article 32 hearing, which is a cross between a grand jury and a criminal preliminary hearing. After the hearing, an investigating officer could recommend a court-martial, administrative punishment or dropping the charges.


James W. Crawley:
(619) 542-4559; [email protected]

Copyright 2002 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.

102 Posts
Personally, I'm a ritual sort of guy. I love a good ritual and discussing ancient and primitive ceremonies is a big part of my lectures during my art history classes. I begin with the Paleolithic caves in France and Spain and take it right up to the present day. Hey, I even wrote my master's thesis on tattooing. It's called The Ritualistic Practices of Tattooing in 20th Century Western Culture. In it I explain how getting a tattoo is for many young people a way of marking their transition from one status to another. From child to adult, from civilian to warrior, etc.

If we didn't have rituals to separate the transisions in our lives we would be lost. I think one of the big problems with a lot of kids today is they lack the ritual experiences that previous generations underwent. There is no sense of community or achievement without them. They mark the passages and turning points in our lives.

I can understand the military wanting to suppress hazing. It can look bad and sometimes it can get out of control and lead to real violence. But something is clearly needed to celebrate and commemorate these events in our lives. I think that some alternative form of recognition might be in order to avoid the bad PR this practice seems to be generating. I think the folks defending the blood pinning practice do so out of their desire to maintain a tradition of commemorating achievement, and this is perfectly understandable, but perhaps a new tradition might be started that would be less disturbing to people. (If you find the idea of a pin prick disturbing, don't research some other ritualistic behaviors that have been, and continue to be, practiced. Things like circumcision, severe beatings, full-body tattooing, torture, homosexual sex, starvation and all sorts of body mutilations.)

Tunedcivic- straight in. Ranks, ribbons, etc. have two little pins that stick out the back to fasten them to the uniform. They are like those on most little commerative pins or tie tacks.

A little brass cap, which I was always told was a "dammit" goes on the back side to secure it. Without the dammit, the pin can punch in to the skin.

I was a combat engineer. I remember a lot of joking about blood pinnings, but don't recall actually seeing one. My favorite 1SG had, what I consider, a superior method. He put the dammits on, and then pounded you on the chest a time or two (so the rank would "stick" in his words, implying that you wouldn't get demoted). I don't know about the punctures, but the bruises made pushups a blast the next morning. ;)

282 Posts
Saxon, well put. There seems to be a very hazy line between tradition and ritual though. I should certainly hope that we don't try to be politically correct in our traditions. It would seem that whatever tradition or ritual is used for transition will be blatantly offensive to some.

The standard joke here in Virginia is "How many Virginians to change a street light? 5. one to change the bulb and 4 to reminisce about how good the old one was." So many of our traditions are what our values are based on.

I personally would not like to be in the shoes of the officers who reported this incident. If their sense of political correctness has overshadowed their sense of esprit de corp, I can only imagine how their leadership qualities are.

67 Posts
Methinks these fine officers are doomed to remain forever "polywogs"! Heaven forbid they should have to take part in that initiation.
On my ship, we wore our pin pricks with pride, and took our lumps when we had our "crows" tacked on.

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