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Marine Commandant Addresses Hazing

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 1997 – Gen. Charles C. Krulak, U.S. Marine Corps commandant, sent an open letter Feb. 4 to America's parents regarding hazing at Camp Lejeune, N.C. The text of the letter follows:

"Many of you have seen the video of a hazing incident that took place in the Marine Corps in 1991. I was outraged by the images on that video. The fact that this video was made in 1991 makes no difference -- not to you, not to me. I am the commandant today, and I am responsible to you for the conduct of the Marine Corps. My duty in this matter is clear.

"This so-called ceremony is contrary to that which is most dear to Marines ... the ability to count on one another, to take care of one another, to be faithful to one another. Tradition in the Marine Corps has nothing whatsoever to do with hurting or humiliating each other. It has everything to do with Marines exhibiting mutual respect, a strength of character, and a willingness to sacrifice for one another.

"You have entrusted your sons and daughters to my care, believing that they will be treated with dignity and respect. They have become like my sons and daughters. ... That is how strongly I feel about my responsibility and your trust.

"My policy for the treatment of Marines is also clear. All Marines will be treated with the utmost dignity and respect. There is no place for hazing, sexual harassment, discrimination, or any other form of degrading or immoral behavior in the Corps. No part of what makes the United States Marine Corps the world's premier fighting force has ever relied on brutality. These actions are anathema to our core values of honor, courage, and commitment, and those who cannot live these basic moral tenets do not deserve to wear the Eagle, Globe and Anchor. I will not allow them to tarnish the sacred trust between you and one of America's most dependable, steadfast institutions ... the United States Marine Corps.

"I want you to know that the overwhelming majority of your Marines are magnificent. ... They sacrifice daily for this great nation of ours. They do it willingly because they are men and women of character. It is with an eye towards strengthening such character that we have, in the past year, enhanced the battle-proven way we make Marines. The 'Transformation' process that has recently been so prominently covered in the media, produces stronger Marines, more capable warriors, but most importantly, Marines of character and sound values, prepared to fight and win not only the warfighting challenges of today's world, but the ethical challenges as well.

"Semper Fidelis."

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