Rep. Chu to make personal plea against military hazing

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), whose nephew committed suicide in Afghanistan after he was hazed by his fellow Marines, will join the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday for a hearing on military hazing.

Chu has spoken out on military hazing since the death of her nephew, Lance Cpl. Harry Lew, last year, and she held a news conference last month calling for hearings on military hazing.

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After one of the three Marines who was charged in Lew’s case was given a 30-day sentence and reduction in rank, Chu said it was “a slap in the face” to her nephew’s life.

The other two Marines accused of hazing Lew were acquitted last month.

“These numerous and violent hazing incidents and the lack of justice in Harry’s case show that hazing is not taken seriously by the military,” Chu said at the February press conference.

Thursday’s hearing, where military officials from all the services will testify, is not the first time that Chu has joined the Armed Services Committee to talk about her nephew’s death. She also took a seat on the panel for a hearing on military suicides last year.

At that hearing, she asked the military officials testifying about their hazing policies, and all said they condemned it.

Chu’s nephew was beaten and hazed after he fell asleep on a security post in Afghanistan. He killed himself 20 minutes later.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said in December that hazing in the military “is simply intolerable,” in response to another suicide case in Afghanistan where eight soldiers were charged.