ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – Two commanders of squadrons at Air Force bases in Alaska and Washington state have been relieved of their duties after hazing investigations of their units, KTUU TV station reports .
The TV station reports that a statement from the 354th Fighter Wing public affairs office at Eielson Air Force Base says Col. Benjamin Bishop, the 354th FW commander, relieved Lt. Col. Robb Fiechtner, 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron, and Lt. Col. Joshua Cates, 5th Air Support Operations Squadron, of their command posts.
Fiechtner was at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, and Cates was at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
KTUU reports that the statement says the investigation, which started in January, found that a practice known as “rolling up” – involving tackling or restraining an airman, binding their hands or feet using duct tape, and allowing the individual to struggle before being released – was common and encouraged in the squadrons.
“There are traditions that promote the health of the unit and link us to the long blue line of Airmen that have preceded us,” Bishop said. “When Airmen, however, attempt to equate hazing actions as tradition, they do an absolute disservice to our Air Force culture and also undermine our mission effectiveness.”