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Asian-American Soldier Commits Suicide After Being Forced To Crawl Across Gravel
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Private Danny Chen grew up in New York City’s Chinatown. On October 3rd, Chen committed suicide at Combat Outpost Palace guard tower. At least, that’s what was first suspected when his body was found. After all, fellow soldiers gave him every reason to feel helpless and in despair.

Earlier that dreadful day, investigators revealed that Chen was pressured to crawl on his hands and knees across 100 meters of gravel fully dressed in his equipment. Meanwhile, fellow GLS pelted the young private with rocks.


This was not the first time that Chen received horrid treatment from other soldiers. He was called several derogatory phrases, some of which being: dragon lady, Jackie Chen, and was told to go back to China. Soldiers often mocked him in Chinese, forced him to do sprints and multiple push-ups.

Eight of his fellow soldiers, which are now serving in Afghanistan, have been charged with several counts of assault, involuntary manslaughter, and negligent homicide.

Because he was the only Chinese-American serving in his unit, Elizabeth OuYan, accounted, he was singled out, taunted and mocked. She said, “Almost immediately after he arrived, Danny was required to do exercises, which quickly, within a few days, crossed over into abuse.”

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Investigators are still looking into the death of Private Chen. As the investigation has deepened, it is becoming more uncertain that Chen committed suicide.

At a vigil last Thursday, Banny Chen – Private Chen’s husband – read a letter that Private Chen wrote him, aloud. It said:

Everyone knows me by Chen. They ask if I’m from China a few times a day. They also call out my name Chen in a goat-like voice sometimes for no reason.

People crack jokes about Chinese people all the time. I’m running out of jokes to come back at them.

Both Occupy Wall Street protestors and OCA, and Asian Pacific American civil right group, got involved in the issue. The OCA expressed its own theory on why Private Chen received so much abuse:

They did it because they knew that there was an environment that they would get away with it.

Those charged regarding Private Chen’s death include: Sergeant Travis F. Carden, Sergeant Adam M. Holcomb, Sergeant Jeffery T. Hurst, Staff Sergeant Andrew J. Van Bockel, Staff Sergeant Blaine G. Dugas, First Lieutenant Daniel J. Schwartz, Speacialist Ryan J. Offutt, and Specialist Thomas P. Curtis.

All soldiers served in the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.


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