The Marine Corps needs rites of passage; it doesn't need hazing. These Marines, members of an aerial delivery unit, grimace in pain as metal jump wings are pounded into their chests during a "blood pinning" ritual. To halt such abuses, we must reexamine the warrior bonding these rituals actually have—and then take responsibility for monitoring them.
Too often we read stories about Marines conducting unauthorized rite-of-passage ceremonies, initiations, and rituals. The Marine Corps suffered mortally in 1956 when a drill instructor took his recruits on a night march through the marshes of Parris Island, South Carolina, and six recruits drowned in the incoming tide. More recently, we have taken several hits on the chin: the 1992 movie "A Few Good Men," the silent drill team initiations highlighted on "Primetime Live," the newspaper articles on abuses at the survival-escape-resistance-evasion school, and the gold wing ceremony highlighted on "Dateline."