DETROIT -- A soldier from Michigan struck by a large wooden mallet at his Army base in North Carolina was seriously injured, his father said. He added that he is angered that the incident was allowed to occur.
Ken Roach of Battle Creek said his son Sgt. Phillip Roach was injured at Fort Bragg during what the Army later called an unauthorized "hazing" event to mark his promotion to sergeant.
The 22-year-old struck his head on the concrete after he was hit by the mallet. The fall caused a seizure and head wound that required six staples, his father said.
"I never thought in my wildest dreams I'd be contacted by anybody that my son had a seizure and was hit in the chest during a hazing incident," he said Friday.
Video of the incident first obtained by WWMT-TV in Kalamazoo shows Sergeant Roach receiving the blow after another solider takes three practice swings at this chest. Sergeant Roach is struck, stumbles, then collapses after shaking the hand of the mallet-wielding soldier.
The incident occurred April 4. Ken Roach said that in a letter he received in early June, the Army called the incident hazing and said the soldier who was responsible received a $1,000 fine and a reprimand citing a simple assault. Ken Roach, an Army veteran, said he would like for formal assault charges to be brought.
"It was assault with a weapon -- he could have killed my son," he said, adding that his son, who operates unmanned aerial vehicles with the 82nd Airborne, has been unable to perform those duties until he is "cleared by a doctor."
Ken Roach said his son's fiancee, who also was a soldier but since has been honorably discharged, was at the event and that she and his son fear retribution over the incident and don't want to comment publicly.
Fort Bragg officials didn't immediately respond to after-hours phone messages Friday.
Michigan Democratic U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, told WWMT that he's "very concerned about this hazing incident" and has asked the Army to review what happened.
Ken Roach, who served in the Army from 1982 to 1990, said he has spoken to the 82nd brigadier general and a brigade commander about the incident and subsequent of his son.
The father said the commander told him he would "speak with the chain of command to try and get my son to feel more comfortable."
Mr. Roach said he's looking after the welfare of his son. He said his son told him during his junior year at Battle Creek Central High School that he wanted to join the Army "so he could serve under the flag and fight for the freedom of the United States."