The Maine soldier who deserted his post in Kentucky only to later turn himself in back home claims he was being bullied by his team leader- and his combat veteran father is backing him up.
Anthony Seeley, the father of 19-year-old Private Austin Seeley, claims his son and fellow soldier Noah Fisher left their post at Fort Campbell due to constant hazing from their team leader, who pushed them to their physical limits in training, often to the point of physical injury.
Speaking with the Press-Herald, the elder Seeley said his son was -since his arrival to his unit last October- forced wake up in the middle of the night, perform push-ups, go to black-listed places off-post and perform an 18-mile road march with 185 pounds of equipment.
PVT Sealey reportedly suffered a foot injury from the aforementioned road march, possibly breaking a bone on his foot but never reporting the injury.
When the elder Seeley told his son to see the doctor, the Private said he didn’t want to and was afraid of missing out on training.
In one instance, the team leader placed the young Privates into a live-fire exercise without any prior “dry-fire” training.
“He put Austin in a situation where he could have died,” the father said.
The elder Seeley sympathized with his son, coming out with the information after he urged the boys to turn themselves in.
“He’s fed up,” Seeley said. “He had asked, ‘How am I supposed to do my job?’ with that going on.”
Seeley and Fisher were booked into the Franklin County Jail, but claim they are their of their own volition.
Despite several attempts by Popular Military to reach the 101st Airborne Division Public Information Officer, all calls have gone unanswered as of the time of this article’s publishing.
In the aftermath of the incident, the Seeley family -including the young Private’s 17-year-old sister- have been subject to ridicule and threats.
After speaking with his son during a short visit at the jail Thursday evening, Seeley said he thinks Austin might stay enlisted in the Army if placed in a unit separate from his current team leader.
“He’s always wanted to be in the military,” Seeley said.
The two soldiers have since been flown back to Fort Campbell and will soon discover their fate, be it punishment or separation.
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