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Army investigates 'racial Thursday' slurs

By Amy R. Connolly
Soldiers from various units stationed at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, ran in the post's celebration run for the U.S. Army’s 239th birthday in 2014. Photo courtesy Staff Sgt. Patricia McMurphy
Soldiers from various units stationed at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, ran in the post's celebration run for the U.S. Army’s 239th birthday in 2014. Photo courtesy Staff Sgt. Patricia McMurphy

FAIRBANKS, Alaska, March 19 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army is investigating claims Fort Wainwright soldiers have free reign to use racial slurs every Thursday as a way to encourage camaraderie.

Dubbed "racial Thursday," soldiers in the 2nd Platoon, C Company, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment say they are allowed to use racial slurs and make racist comments with impunity, the Army Times reported. Two anonymous soldiers told the Army Times the event is a tradition and, although officially forbidden, it is ongoing.

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U.S. Army Alaska spokesman Lt. Col. Alan Brown confirmed an investigation was launched into the allegation.

"The nature of those allegations are not at all commonplace about how soldiers behave and how they're treated up here," he said.

The unit under investigation is part of a company embroiled in the controversial 2011 suicide of Pvt. Danny Chen, who was subjected to racially motivated hazing before he died.

Eight soldiers were court-martialed in the case.

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