Four Army (search) drill sergeants were charged Friday with abusing recruits who were allegedly slammed into lockers and pulled down a hallway by their ankles.

The Army said the recruits also were pushed, slapped and kicked. The alleged abuse began when the recruits reported for duty Feb. 3 and ended five days later, according to the Fort Knox (search) public affairs office.

The drill sergeants were investigated after their battalion commander received reports of abuse from soldiers in an adjacent barracks. The alleged victims were members of a 25-soldier platoon.
Sgt. 1st Class David H. Price, 36; Sgt. 1st Class Ricky L. Stauffer, 35; Staff Sgt. Michael G. Rhoades, 33; and Staff Sgt. Bryan G. Duncan, 26; were charged with maltreatment of soldiers and obstruction of justice. Price faces an additional charge of violation of a lawful regulation.

Each is to have a special court-martial, a proceeding similar to a misdemeanor trial, but no court dates were immediately set. The maximum punishment is a year confinement, forfeiture of two-thirds pay per month for a year, and a reduction to the lowest enlisted grade.

When reached by telephone, Stauffer declined to comment. Phone messages left for Price and Duncan were not immediately returned Friday, and a telephone number for Rhoades could not be located. A Fort Knox spokesman said he could not provide information about whether the men had civilian attorneys.

All were assigned to Company E, 1st Battalion, 81st Armor Regiment, part of Fort Knox's 1st Armor Training Brigade.