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PATRICK AFB, FL – The 45th Space Wing Operations Group is in mourning this week after the sudden “death by explosion” of their group commander, Colonel Alan Riddick, on Monday morning. Witnesses report that during their weekly staff meeting the colonel suddenly and without warning exploded into a bloody shower of human flesh as he sat at the head of the group’s main conference room table.

“What a horrible thing to happen,” remarked Stanly Tushi, the group’s facility manager. “We just remodeled that room. More government dollars gone to waste.”

“He looked so happy just before he exploded,” another witness reports, “He was kind of smiling, like he knew that it was his time to go and he was at peace with it.”

When asked if the military members in the room when the colonel exploded would be reimbursed for new uniforms on account of their current ones being covered in human sinew, a representative from the Air Force Manpower and Personnel Office replied, “Absolutely not. We’d have to re-write the whole Air Force Instruction for that contingency, and human explosions only happen maybe once or twice a year, so it’s not cost-effective for the government.”

Authorities are baffled by what actually caused the colonel to explode, though one popular theory contends that Colonel Riddick somehow swallowed an unknown quantity of volatile ordnance. Others have speculated that he may have willed himself to explode in a rare form of Asian meditation suicide, brought on by a recent rash of alligator attacks and lightning strike deaths within his unit that the wing commander publicly blamed on the colonel.

Another fringe theory only whispered about involves Mentos, Diet Coke, and human sperm.

“For now, we’re calling this one an act of God,” the medical examiner told reporters. “Hey, sometimes people just explode. It happens,” he added.

As a precautionary measure the base dining facility has eliminated their popular Hot Chili Surprise dinner special from its menu.