CAMP SHELBY, MS – The Army’s Warrior Leader Course is a big step in a soldiers’ progression to Staff Sergeant. Sergeants take part in field leadership exercises, physical training, and operations. But for Sergeant Nathan Brown, his behavior at the course means he’ll have to try again.
Brown, an Infantryman (11B) from 155BCT, was attending the Warrior Leader Course to further his career and make himself eligible for promotion. His record was impeccable until a recent exercise at the Urban Operations (MOUT) town. He was armed with twenty blank rounds — already expended moments after the exercise began. When tasked with clearing a room, he went with the only option he had left – his knife hands.
Administrative specialist SPC Katherine Young was present the day that SGT Brown lost control.
“It was horrible. I was playing OPFOR. I thought it would be fun to yell ‘safety kill’ as someone came in the room. I had no idea what SGT Brown was capable of. I thought he was such a sweet man.” Young stops to wipe away tears at this point and continued, “He did a flying bicycle kick against the door, knocking it off the hinges. After that he turned to me with this look in his eyes: the only way to describe it is blood lust. I looked down and saw he had his knife hands at the ready.”
At this point, SGT Brown was heading straight for Young, knife hands fully unsheathed.
“I didn’t know what to do. I just started screaming for help. ‘Someone please stop him’ I yelled over and over. It was no use; he attacked me uncontrollably with those terrible, terrible, killing machines.”
The TMC at Camp Shelby treated SPC Young for minor wounds. She was returned to duty the same day, but with stipulations. TMC Doctor COL Bob Gearhart commented, “She’s a brave soul, having gone through such trauma and still being willing to return to duty. While her physical wounds are superficial, the mental wounds inflicted by knife hands can sometimes be more traumatizing and may stay with her for her entire life.”
SSG Bagely, an instructor at the 3rd NCO Academy issued the following statement on behalf of the Academy:
“What happened here was truly tragic. Knife hands are a dangerous tool that should be used only in the most dire of situations. We here at the 3rd NCO Academy do not tolerate this kind of behavior and are deeply sorry for the trauma that has been caused to the other soldiers enrolled in the course. The situation is currently under investigation and will be resolved as soon as possible.”
SGT Brown was unable to comment at the time of this publication as he is in the custody of the Camp Shelby PMO awaiting a military hearing. SPC Young is currently in counseling for Post Traumatic Stress.