FORT POLK, La. — Pvt. Larry “Doug” Douglas was reamed out this morning for failing to render a salute to Maj. Tom Wallace, the executive officer for the 1-509th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Sources confirm that Wallace “will tell anyone who will listen” how much “he hates the whole saluting thing.”
“Look, it’s not a power thing. I hate all the attention,” Wallace explained. “Frankly it’s embarrassing, and I hate having to return all the salutes, but the standards need to be upheld.”
Wallace has what other officers call “a well-deserved reputation” at Fort Polk for his long-winded lectures and dressing-downs of those who fail to render him proper military courtesy.
Douglas says that Wallace’s strict adherence to military formalities has earned him the nickname “that dickhead” among the soldiers in his battalion.
“[Wallace] actually stopped a soldier rushing his wife into the ER,” Douglas said. “Wallace was all ‘Don’t you intend to salute and give the greeting of the day, private?’”
“When the guy was gone, the major apologized — to the other people! He was like ‘Sorry for the awkward scene. I wish there had been a better way to confront the man.’”
Sgt. Maj. Lance Edwards, the battalion’s Operations Sergeant Major is measured in his response to the issue.
“I get a hard-on for AR 600-25 as much as anyone else, but sometimes he even pisses me off,” Edwards said. “I came out of the headquarters with two cups of coffee in my hand and he actually stood in my path and waited for me to put a cup down. After I saluted the bastard he grinned and said sorry, but it ‘wasn’t his call.’”
Witnesses report that Wallace spends a majority of his day standing just outside the no-salute zone in the motor pool, harassing soldiers and then loudly bemoaning the fact that the zone doesn’t extend further into the parking lot.
When a lieutenant once suggested that he stand inside the motor pool and avoid the inconvenience he was counseled on not standing at attention while talking to a superior officer.