KILLEEN, Texas — A soldier died at Fort Hood on Monday after he chose to ignore his chain of command’s explicit instructions and consumed a third beer at a unit barbecue before holiday leave, Duffel Blog has learned.
“These young kids don’t understand that the orders we give are for their protection,” 1st Sgt. Will Thompson told reporters. “This is what happens when you engage in risk taking behavior. People die!”
Upon notification of the next of kin, Fort Hood casualty affairs announced the soldier was Pfc. Joseph Wallace, a mechanic in the 1st Cavalry Division.
A source present during the incident said that Wallace "definitely attended" the safety brief prior to the barbecue, where both the commander and first sergeant told the soldiers that they were only authorized two beers each and were not allowed to be released until 5 p.m., even though it was a half-day.
Although it is common knowledge among military personnel that two beers is the maximum safe amount of alcohol that can be consumed at a unit event, Wallace threw caution to the wind, deciding at 4:23 p.m. to drink a third beer that another service member had left on a picnic table.
Within minutes he had picked a fight with his squad leader, stolen his battalion commander’s credit card, and smoked crack-cocaine with a drug dealer he met under the park bleachers.
“The party was coming to an end," said Pvt. Horace Mills, describing Wallace's last moments. "The halfhearted game of volleyball between the officers and the enlisted guys with no friends was almost over. Wallace was picking broken glass out of his hand, when he noticed my Ford Mustang parked next to the curb.”
He added: “Next thing I knew, he’d stolen my keys, leapt in the car, and roared out of the lot. He must have been going 75 mph. Wallace only made it two blocks before he ran into a school bus full of kids.”
At press time, a visibly angry 1st Sgt. Thompson was still shaking his head and trying to understand why a soldier would do such a thing. “Three beers? What in God’s name was he thinking?”