"Spec. Ivan Lopez, 34, was a military truck driver who served four months in Iraq in 2011. He had arrived at the post in February from another military base in Texas. He was married and had family living in the Fort Hood area, Milley said. The man was living in a rundown apartment complex in northwest Killeen where neighbors said he and his wife kept to themselves. “He was the kind of person that even if you tried to talk to him wouldn’t open up,” Jessie Brown, a neighbor who often passed him on morning walks, told the Post. About 4 p.m. Wednesday, the soldier assigned to the 13th Sustainment Command fired shots inside a building housing the 1st Medical Brigade and in a facility belonging to the 49th Transportation Battalion. He was soon confronted by a female military police officer who has not yet been identified, Milley said. Milley said the man put his hands up but then pulled out a gun from under his jacket. He shot himself in the head with a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol that was purchased recently but not authorized on base." Washpost
Soldiers are grouped by Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) into three broad categories:
- Combat Arms (Infantry, Armor, Artillery, Aviation, Special Forces and Combat Engineers (these people are the fighters)
– Combat Support Arms (Other Engineers, MI, Military Police Corps, Signal Corps, non combat aviation)(These people are those who directly support the fighting and in many instances are involved in some fighting themselves)
- Combat Service Support (Acquisition Corps, Chaplains Corps, Finance Corps, Judge Advocate Generals Corps, Medical Corps, Ordnance Corps, Quartermaster Corps and Transportation Corps) (These people may be involved in fighting but in the normal course of events are not)
Former major Nidal Hassan and Specialist Ivan Lopez both were in the Combat Service Support category. All soldiers are inherently fighters with the exception of medical personnel and chaplains, but most do not have the direct function of fighting. If they fight, this usually occurs as self defense.
This man was 34 years old. His rank was Specialist (E-4). This is a low rank in the enlisted force of the US Army. How long had he served? Nine years in the Puerto Rico National Guard and then in recent years in the Regular Army. He certainly was not prospering in the Army. His MOS made him not a non-combatant but certainly not someone whose basic business was fighting.
He served in Iraq for four months as a truck driver in a Transportation Corps unit. This was in 2011. The withdrawal was in full progress and there was then something approaching a cease fire observed by various enemies of the US. It was clear that their intention was to allow US forces to withdraw. There is no indication that he ever heard "a shot fired in anger." He drove trucks, big trucks hauling equipment to Kuwait. The degree of stress involved in this has been much exagerated in the present atmosphere. There is little in such duty that would drive a man mad. There is no indication that he was wounded or seriously injured in Iraq.
Lopez had a wife and a child. His pay and allowances would not have been enough for them to live comfortably. They were probably eligible for food stamps and are reported to have lived in a shabby apartment complex off post in Killeen, Texas just outside the post gate. IMO it is a fair question whether or not a soldier of so low a grade should be allowed to be married with family. The money is just not there. It used to be the rule that soldiers of that rank were required to have the permission of their commanding officer to marry. Perhaps that was a good idea. The stresses set up by poverty are great.
Lopez bought his weapon in a civilian gun store in Killeen. He had not yet been officially diagnosed as mentally ill although the process was underway and he was medicated for depression and anxiety. A conclusion had not been reached with regard to PTSD and presumably for that reason no input had been made into the national firearms background check system that presumably would have kept Lopez from buying his pistol.
It should be remembered that the US Army cannot be in the business of generating veterans' disability benefits for anyone who wants them unless it is established objectively that these benefits are deserved. The troops have learned that a diagnosis of PTSD or TBI brings with it a substantial benefit from the VA in the form of lifetime: treatment at no expense, tax benefits and disability payments. These are particularly helpful for people who separate from the military before serving long enough to achieve retired status.
There will, of course be, an outcry from the anti-gun people. pl
I wish the Army of today, in some respects, was more like the Army of yesterday. I’m not saying we need to go back to four enlisted in a room with everything dress right dress in every closet, but permission to marry is near and dear. I recommended on several occasions to my commander that young E2s should not be given command sponsorship due to shenanigans of the fiance.
An example of the weakness of today’s mentality can be seen in how a black female specialist can post a petition to the white house to change AR 670-1 because the new grooming standards are racist, I shit you not. I guess it will take another serious land war toknock the Army out of this self esteem at all costs mode of thinking tthat’s been in play for far too long. Witness GEN Allen shamefully going on about “diversity is our strength” after the Hassan attack. That overgilted idiot refused to recognize how the Army’s idiotic focus on diversity precipitated the killings!
As an aside, I wonder if the military climate of Hood is conductive to this sort of thing. I’ve heard some stories about things happening on Bragg, but what I’ve heard about how fast and loose Hood is sounds unbelievable.
Well its hard to outcry when its military on military and an officer who drew her weapon seems to have precipitated the suicidal ending of the assault.
Ergo, condolences and kudos.
Perhaps an outcry from the veterans services people notwithstanding your observation on the need for claims documentation.
It will be interesting to learn;
– Was this person a soldier of the Military Police?
– Was this person enlisted or an officer?
– was this person a civilian civil service post police person and not in the military at all? pl
Tyler: From the Colonel’s summary, this appears to be a crime of frustration, i.e., a crime. How can the Army prevent the impossible?
I suspect we will be bombarded by lots of sloppy reporting and shallow commentary over this.
Because many of us who participate on this blog have served in the military, we approach this incident as an Army problem. The problem needs to be looked at from a mental health view. How do we keep weapons away from people who exhibit the first sign of mental problems. Mass killings all have one common denominator: a mentally impaired shooter.
” I guess it will take another serious land war ….”
Yes, but it is the politicians who need to have sense knocked into them. For them the most important war is the “war on women”. As you know it wasn’t a lesbian doing the shooting, so obviously we need more gay women in the combat arms. Problem solved!
He was in a Service Support branch, Transportation. There are a lot of women there, a good many probably prefer other women. pl
That’s a hell of a stereotype, COL Lang!
Of course, stereotypes generally exist because they are true. You apparently have the same experience and impressions of the Motor T world as I do…
R Whitman is right. This is not an Army problem. It’s a problem of mental health. Although Lopez was not yet diagnosed with PTSD, he was being treated with Ambien for sleep disorders and some kind of medication for depression. That shit is dangerously unpredictable. The danger to one’s mind from these drug combinations is probably worse than surviving a roadside bomb on a road in Iraq, which Lopez did not experience.
IMO, treatment of mental illness is far less developed than treatment of physical illness. Diagnosis is still a matter of guesswork and treatment, especially medicinal treatment, is a matter of trying stuff and seeing if it works… or makes matters worse. It’s closer to the level of medicine in the early 1800s.
I fail to understand why the wages for a full time job, particularly in the military, might not enough to support a wife and child without financial stress in the worlds most advanced economy – whether this is relevant to this discussion is a moot point.
There’s always inane stuff that happens on Army posts, that’s just the nature of the beast.
The point has been made before that the public makes up for its lack of involvement with the military by unilateral hero worship. Already the PTSD troupes are being trotted out, when as the good Colonel pointed out, its very likely he never heard a shot fired in anger.
So as you say: sloppy reporting and shallow commentary. Perhaps a call for more money to fix the perpetually wrecked VA that will vanish down a hole to never be seen again.
A 34 year old married spec4 with children cannot be a happy soldier…..
Its going to be a damned mess and people will die in the name of their secular religious insanity called diversity. The same people so smug about science can’t get it through their heads that there are fundamental biological differences between men and women.
It got memory holed recently that Obama called the service chiefs into his office, told them gays in the military was a done deal and that if they had a problem with it they could resign their commissions. The days of GEN Marshall are long gone.
Likely. That was my experience as well. That or women who were, to put it politely, “infantry mattresses”.
I wonder how he kept his job as an E4 for so long when the Army is looking to chapter out infantrymen who were honorably injured as fast as possible. Got to have room for those new Diverse Soldiers or whatever the new progressive flavor of the month is.
Old thing. Soldiers do not have the opportunity to compete and participate in “the world’s greatest economy.” They take what the Congress gives them. Would an Australian corporal have the means from pay and allowances to live as well as you say Lopez should have lived? pl
You mean the part about lots of women in the CS and SS branches? Stereotype? That’s very funny! Lesbians? Hey that’s traditional stuff. It has been that way so long as I can remember and that is a ways back. pl
Mainly because so many of the benefits of the military aren’t listed explicitly as pay benefits. You’ve got the commissary, PX, medical, and housing allowances that add up to a shiny penny.
BUT, according to the latest military pay tables, an E4 with 9 years makes about 2490 a month. I’m not sure how the reserve to active conversion works, but I’ll be generous here. As a single E4 getting jump pay with two years of tax free paychecks and pulling combat pay, Alaskan COLA, and the Oil Diff Fund, I was comfortable enough to be able to fly home (or wherever else) on leave, make payments on a car, keep a fridge stocked with beer, take a lady out on the town, and generally live it up a little.
If you’re a married E4 living off post with multiple children, I imagine that pay check does not ever stretch far enough. I guess what I’m getting at is that the Army will help you, to a point, but you’ve got to take some responsibility for your own actions, and part of that is making sure you can take care of your kids.
You should make a thread where us soldiers sit around and tell stories that go “Well there was this one female who…” and see where it goes.
It is a long, long time since I commanded a bunch of E-4s, but I would say that even though they made much less money than you did the single men lived well, the married ones not well at all. pl
“The problem needs to be looked at from a mental health view.”
If you can’t be trusted with a weapon what else can you not be trusted with – like your own children, the children at the school you teach at, the car you drive to work? What professions shall you be restricted from? Is this a permanent label or temporary? Who gets to do the diagnosis ‘proving’ you have a condition that requires such restrictions? How do you prove you are no longer have that condition?
When will we start evaluating the impact of all the drugs issued for stress/depression etc and how they are contributing to suicide and in this case possibly contributing to mass-murder suicide?
ok. will we survive the experience? pl
An E-4 over 6 years grosses $2427.30 monthly and $1157 BAH with dependents. There’s a clothing allowance also. Hardly a princely sum but at $44,000+ annually, not too awful bad. About what an experienced OTR truck driver makes. Far too many of the troops have no financial savvy (stereotype alert), fall prey to payday loans, and never heard of a budget, and there are predators lurking aside every gate.
2490/month is $14.65 hr in the civilian world. That is about $1.14 less than the latest UAW contract starting wage in the automotive industry, and they don’t get free medical. Don’t forget that the cost of living in Texas is allot lower than elsewhere.
In 1976 I lived with my new bride in a shabby apartment complex just outside the gate of Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia. I taught my wife to shoot my 30-30 lever action when the local sheriff advised us of shootings in the apartment complex. My full monthly take home pay was $666. I remember that figure for obvious reasons. We couldn’t afford air conditioning during the Georgia Summer. Military compensation has come a long way since then, but it’s still not a path to riches. It should never be.
That’s best kept for a night by the fire with a mason jar of Tennessee’s finest. (If my supplier of same ever comes through again). Of course you know our wives will be doing their version of the same……
No, IMO it IS an Army problem, an Army mental problem. This is not something new. I remember my platoon sergeant when I was an infantry platoon leader telling me how it had been in Korea. He was in the Wolfhounds (27th Infantry Regiment) His company had lost a beloved commander to a Chinese night attack on the Yalu River. When they got back to below the 38th Parallel, they went into reserve to re-fit. Within a few days the men started to fight each other with guns, knives, hand grenades. They would fight over trivialities of dress, position in the mess hall line, imagined slights. This only ended when the new company commander arrived. This was Millett. This company had a bad case of what the French Army called “Le Cafard,” (the bug). It is stress induced and the stress need not come from direct experience of combat. I saw the same thing any number of times in 27 years. pl
I won’t mind reading the stories and experiences 🙂
It could be an eye opener, considering that some of those same female soldiers who did transfer to the private sector (at least in the industry that I am in) had made life h–l for us- civies in the corporate world.
That’s a frightening story. I’m thankful I’ve never witnessed anything like this among our soldiers. However, I’ve seen shit that’ll turn you white in the Chouf Mountains in 1983. (to quote Ernie Hudson in Ghostbusters). I guess it would have been more accurate to say that this is not exclusively an Army problem.
If we practice SWMBO OPSEC we may, but no guarantees. Many good men have been lost in these exercises of one upsmanship.
We had it easy. I was commissioned in 1962 with over three years service as enlisted in the National Guard before VMI. At that time a 2nd Lt. with no prior service was the recipient of $222/month plus about $50/month in subsistence allowance in lieu of field rations plus either quarters with maintenance and utilities or a fixed quarters allowance. In those days there was no variable housing allowance and so the allowance was often inadequate in differing locations. We were lucky. my new bride and I moved into a unfurnished nice little brick duplex for company grade officers. It had a vaulted living room/dining room, a kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom. it was located on El Caney Road behind colonels row at Ft. Devens. My NG service raised my base pay to a princely $35/month. Life was good. pl
The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to
CAPTAIN REGINALD BENJAMIN DESIDERIO ARMY
for service as set forth in the following
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the repeated risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company E, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, in action against enemy aggressor forces at Ipsok, Korea, on 27 November 1950. Captain Desiderio’s company was given the mission of defending the command post of a task force against an enemy breakthrough. After personal reconnaissance during darkness and under intense enemy fire, he placed his men in defensive positions to repel an attack. Early in the action he was wounded, but refused evacuation and despite enemy fire continued to move among his men checking their positions and making sure that each element was prepared to receive the next attack. Again wounded, he continued to direct his men. By his inspiring leadership he encouraged them to hold their position. In the subsequent fighting when the fanatical enemy succeeded in penetrating the position, he personally charged them with carbine, rifle, and grenades, inflicting many casualties until he himself was mortally wounded. His men, spurred on by his intrepid example, repelled this final attack. Captain Desiderio’s heroic leadership, courageous and loyal devotion to duty, and his complete disregard for personal safety reflect the highest honor on him and are in keeping with the esteemed traditions of the U.S. Army.
“The three soldiers had a candle burning in the upturned cavity of a steel helmet. A rubber poncho stretched over their little hole. The temperature inside their shelter was a pleasant fifty degrees Fahrenheit.
The rest of the platoon were scattered in similar holes across a stony, wooded hilltop. A few men were rotated every hour to listening posts to guard against a surprise. The heavy weapons “sat” outside the granite holes well covered against the weather. That protection and the arctic lubricant they had been “dressed” with would keep them in order.
Laine waited for O’Connor to start again. It was going to be a long night. “Desiderio?” he prompted.
“We were on a low rise. We looked down across a half mile of frozen, open ground to the river. Manchuria was on the other side. The ground was solid. We dug all day to get holes not as deep as this. The regimental command post was right behind us, maybe two hundred meters.” O’Connor leaned forward staring into the small yellow flame.
Light danced on the grey, lichen encrusted rock around them…
One of the squad leaders stuck his head in under the poncho to say that the outposts had been relieved. Shapiro called the company command post on the sound powered telephone line to report this.
“And?” Laine asked.
“About midnight a wave of infiltrators came right into our holes. They crawled most of the way from the river. There were hundreds of them. I mean it, hundreds. We fought them in every hole and outside the holes. Gun butts, entrenching tools, fists; we started throwing chunks of frozen dirt at them before it was over. We lost a third of the company in the first attack but they kept coming back. They must have attacked a dozen times. After every attack, The Old Man came around to each position. He was hurt bad but he came to ask us to hold on, to ask us not to give up. After a while he was crawling to our holes, asking, begging for the same thing.
When the sun came up we saw we were ‘buried’ in the bodies of big yellow men in quilted blue uniforms. Their two-humped camels were down the slope where they left them. We collected them to use for pack animals and to sling stretchers between. The Chinese had entered the war and these guys were from Mongolia. We found The Old Man with a couple of these blue men lying across him. His .45 was in his hand. He had bled and frozen to death… His face was stuck to the ground. We poured warm water on his face to free it. He got the Medal of Honor. Twelve years now, twelve years. The company loved him. I loved him. That is why it was so hard for Millett to take over when we got back to below the 38th parallel. You remind me….”
O’Connor got up and went to check the position.” From “So Long to Learn.” Homage to The Wolfhounds. pl
I imagine you could also get a number of female soldiers sitting around telling stories about male soldiers also. “Well there was this one male who….” Women like to gossip as much as men, but I don’t think we brag as much.
We now have two threads for this. cross post on this and I wlil give you a few examples in both categories. pl
Nancy when did you serve?
We didn’t live like princes but you could have yourself a nice nest egg at the end of four years and not pauper yourself in the interim. Ill be the first to admit that junior enlisted need to be watched like hawks though by their team leaders so they’re not getting in the shit financially.
Seemed like single E6 was the sweet spot in pay v responsibility, but then again you could get yourself in a mess if you weren’t careful and didn’t have that family to consider.
A Third year corporal would get about $57,000 per year but you would need to take into account tax breaks for dependents, subsidies and allowances to establish take home pay and make a comparison.
All I can say is that We do not seem to have a poverty problem among soldiers here, or at least not one that I am aware of in the Army or elsewhere for that matter. The minimum wage is about $14.50/hr or about $660 per week.
The actual rates tables can be found at this link:
Good points, all I heard was 4 months in Iraq, I’m not competent to apply or judge any soldiers scale of horrible combat suffering sufficient to establish causation and entitlement for benefits I don’t pay.
You know I disdain police, I take your points – apples and oranges, and resource limits – all those outside the wire, Respect, where and when do I salute or shut tfu.
All I know, as I tried to make clear in a post on addiction and mental illness, is that every ones dark is tritely different.
Its clear to me people in general seem not as tough as you and your peers were and are, nor as apt to suffer in silence and deference to duty, honor, authority, etc. I have pondered returning soldiers in the past and their integration upon return. In almost complete ignorance.
I have however concluded that human suffering is real, and of all citizens, surely vets, along with
our insecure or infirm elderly, merit all the medicine, compassion and taxes we, er, you, can reasonably direct their way.
Not up to me to sort that one, and were it so, and did I have your expertise etc., I trust we’d divine different allotments.
Its crazy for me because you’ve convinced me the pleasures and virtues of a few guns, yet I still think either you got too many, or theres something in the water or coming out the radio because you shoot at each other in numbers no other industrialized country does.
This guy was about mental health, not guns, tho mebbe he shouldn’t have had one. To the extent his mental health is a function of his service, its an army problem too.
I don’t have enough data to opine whether trying to treat them all to some extent short of lifetime disability pensions amounts to a greater net savings by harm reduction then just triaging the acutely ill, and doing whatever with them you’re willing, and boot the rest. I am a big a believer in harm reduction.
on a more bucolic note, you wrote this other great little scene, was back in training, out all night, poncho’ed up against a rock outta the wind with a fire with a couple buds, feasting on baked beans I think it was like it was the finest bbq on china plates. . .
The smug ones understand the science perfectly, this is the adherence to an ideology of equality. It is, to paraphrase Thomas Mann, not a natural callousness of the aristocracy, but an encultured callousness of the academic elite who refuse to bear the burdens of society yet demand to rule it. To them the armed forces exist as an instrument of government to end ‘discrimination’ and allow ‘advancement’ – as they define it; for them the armed forces are not about violence and destruction in the service of the state (to use the Col’s term).
Yes indeed; both of my younger sister’s could add their tales. I’ll send them the link.
@ Tyler what is wrong with diversity ? It is one of the primordial principles of life, has been in effect since the first human beings radiated out of Africa. As far as I know the principle of polarity is here to stay: Brass is a binary alloy of copper and zinc but it displays far superior mechanical properties compared to its seperate constituent metals. BTW, some of the world’s strongest fighting units the world has ever seen were socialized through sodomy and pederasty on the banks of the Aegean sea.
It’s possible he married with more rank and then lost it.
Imagine he was not allowed to marry and he would still have committed this crime: would you then say that this is an expression of his “sex deprivation syndrome”?
As a side note an interesting article: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/anger-management-self-control
This is a mental health problem and an Army problem.
I am still on Active Duty, with 23 years of service. The Army is suffering a mental health crisis. There are all manner of opinions as to why, running from too much combat to low recruiting standards. The truth is somewhere in the middle.
The real problem is that the Army does not know how to address the problem. The typical response to any issue is to force soldiers to undergo training, which is usually delivered in the form of a check-the-block Powerpoint presentation that each soldier must view annually. At last count there were 56 such annual briefing requirements.
In addition, soldiers believe that self-identifying for mental issues will result in adverse action, as they see the opposite all the time.
If a soldier does self-identify, or is referred for evaluation and treatment by peers or supervisors, that soldier quickly becomes a pariah. There is an institutional bias which results in the soldier seeking treatment generally being suspected malingering.
The economy is not strong, and the Army is in a drawdown. Soldiers seeking treatment know that they will likely face discharge.
I guarantee that whatever steps the Army takes to further address this will not improve the situation, and will almost certainly make it worse.
“If a soldier does self-identify, or is referred for evaluation and treatment by peers or supervisors, that soldier quickly becomes a pariah.” I am sorry to say that I think this is inevitable in a profession that requires dependably stable mental states for mission accomplishment. The reductions in force that are inevitable in the ground forces make such a process even more inevitable as discriminators are sought for elimination of surplus people. It has always bee thus. Look at the giant RIFs that followed VN. pl
Being unmarried has little to do with “sexual deprivation” in American society. Some might argue that unmarried men are probably more likely to have frequent sex than those who are married. Perhaps you are from a culture in which the opposite is true. pl
He was busted from a higher grade? I have not seen that in the record thus far. pl
You don’t understand the “back in training,” thing. Your image of “training” seems to be derived from war movies in which the All American Platoon made up of the all American Boys collection (Blacks, Hell’s Kitchen Irish, the wiry little Italian guy, Puerto Rican kids who speak broken English, the Jewish intellectual, etc). are shaped up by Sergeant Trask for the big scene at the end where the climax of combat is faced by this crew and all fades into black at “The End.” Well, maybe that was true in the Civil War or WW2 but that does not equate in any way to life in the Regular Army. The US Army as an institution is a readiness institution. Its units train not toward “The End” but rather toward a state of being in which the unit and the individuals in it are prepared in terms of knowledge, physical condition and attitude to be committed under the Joint Chain of Command to sustained combat. Achieving that state of readiness is an all consuming process that occurs in a cycle that repeats itself year after year. When I was a lieutenant a woman friend of my mother in law asked what it is we did in the Army. This was in 1963. I told her that we trained. She looked blank. “Train for what?” she asked. “Train to be prepared to fight,” I replied. “Well maybe you will find a real job someday,” she said. “Try to be a good provider.” pl
“some of the world’s strongest fighting units…” The Roman legions destroyed the sacred band of thebes in combat. All that socialization via pederastry didn’t help the Thebens that day and lack of socialization via pederastry didn’t hinder the legionaires combat abilities. The US army doesn’t exist to socialize via pederastry or to promote diversity however defined.
Are you high? Human civilization has been one long saga of my tribe versus your tribe. This forced multi cult nonsense is artificial and I.poised from above by our “elites”, and will end in bloodshed in my lifetime, if not the Colonel’s.
Did I have to serve to understand men?
The median household income in the US is approximately $50,000. Perhaps $44,000 is not enough if one has a family, but it is not that far below the median.
And if $44,000 is considered poverty level, much of the nation lives in poverty.