"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