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From papasan: How the Fort Lewis “CQ” really worked

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on May 29, 2009 at 9:07 am |
May 29, 2009 9:07 am

This is a comment a regular reader, “papasan,” added to our editorial, “The blame spreads widely in Leah King’s death.” I’m posting it here because it’s an inside look at how post security worked in his day. I wonder how much has changed.

I spent 2 years in the barracks on Ft. Lewis and many a night on “CQ” (Charge of Quarters) duty.The barracks had just been built and provided soldiers with rooms of 2-3 men. As an NCO, I had a private room.

A major problem was that the CQ was far removed from the barracks complex and one could only communicate with the soldiers by intercom.

The intercom was set in the common area between 4 rooms and was largely ignored by the troops when the CQ called for a soldier. In urgent cases, a runner could be sent to the barracks to try and find someone, but this was a waste of time because the outer doors were kept locked for security.

It’s not surprising that young ladies were in the barracks as it was a routine occurrence when I was there in the late ’70’s. I doubt if it has changed because the layout has not changed.

Young soldiers are left unsupervised and with no means of checking on who is doing what. The NCO on CQ duty isn’t about to walk 1/4 mile to the barracks in the dead of night if he doesn’t absolutely HAVE to.(I did when I was on and busted two soldiers for having civilian girls in the barracks. In both instances, the girls were of High School age.

The young lady is dead because of her actions, the actions of the soldier and the inaction of the Army to properly supervise young soldiers.

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