Two soldiers in Germany die in alcohol-related accidents
Two U.S. Army soldiers — one from Darmstadt, the other from Hanau — died last week in alcohol-related accidents, prompting the commander of U.S. Army Europe to, once again, remind his charges of the dangers of excessive drinking.
The soldiers “didn’t own the edge, they went over it,” Gen. B.B. Bell wrote in a message posted Monday on the USAREUR Web site.
“These tragedies, together with the bad incidents and ‘near misses’ we have seen in the past few months, represent a very serious problem — one that demands our immediate, collective attention,” Bell stated.
The Darmstadt soldier was identified Tuesday as Pvt. Craig L. Young, of the 32nd Signal Battalion. Young, 24, was struck and killed by a car on the night of Nov. 22, moments after leaving a bar in Darmstadt.
On Nov. 23, Sgt. 1st Class Martin Pena of Hanau died of injuries he sustained on Nov. 13, when he tumbled down a flight of stairs inside a Frankfurt restaurant. His age was unavailable.
Last month, after a rash of motorcycle accidents over several months that included five fatalities, the 1st Armored Division grounded all of its licensed motorcycle riders, pending additional training. At the time, Bell was urging commanders to “take any action” to prevent further accidents.
According to German police, Young was struck as he attempted to cross a Darmstadt street immediately after leaving a nightclub. The driver of the car, a 27-year-old German, was not drunk at the time of the incident, police said.
Young was taken to a German hospital where he died soon afterward.
Pena, who is assigned to the 502nd Engineer Company, suffered a head injury when he fell earlier this month. At the time of the incident, he was with a fellow soldier in Sachsenhausen, a section of Frankfurt.
The Army didn’t provide details of the deaths until Tuesday.
A memorial service is planned for Pena on Thursday, while Young’s service is scheduled for Friday.
Coming at the beginning of the holiday season, Bell strongly urged those in authority to lead, saying drunkenness is not the image he wants associated with being a soldier.
“Do not allow alcohol to diminish who you are, what you represent, and what you have accomplished,” Bell wrote.