How Long Was Jeffery Dahmer in the Military? Why Was He Kicked Out? Did He Kill There?

Image Credit: NBC

Netflix’s ‘Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story’ tells the story of how Jeffrey Dahmer killed seventeen people and got away with it for as long as he did. From various incidents depicted in the show, the audience realizes how close the serial killer had come to getting caught sometimes. There were also times when he could have easily been stopped, but the justice system seemed to have failed the victims at every turn. While Dahmer confessed to killing seventeen people, the fact that it was so easy for him to murder someone and not be caught makes one wonder if the true number of his killings was higher. The specific time duration that stands out is the time difference between his first and second killing. After the first murder, Dahmer enlisted in the army a few months later. Did something happen there? Why was his time in the army cut short? Let’s find out.

How Long Was Jeffrey Dahmer in the Military?

Having graduated from school, Dahmer was unsure of what to do next. His father, Lionel Dahmer, enrolled him at Ohio State University, where Dahmer had hoped to major in business. However, he never showed much sincerity about college and his grades had been abysmal. Even though his father had already paid for the second term, Dahmer dropped out from OSU after three months. With his increasing drinking problem and no sure path for the future, Lionel urged him to join the army. In January 1979, Dahmer enlisted and trained as a medical specialist at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. He was deployed to Baumholder, West Germany in July 1979. There he served as a combat medic in the 2nd Battalion, 68th Armored Regiment, 8th Infantry Division. He served there until 1981 when he was honorably discharged from the military service.

Why Was Jeffrey Dahmer Kicked Out of the Military?

Before Dahmer joined the military, he had already been struggling with alcoholism. His father had hoped that being in the army would help him with that, but he was wrong. Dahmer’s drinking habits worsened over time, which further affected his performance. Eventually, owing to his alcohol abuse, he was honorably discharged from the military in March 1981, under Chapter 9 of the Code of Military Justice, a year before his three-year enlistment was up. While the alcoholism deemed him unsuitable for military service, it was believed that the problems he faced in the army wouldn’t apply to his civilian life. On March 24, 1981, he was sent to Fort Jackson, South Carolina. After a debriefing, he was provided a plane ticket to travel anywhere, and he chose to go to Miami Beach, Florida, where he stayed for the next couple of months until he moved back to Ohio to be with his family.

Did Jeffrey Dahmer Kill While He Was in the Military?

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In 1991, when Dahmer’s killings were made public, the Army decided to look into the duration of his service and see if any of the unsolved cases from that time were attached to him. Similarly, the police in Germany also reopened the cases around the time that Dahmer had been in the country to see if any crimes fit the pattern and could be connected to him. They didn’t find anything.

While no unsolved murders or disappearance could be connected to him, it was later revealed that Dahmer had sexually abused two men while he was serving in the Army. In Germany, he was teamed up in a medic unit with 20-year-old Preston Davis, who claimed that he was drugged and raped by Dahmer. He couldn’t remember what exactly happened, but felt thankful “to be alive to tell the story”. Following the incident, Preston left to serve in a different unit, but the trauma followed him and affected his personal and professional life.

Once Davis left, 17-year-old Billy J. Capshaw became Dahmer’s bunkmate and next victim of sexual assault. Unlike Davis, Capshaw suffered at the serial killer’s hands for a longer period of time. He said that while Dahmer had been a nice guy when he was sober, he’d become a menacing and violent person when he got drunk. “I had probably been raped eight to 10 times, I don’t know. He was tying me to the bunk with motor-pool rope. He took all my clothing from me. He would either beat me before he raped me, or he would beat me after,” he said.

When Capshaw reported Dahmer, he was taken to the dispensary for a test with a rape kit, but nothing happened after that. No action was taken against Dahmer, who continued his assaults for another seventeen months. About his superiors, Capshaw said that “they threw me to the dogs”, especially when he discovered much later that the results of the test had been discarded. Both Davis and Capshaw appeared in Oxygen’s ‘Dahmer on Dahmer’ to talk about their experiences. They are now friends and help other survivors of military sexual assault.

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