Army Spc. Demetrius L. Void
Demetrius Void was always focused on academics in high school: Teachers said he never shied away from asking for help and had a competitive nature.
"He kept at it until he figured out that calculus," said math teacher Sharlene Foster. But Void also always wanted to be different. He decided not to apply for college and instead chose to follow his family's tradition of military service.
"He said he was tired of school," said his uncle Keith Void. "He said he was tired of being smart." Void, 20, of Orangeburg, S.C., died Sept. 15 at Kandahar Airfield of injuries sustained when a military vehicle struck him while he was jogging. He was assigned to Fort Hood. The military has said it is investigating the hit-and-run accident.
Demetrius Void was disciplined before he joined the Army, being active in the JROTC at Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School.
"He greeted students at the front desk and said, 'You can't go in there until you get your pants up. ... This is an order,'" recalled Angelia Fersner, the school's guidance counselor, who called Void her "acting secretary."
Void is survived by his mother and two brothers.
A Reservist friend of mine once worked in a civilian capacity as base security lead for Habbaniyah/al Taqaddam in Iraq. He dealt with all injuries and KIA situations, including body recoveries of soldiers lost off base in IED attacks. Because of that job, he will never sleep a full night without vivid and dramatic nightmares for the rest of his life. One of the KIAs that he described to me while recalling his time there was an on-base vehicle accident, which is no less tragic than any other way to go.
You may not like the MPs, and you may be quick to draw the "power trip" card anytime they nab you for doing 31 in a 20 zone in your Toyota Hilux, but there may be a reason for it.