When Fort Hood officials released the name of a soldier who died May 23 in the Bell County Jail in Belton, those who served with him were both shocked he was in jail in the first place and devastated at the news.
Sgt. Marcus Lamarr Nelson Sr., 45, whose home of record is listed as Detroit, Mich., entered active duty service in April 2005 as a petroleum supply specialist. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division since June 2015.
The sergeant was being held on military charges of departing from his appointed place of duty, disobeying a lawful order from a noncommissioned officer, four counts of dereliction of duty and four counts of communicating a threat.
Nelson deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from October 2008 to September 2009 and from September 2006 to September 2007.
“I met him in January 2006 at (Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.) when I was 18,” said Josh LeBlanc, a veteran from Kountze, Texas, who deployed to Iraq with Nelson. “He was ‘loud and proud’ every morning and he was always upholding the standard. If you felt like ‘skating’ and getting out of doing things, he would still uphold the standards. That’s what he was known for.”
LeBlanc said Nelson was not only a great soldier, but an amazing person.
“He really taught me a lot about being a good person,” he said. “I was really shocked to hear about his death. I’m torn up about it.”
Other soldiers echoed the sentiment.
“Can you please post (when available) the date and location for services for Sgt. Nelson?” asked Spc. Jessica Brown. “There are a lot of us that have worked with him at his old unit that would like to pay our respects.”
“I’ve been knowing Nelson for about three years and also deployed with him to Italy when we were stationed in Germany. Nelson was never a trouble maker or someone who just would give up on life,” said veteran Anthony Rockette. “There is way more to this story and, from what I’m told, Nelson was trying to seek help with behavioral health and his unit pretty much denied that from him and made him work.”
Every time Rockette talked to Nelson, the sergeant always said he worked too much, never had time to himself and that he was super stressed out, he said.
“I strongly believe that his unit chain of command is trying to cover themselves and protect themselves because they know that they had some affects on what happened,” he said. “We left Germany and came to Fort Hood together and, while we were in Germany, he was literally the life of every formation or unit get-together. Our last first sergeant can even say the same thing. I have known this man and worked with him for so long, (and) he was never this unhappy about life. His unit chain of command needs to be investigated because this is not fair that a soldier was being mistreated and couldn’t take it anymore.”
Nelson’s awards and decorations include three Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, three Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal with four campaign stars, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon and three Overseas Service Ribbons.
Circumstances surrounding this incident are under investigation and services will be posted as soon as available.
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