I joined the Army in 1984 with Darlene Krashoc, when our biggest concern was whether we should leave in two days or go through “Basic Training” in the winter. It wasn’t a hard choice and two days later, we were processing in Ft. Dix NJ.
By the time we arrived to Alpha 4/3, we knew not to question our superiors and fell into separate platoons when called.
I was in 1st platoon and had three Drill Sergeants:
- SSG E. Spratling AKA Ernest C. Spratling, Earnest C. Spratling, E. Spratling
- SGT J. McLin
- SGT J. Gilliam
In the first week or two I was scheduled to be Drill Sergeant Spratling’s CQ Runner, for an hour, in the middle of the night. Shortly after reporting for duty he expressed an interest in “Sneaking me out” and when I declined, he got angry and spent the rest of the hour lecturing me on the way I shook my ass is my tight fitting BDU’s. It was a long hour.
For a week or two, Drill Sergeant Spratling was flirtatious but reasonable. However, that soon changed and his hostility towards me became relentless; I kept telling myself I’d be gone soon enough but just before graduation, I broke.
Drill Sgt. Spratling caught me talking to Darlene and called me into empty room, shut the door, and ordered me to “Attention” to tell me I better keep my mouth shut or he’d destroy me and “no one” would ever believe me.
A few hours later, I was put on the schedule to be his CQ runner, so, I asked my platoon guide to switch me with the fireguard; Fireguard would have kept me with my platoon. I didn’t want to tell her what was happening but she refused to switch me unless I had a reason so I gave her one. I don’t recall what I told her, but she reported to Drill Sergeant McLin .
Drill Sergeant McLin questioned me about Drill Sergeant Spratling and a day or two later, she took me to the Company Commander’s office: Captain D. There were a few other recruits in his office when Captain D. let us know we weren’t required to write a statement and a written a statement would cause an investigation into everyone’s activities.
I asked what would happen if we didn’t write a statement and Captain D said, “We’ll go on as if nothing ever happened.” I knew I couldn’t be alone with him again so I wrote a statement.
On March 17, 1987, I was driving Darlene’s truck in Ft. Carson Co, when an MP came from the opposite direction, blocked the road and ordered me out of the vehicle. Police were everywhere. They eventually allowed me to drive the truck to the MP station with an escort.
A short time later, Colorado Springs Detectives walked in, took me to a much smaller room, and I learned someone murdered Darlene.
In 2009, I decided I’d seek help with a Mental Health Dr. in Charlottesville, VA. I chose him because he has some knowledge with forensic psychology and thought he’d understand my situation. I cancelled my second appointment but before I could reschedule, Detective Gysin with Colorado Springs police Department called and wanted to know if I’d meet with CID.
Adams with Fort Carson CID called to schedule a time to meet at the Police Department on Sunday 31 January 2010.
Adams introduced himself along with Albright (I’m not positive about his last name). To start, they asked when I met Darlene and when I said, “8th grade”, Adams asked a follow up question and when I tried to answer Albright kept saying “were going to check on that” getting louder and firmer. All I could say was “Ok.” It was my first meeting with CID but I thought it odd that they’d flown 1700 miles, yet didn’t know the basic.
The next day, they came to my home and asked if I’d be willing to take a lie detector test. I said yes, but Albright said they were just curious, and then Adams asked if I’d give DNA. I was trying to stay focused but I remembered the morning I was threated and slammed with the realization of who “no one” was. I wanted them out of my home.
Adam’s asked me to sign papers but my name was misspelled. I was ashamed to be a veteran. It seemed they didn’t care about Darlene’s murder investigation any more than their predecessors did. I initialed the misspelling before signing for my submission.
Sometime later, I seen a newspaper that posted Drill Sgt. Spratling as a public servant and became a police officer 11 years to the day Darlene was last seen alive. Oddly enough, he retied 30 years to the day we signed our contract.