by Kyle Swenson
This is a sad story, so just buckle up. Why it’s sad is pretty clear on the surface (dead kid), but hanging behind the headline tragedy is a trainwreck of recklessness, both on personal and official levels. Reasons, details, and accountability — it’s all mucked up at this point. What is pretty clear? Authority figures who should have been in the driver’s seat failed to take responsibility for a young guy just trying to do right by his family and country.
290 lbs. That was Glenni “Glenn” Wilsey V 's ballpark weight when he was an average high school senior football center and wrestler at Vermilion High School in 2009, according to his mother, Lora Bailey in today’s Chronicle-Telegram.
260 lbs. When 20-year-old Glenn walked into the U.S. Army recruiting office in Sandusky last December, that’s what the scale read. Going in, Glenn had the idea of become a field medic. Due to his high test scores, however, Army recruiters suggested he aim for the bomb disposal unit. But to get the gig, the Army said Glenn would have to drop weight to 190 lbs. For a 6 foot guy, this was a considerable goal. He started off with routine diet and exercise; according to Bailey, recruiters told him he needed to “work harder.”
Glenn dove headfirst into an intense 800-calorie a day diet; when working out, he started wearing a scuba suit under two layers of sweats in order to coax as much sweat as possible from his body.
“He was monitored, weighed and tape-measured on a weekly basis,” Bailey told the Chronicle-Telegram. “He was not only worried, but he was being pushed and pushed and pressed and pressed.”
211 lbs. On February 11, Glenn officially enlisted. He still wasn’t at weight for the bomb squad. Also, he learned that his window of opportunity had been cut down: originally, Glenn was told he’d have to report to duty in September; the date was moved up to July. He kept working at it.
197 lbs. On March 3, the day Glenn’s 17-year-old brother found him dead on the living room floor, this is what he weighed. In the days leading up to his death, he couldn’t hold down any food. The official cause of death was from acute cardiac dysrhythmia due to electrolyte imbalance. Seven pounds from his goal.
The Army is currently investigating the situation.