Why did Jeffrey Dahmer get kicked out of the US Army?

Eve Edwards September 22, 2022
Why did Jeffrey Dahmer get kicked out of the US Army?
Photo by Curt Borgwardt/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images


A wave of interest in Jeffrey Dahmer’s life and a string of disturbing crimes has arisen following the release of Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story to Netflix this fall – but one of the lesser known parts of Dahmer’s life was his time spent in the US Army, which resulted in Dahmer being kicked out.

WARNING: Content of a disturbing nature ahead

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story released on Netflix Wednesday, September 21 and already the series is proving to be as gory and disturbing as you’d expect. Some viewers have even reportedly turned off the show due to it being too “sick and twisted.”

One of the lesser-known parts of Dahmer’s notorious life was his time spent in the army. Let’s revisit this period of time when the serial killer tried to recourse his path.

Photo by Ralf-Finn Hestoft/Corbis via Getty Images

Jeffrey Dahmer’s father enlists him in the US Army

Jeffrey Dahmer was born on May 21, 1960, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Joyce and Lionel Dahmer. After graduating from school, Lionel Dahmer enrolled his son at Ohio State University. It was in Jeffrey Dahmer’s plan to major in business, but while at college his grades slipped and he descended into drinking alcohol heavily.

After three months at Ohio State, Dahmer dropped out of college. His father had already paid for the second term. In response to his son dropping out, Lionel Dahmer encouraged Jeffrey to join the army.

In January 1979, Dahmer enlisted and trained as a medical specialist at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. Later that year, in July, he was deployed to Baumholder, West Germany. While in West Germany, Dahmer served as a combat medic in the 2nd Battalion, 68th Armored Regiment, 8th Infantry Division, as per The Cinemaholic’s report.

Why did Jeffrey Dahmer get kicked out of the Army?

Things once again did not go well for Jeffrey Dahmer in his work and just two years into his military service, Dahmer was honorably discharged from the army due to his alcohol abuse.

In March 1981, Dahmer was discharged from the army under Chapter 9 of the Code of Military Justice. This was a year before his three-year enlistment was up, although Dahmer was honorably discharged which meant he did not lose his military benefits.

If you were wondering whether Dahmer was kicked out of the US Army because of his criminal background, then you’d be surprised to learn that it was down to his alcoholism. However, it has since come to light that Dahmer did abuse others during his time spent in the military.

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Dahmer’s crime spree continued while serving in the military

After the full extent of Jeffrey Dahmer’s crimes were made public with his 1991 arrest, the United States Army and German police looked into unsolved crimes which occurred during the period Dahmer spent in the military. None of the unsolved murder cases or disappearances could be linked to Dahmer.

However, it was later revealed that Jeffrey Dahmer had sexually abused two men who also served in the Army. Dahmer had abused his 20-year-old medic partner Preston Davis. After Davis left service, 17-year-old Billy J. Capshaw became Dahmer’s bunkmate. Dahmer reportedly sexually and physically abused Capshaw over an extended period of time.

Capshaw reported Dahmer at the time of the assaults, but no action was taken by his superiors.

Photo by Curt Borgwardt/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images

Monster on Netflix touches on Dahmer’s time in the army

While the majority of Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story delves into his crimes, it also touches on his background and the events of his life bringing him up to his first murder.

When learning that Dahmer was kicked out of the army, some fans were aghast that people around Dahmer didn’t realize there was something wrong sooner.

Another pointed out how the Army and local police departments allegedly enabled Jeffrey Dahmer by not catching him sooner, when individuals, such as Billy J. Capshaw, reported his crimes.

You can watch Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story on Netflix now.

If you have been affected by this story, you can contact the UK-based Rape Crisis team. Call 0808 802 9999 for confidential emotional support, open 12pm-2.30pm, 7pm-9.30pm every day of the year. You can also contact Victim support on 08 08 16 89 111

If you have been affected by this story and are based in the United States, you can contact the RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, National Sexual Hotline. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1 (800) 656-4673. You can also contact the Department of Defense Safe Helpline for Sexual Assault on 1 (877) 955-5247.

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Eve Edwards is a staff writer for The Focus who has been with GRV Media since April 2019. Having gained a BA (Hons) in History from the University of Bristol, Eve joined GRV starting out as a writer for Reality Titbit before making her way over to HITC. With a passion for music, TV, and cultural news, Eve eventually found a home at The Focus. Eve spent 2021-2022 freelancing for GRV Media while she completed a Masters in Music Performance, and brings her wide array of interests to the company in her written work. In Eve's spare time you'll find her working her way through the day's Wordle, Heardle, and Quordle, or struggling to complete The Guardian's cryptic crossword.