“Dahmer: Monster — The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” premiered this week on Netflix. The eerie show centers on sadistic serial murderer Jeffrey Dahmer and details how his dark path was forged.
The show is a fictionalized retelling of Dahmer’s story, which involved dismemberment, necrophilia and cannibalism. And while he was notorious for committing the heinous serial murders of 17 people between 1978 and 1991, a lesser known portion of his story includes a brief stint in the U.S. Army.
Dahmer joined the Army after dropping out of the Ohio State University. Records show his first year in the service was “average or slightly above average,” according to the Akron Beacon Journal. Though he originally enlisted in 1979 to serve with military police, Dahmer was transferred to medical training instead, the New York Times reported.
“Dahmer decorated his room in Baumholder with a poster of the heavy-metal rock band Iron Maiden. He also spent hours poring over a children’s picture book about the troll and the billy goats Gruff and telling boozy W. C. Fields jokes,” The Times wrote. “Once he gave his bunkmate, Billy J. Capshaw, a birthday card with a beer mug on it and a Fields punchline. ‘To a fellow guzzler on his 19th birthday,’ he wrote on the card.”
According to his stepmother Shari Dahmer, it was this propensity for drinking that earned him a discharge for alcohol-related issues, AP noted. Dahmer was separated from service in 1981 under Chapter 9 of Army Regulation 635–200, as it pertained to substance abuse.
Capshaw would later come forward with an accusation of rape during his time as Dahmer’s bunkmate. According to the Independent, another soldier named Preston Davis came forward to accuse Dahmer of drugging and raping him inside “an armored personnel vehicle.”
“I had probably been raped eight to 10 times, I don’t know,” Capshaw told the Independent. “He was tying me to the bunk with motor-pool rope. He took all my clothing from me. He would either beat me before he raped me or he would beat me after.”
On the Netflix show, a barracks rape is implied, but not explicitly shown, and nor are the soldier’s personal details.
In July 1991, Dahmer was caught by police after one of his would-be victims narrowly escaped his Milwaukee apartment. The Associated Press noted shortly thereafter that he had served in the military as a medic in Germany more than a decade prior. It was then suggested he could be connected with five murder cases in Baumholder.
“Dahmer was stationed from July 1979 to March 1981 with the 68th Armored Regiment in Baumholder in central Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate state, where officials say five unsolved murder cases were being re-examined to seek any connection to Dahmer,” the article reported.
He was never officially charged with any of the killings in Germany, however.
Viewers can stream “Dahmer: Monster — The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” on Netflix.
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.