Ernest Walker, the Army veteran whose free meal was taken away by a Chili's restaurant manager who doubted his military service, has reached an agreement with Brinker International, the restaurant's parent corporation, that includes a donation to an advocacy effort for veterans.
Walker went to a Chili's in Cedar Hill on Veterans Day to enjoy the restaurant's offer of a free burger. He said a manager there wouldn't accept proof of his military service after another customer questioned whether Walker had actually served because he was black.
Walker said the manager also doubted the validity of his service dog, Barack.
As the veteran began filming the exchange with his cellphone, the manager grabbed Walker's leftovers and walked away.
Chili's apologized to Walker for his experience and placed the manager on leave. In addition to donating to Walker's new veterans' campaign, a separate donation to the Feed Our Vets organization will provide 100,000 meals to veterans in communities where homelessness and hunger are on the rise.
Walker's effort, called Feed A Million Soldiers, aims to help veterans deal with the challenges they face as they move from military to civilian life. Saturday afternoon, Walker was set to host the inaugural event for that effort in Duncanville featuring an appreciation dinner for veterans and their families.
On Monday, Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans received a suspended sentence of 60 days in jail, said Samantha Dooies, an assistant to the New Hanover County District Attorney.
Evans must complete 18 months of unsupervised probation, pay $8,000 in restitution, complete a domestic violence offenders program, and he cannot have any contact with his former girlfriend, Dooies told Task & Purpose. The special operations Marine is also only allowed to have access to firearms though the military while on base or deployed.
The Marine lieutenant colonel removed from command of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May was ousted over alleged "misconduct" but has not been charged with a crime, Task & Purpose has learned.
Lt. Col. Francisco Zavala, 42, who was removed from his post by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division on May 7, has since been reassigned to the command element of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and a decision on whether he will be charged is "still pending," MEF spokeswoman 1st Lt. Virginia Burger told Task & Purpose last week.
"We are not aware of any ongoing or additional investigations of Lt. Col. Zavala at this time," MEF spokesman 2nd Lt. Brian Tuthill told Task & Purpose on Monday. "The command investigation was closed May 14 and the alleged misconduct concerns Articles 128 and 133 of the UCMJ," Tuthill added, mentioning offenses under military law that deal with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.
"There is a period of due process afforded the accused and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.
When asked for an explanation for the delay, MEF officials directed Task & Purpose to contact 1st Marine Division officials, who did not respond before deadline.
The investigation of Zavala, completed on May 3 and released to Task & Purpose in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that he had allegedly acted inappropriately. The report also confirmed some details of his wife's account of alleged domestic violence that Task & Purpose first reported last month.
U.S. troops rejoice — the midnight curfew for service members in South Korea has been temporarily suspended, as command evaluates if you can be trusted to not act like wild animals in the streets of Pyeongtaek.