A soldier dressed as a suicide bomber attempted to access a U.S. Army base on Saturday in an apparent Halloween stunt, the service said.
The incident at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, triggered a response from first responders and bomb technicians, resulted in a temporary closure of a security checkpoint and drew admonitions from base officials, according to a post on the base's official Facebook page.
"Last evening a Soldier attempted to gain access to Fort Bragg through one of our access control points," states the post, which has since been taken down. "The Soldier was dressed as a suicide bomber with simulated explosive vest. The incident resulted in an emergency response, EOD clearing the entire scene and an extended closure of a gate. Although the incident remains under investigation, initial reports indicate it was a Halloween costume."
The base's garrison commander, Col. Brett Funck, "wants the community to have a safe and fun Halloween; however costumes of this sort are not allowed on Fort Bragg. All costumes should be appropriate in dress and tasteful," it states.
The installation's senior commander, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, "further directs that Soldiers not wear costumes of this sort off post and strongly encourages Soldiers, DA Civilians, and Family members to follow the same guidance to prevent similar issues within our neighboring communities," it states.
The soldier in question wasn't identified and it wasn't immediately clear whether he or she would be charged with a crime. Attempts to reach a spokesperson at the base on Sunday weren't successful.
A follow-up post to the Facebook page explains the earlier message was removed due to profanity in the comments section.
"Unfortunately, we had to remove the entire post because comments on it were either profane, sophomoric, or did not treat the subject seriously," it states. "Please take note that this is a family-friendly website meant to inform and keep our families safe, many of whom have directly felt the effects of real - not costumed - suicide bombers."
Readers also commented in response to that post.
"How could anyone treat this as a joke?" one commenter identified as Hannah O'Donoghue Julian wrote. "Sure, the guy who did it was an idiot but I hope no one actually found it funny."
--Brendan McGarry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.