Soldiers barred from Lake of the Ozarks party spot

Friday, August 17, 2007 | 1:14 p.m. CDT; updated 7:10 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

FORT LEONARD WOOD — Soldiers at Fort Leonard Wood are being told to keep away from a notorious party spot at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Maj. Gen. Bill McCoy has declared Party Cove off-limits to all military personnel. It’s the second time this year — and since his taking over as commanding general in 2006 — that McCoy has issued an off-limits order.

Earlier this year, McCoy barred soldiers from a Knight’s Inn in St. Robert that didn’t pass state inspections.

Party Cove — more officially known as Anderson Hollow Cove — also has been the scene of drowning deaths. Fort Leonard Wood spokesman Mike Alley said concerns about soldiers’ safety, rather than the cove’s reputation as a haven for debauchery, led to the new off-limits order.

On June 16, a drowning at Party Cove claimed the life of 2nd Lt. Jonathan Snyder of the 554th Engineer Battalion.

Juan Howell, a civilian employee at Fort Leonard Wood, drowned the same day after falling from a dock at a restaurant near Party Cove.

And on Aug. 4, a soldier from the post broke his neck while swimming at Party Cove, Alley said.

“When a soldier drowns and another soldier breaks his neck, nobody has to tell you that as the safety officer, you identify a safety hazard,” Alley said.

McCoy announced his off-limits order Thursday in Fort Leonard Wood’s official newspaper, the Guidon. He cited the past incidents and said he is concerned about the safety and health of service members and their families.

Alley said soldiers aren’t allowed at any Party Cove function. And if Party Cove relocates to a different part of the lake, he said, that area will become off-limits.

McCoy didn’t wait for a recommendation from the post’s Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board to make his decision.

“This was made through a general directive,” Alley said, adding that the Missouri Water Patrol and Camden County Sheriff’s Office have been notified.

Military personnel found at Party Cove will be subject to action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Anyone injured while in the off-limits area may be determined to be “not in the line of duty” and could lose benefits.

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