Sunday, November 8, 2009

Every Day Heroes

In the line of fire: Fort Hood first responders heroically save lives

Nov 7, 2009

By Staff Sgt. Joy Pariante, Special Troops Battalion, III Corps

A first responder to a lone gunman's attack at Fort Hood, Texas, Nov. 5, 2009, renders honors at retreat
after aiding his fellow Soldiers.
Photo Credit: Sgt. Jason R. Krawczyk.

FORT HOOD, Texas -- "Pop, pop, pop." Those were the sounds Fort Hood's first responders heard when they arrived at the Soldier Readiness Processing Center here, Thursday.

Inside the center, excitement and anxiety about an upcoming deployment were tossed aside and replaced with broken glass, blood and bullets when Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a psychiatrist at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, allegedly shot and killed 13 Soldiers and wounded 43 others at the post deployment readiness center.

While news reports are constantly running updates on the incident, there are a group of Soldiers, first responders and civilians who lived the live feed.

Secretary of the Army, Hon. John McHugh said it was the heroic actions of those Fort Hood's first responders who prevented a bad situation from getting worse.

"Their actions saved lives," he said during a press conference here Friday.

Inside the deployment processing center, amongst blood draw stations and rows of waiting chairs, innocent people were dying. The gunman was shooting into the crowded screening area. Panicked Soldiers, desperate to survive, were breaking out windows and trying their hardest to find a way to safety.

Hoping to bring an end to the chaos, Sgt. Kimberly Munley, an officer with Fort Hood's Department of Emergency Services, and Senior Sgt. Mark Todd, K-9 Division, DES, moved in to the fight. According to Todd, as soon as officers pulled up to the scene, people were pointing them in the direction of the shooter. Hasan reportedly started firing on Todd and Munley, who took cover behind a vehicle. Munley left her cover to pursue the shooter and Todd followed around the other side of the building, where the major was hiding....

And this must read column ends with this:

"We take care of our own. We will grieve as a family," said Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. during a press conference on Sadowski Field.. "We will stay focused on our missions around the world."

Read the rest here.

Soldiers, Families Gather for Twilight Vigil

American Forces Press Service

FORT HOOD, Texas, Nov. 7, 2009 – Grieving soldiers and family members gathered for a twilight vigil last night in remembrance of comrades and loved ones who were killed or wounded in the Nov. 5 shooting attack here.

Substituting chemical lights for candles, the soldiers paid tribute to their fallen comrades and to those who remain hospitalized.

Army Maj. Gen. Charles A. Anderson, commander of First Army Division West, expressed his condolences at the solemn event at the North Fort Hood training complex. With anecdotal stories of past tragedies and the heroism and perseverance of the American soldier, Anderson drew parallels between the “Greatest Generation” and the service men and women of today.

Anderson highlighted acts of heroism that emerged from the violence, and commended the acts of Milledgeville, Ga., native Army Pfc. James Armstrong, who helped get people out of harm's way despite having been shot twice.

Armstrong, a mental health specialist with the 1908th Medical Detachment, Combat Stress Control, was training and processing here for deployment with his unit.

On crutches and in bandages, Armstrong and his wife, Roxanne, were in attendance for the vigil.

(Defenselink here)


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