Five soldiers are dead, four are missing – that was the update at an 8 a.m. press conference at Fort Hood today.
Twelve soldiers in all were in a military vehicle at the Central Texas Army post – doing some routine training – when the truck overturned in a flooded creek.
Maj. Gen. John Uberti spoke in a parking lot Friday morning. He didn’t take any questions from reporters.
Uberti emphasized his condolences to the family and friends of the first cavalry who were lost or killed in the flooding. He did say that the three surviving soldiers were all in stable condition at the Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood. They may be released later today.
Uberti credited the soldiers’ survival to the quick rescue actions of other soldiers who were also training. They were in some sort of vehicle following the truck that overturned.
“Our priority has been, since the first report of this incident, and continues to be the search for our four missing teammates,” Uberti said. “While that remains our priority, Maj. Gen. Thompson, the commander of the 1st Cavalry Division, and Command Sgt. Maj. Jackson, the command sergeant major, and the entire leadership team is focused on making sure we’re providing the support and counseling for the family, friends and soldiers as we work through the notification and grieving process.”
Rescue workers are still searching for four missing soldiers. That search is reportedly continuing in the air and on the ground; dogs and swift-water vehicles are also helping to try to track down these missing soldiers.
Meanwhile, there are still a lot of questions about exactly what the weather and creek conditions were when the vehicle overturned.
Earlier reports from Fort Hood said flash flooding washed the truck from a low-water crossing in an area near Cold Springs and Owl Creek, but this morning officials told reporters the area was not a designated low-water crossing.
Friday morning there were reports that Fort Hood officials were in the process of trying to close roads around the post when this truck overturned, but the Standard has not gotten clarification as to if those closures would have affected the road this truck was on, or if these soldiers were involved in the road closure process.
What media has been told is that the soldiers were out there in the first place on a routine training mission, learning how to use a “light medium tactical vehicle.”
Spokesperson Chris Haug: “Soldiers were going out in this vehicle and were training on how to operate it. This was a small unit of 12 soldiers that were training on that vehicle.”
Gov. Greg Abbott offered his thoughts and prayers in a statement released Thursday night. “Texas stands ready to provide any assistance to Fort Hood as they deal with this tragedy,” Abbott said.
As of Friday morning’s press conference, there were no set plans for media updates, although we do anticipate Fort Hood will continue to release any new information about those four missing soldiers as it becomes available.
Fort Hood is not releasing the names of the soldiers who are confirmed dead – five people as of 8 a.m. this morning – until relatives can be notified.