Fort Hood deploys its troops, despite losses
One month after the bloody rampage, Fort Hood deploys 40 to Afghanistan:
Press say the members of the US Fort Hood barracks are reservists who specialize in the counseling of troubled troops, similar to Major Nidal Hassan, who killed 14 people in a shooting spree there last month, motivated at least in part by Islamic ideology.
FORT HOOD, Texas — More than 40 Army reservists dedicated to counseling troubled soldiers in war zones deployed to Afghanistan on Friday, a month after a shooting spree at Fort Hood left nearly a fourth of their unit dead or seriously wounded.
The soldiers from the Wisconsin-based 467th Medical Detachment arrived at a Fort Hood chapel before dawn. Minutes later, led by a deploying soldier carrying the unit's flag, they boarded a bus to the airport. Fort Hood spokesman Mark Kalinoski confirmed that their plane took off for Afghanistan.
The members of the Army Reserve combat stress unit had arrived at the sprawling Texas post only a day before the Nov. 5 rampage. Yet the soldiers said they never wavered in their determination to serve.
They spent the last month training together, and several soldiers from across the country volunteered to fill the void left by the three soldiers killed and six others seriously wounded.
Department of Defense officials decided only recently that the unit would deploy as originally scheduled.
"I think they decided that same day (of the shooting) that they were more dedicated than ever in honor of the soldiers that we lost and have stood firm in that commitment," Maj. Laura Suttinger of Fort Atkinson, Wis., said late Thursday. "They were all very dedicated, caring soldiers and they will not be forgotten, and we're carrying on in their honor."
She and another leader in the unit declined to talk about Maj. Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist charged in the shooting spree. Hasan, who was supposed to deploy with the unit, remains in a San Antonio military hospital and is paralyzed from wounds he suffered in the rampage.
Army officials have not said whether Hasan knew anyone in the unit or if he was targeting them. The shootings occurred in a building full of several hundred soldiers.
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Omaha, Nebraska, United States