Fort Hood: Tragedy Not the First for Largest U.S.Facility

The fort has lost more troops in Iraq than any other military installation.

ByABC News
November 5, 2009, 5:21 PM

Nov. 5, 2009— -- Located in Killeen, Texas, Fort Hood is the largest U.S. military facility in the world and the site of the largest armored training centers.

Spanning 340 square miles, Fort Hood is located roughly 60 miles north of the Texas capitol of Austin and 50 miles south of Waco and is home to more than 5,000 military families.

It is also home to the 1st Cavalry Division, where some of the first groups of soldiers deployed to Iraq came from.

Fort Hood has lost more troops in the war in Iraq than any other U.S. based military facitlity, and troops have seen some of the fiercest fighting there. Since the war's inception, 483 Fort Hood soldiers have died there. Currently, about 15,000 troops from the fort are deployed in Iraq and the 1st Cavalry Division is in its third deployment. More than 20 Fort Hood soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001.

Army Spc. Jonathan Pacheco told that almost everyone at Fort Hood is acutely aware that they had taken a larger hit in terms of overseas casualties than any other base in the United States, but that the mood had been relaxed recently since the conflict in Iraq seemed to be "stepping down."

In an interview with ABC News in April 2006, Sgt. Todd Singleton said of the experience, "There's no way to forget it. You see things you should never see in life."

It was the 4th Infantry Division from Fort Hood that captured ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Today's shooting is also not the first such incident for this city. In September 2008, 22-year-old Spc. Jody Michael Wirawan shot and killed another officer. When police arrived at the scene, Wirawan shot and killed himself.

Killeen was also home to the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history until the Virginia Tech massacre. On Oct. 16, 1991, 35-year-old George Jo Hennard drove his pickup truck through the window of a Luby's Cafeteria and fatally shot 23 people and injured 20 more before turning the gun on himself.

"These are people who are already under pressure. Fort Hood...has really borne the brunt of the war on terror," Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison told ABC News today. "They have families who have stood beside them as they are fighting for America, and to be shot down in cold blood like this is something you never think will happen in America."