Ft. Hood, Texas, was my first "permanent" duty assignment when I was in the Army. It took me 18 months to get there. Along the way I had been at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO., (loads of fun - basic training in Missouri in the middle of summer), advanced training at The Presidio of Monterey, California (beautiful place), more training at Goodfellow AFB, Texas (the only time I was ever stationed at an Air Force Base), still more training at Ft. Devens, Mass. (I detested the post & the environment, but the training I received there was quite interesting), then finally, Ft. Hood.
I started my duty at Ft Hood on a January day that had to be the coldest in recent memory. Actually, I was a day late reporting - I ran into snow and ice on my way, and finally had to give up any hope of getting there when I was supposed to. So I, a lowly SP4, had to make that dreaded call to the First Sgt. of the unit I was headed to, an exalted SGM, and explain my predicament. He was remarkably human about it and even explained to me that even tho I had direct orders to their unit, I had to report the reception area on the Main Post first. He even gave me directions from the main gate. He seemed ok, but now I realized that I was now on his radar. My first attempted at going about my job unnoticed had failed miserably.
My unit was actually on West Fort Hood, just a few miles from the main post, close to an air field, where huge military planes regularly took off and landed. I was assigned a job within the platoon which was directly related to part of the training I had received at Ft. Devens. We were a corp asset (III Corp, specifically), which I guess meant that we were used wherever III Corp said we were needed. In large scale field exercises we were attached to 2nd Armor units, which I think gave a good indication of my fate should an actual combat scenario arise. For me, it never did.
I was at Ft. Hood for 15 months, then received orders to Augsburg, Germany. It was not part of a unit deployment, just individual orders. I remember going over to the Main Post and taking part in some processing - that was probably the building where the recent shooting took place, but I'm not sure. I can't even picture it in my mind.
Anyway, I remember lots of things and lots people at Ft. Hood, and this terrible event brought it all back to me. I wonder if any of them remember me.