National Guard Chief Offers Fort Hood Condolences
By Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
Special to American Forces Press Service
ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 6, 2009 Fort Hood, Texas, was uppermost in the minds of National Guard members today, especially with an Alabama citizen-soldier reportedly among the wounded after a deadly shooting rampage there.
Workers at the National Guard Bureau in Crystal City, Va., hold a moment of remembrance Nov. 6, 2009, for the victims of the previous day’s shooting at Fort Hood, Texas. National Guard Bureau photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
“The thoughts and prayers of the National Guard are with Fort Hood Soldiers, their families and the local community today,” Air Force Gen. Craig R. McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said in a tweet on Twitter.
The National Guard Bureau held a moment of remembrance at noon today. About 2,000 National Guard soldiers from six states are currently stationed at Fort Hood, Guard Bureau officials said. The Birmingham (Ala.) News reported that an Alabama Guard soldier is among the wounded, but Fort Hood officials could not confirm that information.
“Our hearts go out to everyone there at Fort Hood and to the families,” said Army Lt. Col. Cynthia Bachus, public affairs officer for the Alabama National Guard. “Our concerns are with them. Our sympathies are with them.” About 350 Alabama Guard members from the 135th Expeditionary Sustainment Command arrived at Fort Hood on Nov. 2 to prepare for a deployment to Afghanistan. “We are in constant contact with the chain of command to ensure that our soldiers’ well-being is taken care of,” Bachus said. “Any type of support that we can offer the families back here, we are offering them.”
Alabama residents rallied to support their mobilized troops, Bachus said. “We have a lot of good support,” she said. “The citizens of Alabama support the National Guard and all the military.”
Other states with Guard members at Fort Hood included Arizona, Michigan, Nebraska, New York and Texas. Numbers range from an individual augmentee from New York – a single soldier on his way to join another unit in theater – to hundreds of deploying soldiers from the Texas Army National Guard.
The Army Times reported a flood of support through social media as Thursday’s tragedy unfolded. McKinley expressed his condolences through Twitter, as did Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife, Deborah, among many other leaders, servicemembers and civilians. Mrs. Mullen said in her tweet that it was difficult for her to express how very sad she is at the “senseless” shooting and that she is praying for the victims, their families and their friends.
Some state National Guard officials used Twitter and Facebook to provide updates on the status of their soldiers and offer condolences.
“Two Oregon Natl Guardsmen at Ft Hood are safe,” OregonGuard said in a tweet. “Our prayers go out to all affected by this tragedy.”
(Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill serves at the National Guard Bureau.)