Located just outside of Killen, Texas - about halfway between Austin and Waco - Fort Hood is the largest activity duty armored post in the United States. It is home to the 1st Cavalry Division and 4th Infantry Division. Population is 53,416 active duty military, 217,402 retirees, survivors and family members, and 14,558 civilians and contractors, according to the Army. The Killeen, Fort Hood and Temple metro area is home to about 300,000.
Fort Hood plays a major role in Army training and testing as well as developing new equipment and tactics. After 2001, terrorism became a major focus there as the base transitioned from being open to closed (although visitors are allowed to visit museums and other non-restricted parts of the base). Many Fort Hood units have been sent to Iraq and Afghanistan - the 4th Infantry Division was able to capture Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Fort Hood was named for Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood, who gained notoriety as the commander of Hood's Texas Brigade during the Civil War. The area was created during World War II as Camp Hood, when the Army needed a wide open space to test tank destroyers created to counter the German Blitzkrieg. During the Korean War, the camp became a permanent installation and was renamed Fort Hood. The most famous trainee to move through Fort Hood was Elvis Presley.
Previous gun violence in Killeen includes:
1991: On October 16, 1991, 35-year-old George Hennard drove a pickup truck into Luby's cafeteria in Killeen, Texas and fatally shot 23 people and wounded more than 20 before killing himself. It remained the deadliest shooting rampage in American history until the Virginia Tech Massacre.
2008: On Sept. 8, 2008 a lieutenant who had gone to ask about missing military equipment at a Killeen apartment near Fort Hood was killed by a soldier, who then committed suicide. Spc. Jody Michael Wirawan, 22, of Eagle River, Ala., who was slated to be discharged, fatally shot 1st Lt. Robert Bartlett Fletcher, 24, of Jensen Beach, Fla. Killeen police who arrived fired shots at Wirawan, but he turned the gun on himself.
July 20, 2009: Fort Hood officials have a soldier behind bars after another soldier was shot and killed at a party on the Central Texas Army post. 30-year-old Spc. Ryan Richard Schlack of Oshkosh, Wis., died at a Fort Hood hospital July 18. The Killeen Daily Herald reported he was hit by a bullet another soldier fired into a crowd on the lawn. A Fort Hood soldier, Spc. Armano Baca was charged with the murder.
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