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Former Fort Hood Officer Reflects On Training Tragedy

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FORT HOOD (CBS11) - As an Army Officer at Fort Hood in the 1970's, 1980's and some of the 1990's, Steve Spainhouer says he conducted training exercises at Owl Creek, site of Thursday's tragedy.

"It's an unfortunate circumstance," said Spainhouer.

Army teams and emergency crews continue their search for four missing soldiers in Owl Creek.

Five were killed Thursday after their two and a half ton truck overturned.  The bodies of four others were found Friday afternoon.

Three people rescued remain in the hospital.

"Our priority has been since the first report of this incident and continues to be the search for our four missing teammates," said Major General John Uberti.

Spainhouer, who now lives in McKinney, remembers the potential dangers at the creek. "We always tell our troops pay attention to the signs."

He says those signs along the 20 mile creek in a heavily wooded area warned of the potential dangers at the low water crossings -- especially during flash floods. "I have crossed Owl Creek, it's a low water crossing, when there was water over the road, but it was an insignificant amount of water, but if there's ever a threat of a flash flood, and I know there was such, then I would not have crossed it, and I would not have encouraged my troops to cross it."

As a result of what happened,  Spainhouer said the Army may now review training methods.

But he said these kinds of exercises are crucial.

"We can't stop training just because the weather turns bad or there's a potential for flash flooding," said Spainhouer.  "That's just part of the training program itself is being prepared for those type of situations."

An Army spokesman says the last time there was a deadly low-water crossing at Fort Hood was nearly 16 years ago.

One soldier died when a Bradlee fighting vehicle got swept by the water.

As of Friday evening, the Army hasn't released the soldiers' names in this latest tragedy.

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