Updated at 2:41 p.m. EST
Amid the chaos and bloodshed of Thursday's, unarmed soldiers under fire, some of them wounded, reacted just as they might have in a combat zone in Iraq or Afghanistan - they helped their fallen comrades to safety.
In an interview with CBS' "The Early Show", Lt. Gen. Robert Cone said soldiers caught in the hail of bullets at an on-base medical facility were "really remarkable in terms of their reaction."
Witnesses told Cone that the suspected gunman, military psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, walked into the Soldier Readiness Center and opened fire in a "very calm, measured approach." Thirteen people - 12 of them military personnel - were killed and at least 30 were injured.
One soldier, who was wounded four times, told Cone that when he was on the ground, he "made the mistake of moving," and was shot again.
But the carnage could have been worse if not for soldiers' reactions.
"As the shooter would change directions, the soldiers would scramble on the ground and try to help each other to carry each other outside the building," Cone told "Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith.
Cone also relayed the story of female soldier who used her blouse as a tourniquet for a fellow GI, carried him to safety and then realized that she herself had also been shot.
"We put a great investment in soldiers' first aid and taking care of each other. I'm sure this could have been much worse," Cone said.
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Tragedy at Fort Hood
After realizing some of the soldiers were escaping, Cone said the gunman followed them outside where he continued to fire at them. He was eventually brought down by civilian police officer Kimberly Munley, who was the. She shot the suspect four times while sustaining a gunshot wound herself, though she was in stable condition.
Meanwhile, the wounded were dispersed among several central Texas hospitals as distraught relatives tried to find out exactly what happened, reports CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella.
"It's just a really scary deal, nerves on end," Steve Bono, who's daughter Keara was shot in the shoulder while talking on the phone to her fiancé, told CBS News. "He could hear shots, he could hear her screaming, and then the phone went dead."
Lisa Pfund said she never imagined her daughter, Amber Bahr, who was shot in the stomach, could be wounded while on a military base in American.
"She says she did what a soldier is supposed to do and helped the other people," Pfund said after talking to her daughter.
However, Cobiella reports there are some relatives of victims who have complained that they haven't been getting as much information as to how their loved ones are doing as they would like.