Fort Hood Focuses on Road Ahead after bin Laden Death
Specialist Ethan Ford awoke Monday and had not heard the news.
“Oh, I got like 300 calls this morning from all my battle buddies,” Ford said. “They got him! They got him!’ ‘They got who?’ Because I was still asleep.”
So he turned on his TV.
“Oh. They got him,” Ford said with a mixed reaction. “I was happy, but we’re still going to be here.”
News of the death of Osama bin Laden brought reaction from across the world and tighter security on bases across the state Monday. Fort Hood played a major role in the wars that followed the Sept.11 terrorist attacks and news of bin Laden’s death was welcome at the nation’s largest Army base.
Most of the soldiers at the base were happy but didn’t think bin Laden’s death would change much for them. Specialist Michelle Landham has been in the Army for three years, and she doesn’t see anything different on the horizon.
“Everyone knows that there are still going to be terrorists regardless, but it’s definitely like the President said — ‘justice,’” Landham said. “We finally got it. We got it back.”
Private Darren Colby from Arlington, Texas also agrees that Sunday’s events will not likely bring change in strategy for US forces.
“I think we’re still going to be over there,” Colby said. “I honestly don’t think we’re going to get pulled out of anywhere. If we do, it’ll be for a week and they’ll say, ‘alright, did you like your break?’ I don’t think it really is going to change much.”
Of course, Fort Hood has paid a high price in the fight against Osama bin Laden. Hundreds of soldiers based here have lost their lives in the wars that followed Sept. 11. Major Nidal Hasan shot and killed 13 people and wounded dozens here in 2009, an attack many believe was motivated by those wars.
While it won’t heal those wounds, Master Sergeant Robert Woods said the death of the man seen as the face of America’s enemies is a welcome victory for the men and women of Fort Hood.
“It takes a lot of pressure off us as soldiers,” Woods said. “A lot of people don’t understand the sacrifices we make, but we make a lot of sacrifices, and it’s just like a burden off our shoulders.”
In a grim reminder of that burden, Fort Hood announced this morning the death another one of its soldiers. Private First Class Robert Michael Friese was killed in combat Friday in Iraq.