The Army has launched two investigations after a deadly truck accident killed nine soldiers and injured three others on Fort Hood, Texas.

Experts from the Army Combat Readiness Center are leading the first investigation. The team visited the accident site on Saturday, said Maj. John Miller, a spokesman for the 1st Cavalry Division.

The second investigation is an AR 15-6, or a commander’s fact-finding investigation, Miller said. The investigating officer appointed to conduct the 15-6 is in the "preliminary stages" of gathering information, he said.

As the investigations unfold, soldiers on Fort Hood will remember the fallen during a pair of memorial services.

Cadet Mitchell Alexander Winey, 21, will be remembered during a memorial service at 1 p.m. Thursday.


Cadet Mitchell Alexander Winey.
Photo Credit: Courtesy U.S. Military Academy
Winey was a member of the United States Military Academy Class of 2018, assigned to Company B, First Regiment. 

Thursday’s service is being organized primarily for the 120 cadets who are on Fort Hood for Cadet Troop Leader Training, Miller said. About 70 of those cadets were training with the 1st Cavalry Division.

Cadet Troop Leader Training gives aspiring officers the opportunity to train with an Army unit over a three- to four-week period, according to U.S. Army Cadet Command. During this training, cadets serve in lieutenant-level leadership positions in active-duty units and are assigned a unit mentor.

A memorial service for the other eight fallen soldiers is tentatively scheduled for next week; a date has not been confirmed. That service will be for the soldiers’ teammates in 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, which is part of 1st Cavalry Division’s 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team.

Both services will be closed to the public and the media, Miller said.

These services "are for the unit to start the grieving process," he said.

Maj. Gen. John Uberti, III Corps and Fort Hood deputy commander, center, Col. Todd Fox, left, and Fort Hood fire chief Coleman Smith, right, speak to the media during a news conference in Fort Hood, Texas, on Friday, June 3, 2016. Officials say Fort Hood commanders were in the process of closing roads on the sprawling Army post in Texas when a truck carrying 12 soldiers overturned in a fast-flowing flooded creek during a training exercise on Thursday.

Photo Credit: Rodolfo Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesman via AP

The deadly accident happened Thursday morning while the soldiers were conducting small-unit convoy operations training in a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle. The vehicle got stuck and overturned at the Owl Creek Tactical low-water crossing and East Range Road, according to information from Fort Hood.

There were 12 soldiers in the LMTV. Three were rescued by other soldiers who were in a vehicle following the LMTV, officials said. The bodies of three others were recovered from the water downstream from the vehicle.

The remaining six soldiers were recovered after a massive search that stretched into Friday.

All of the soldiers, with the exception of Winey, belonged to 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment.

They were:

• Staff Sgt. Miguel Angel Colonvazquez, 38, from Brooklyn, New York.

• Spc. Christine Faith Armstrong, 27, from Twentynine Palms, California.

• Spc. Yingming Sun, 25, of Monterey Park, California.

• Pfc. Brandon Austin Banner, 22, from Milton, Florida.

• Pfc. Zachery Nathaniel Fuller, 23, from Palmetto, Florida.

• Pvt. Isaac Lee Deleon, 19, of San Angelo, Texas.

• Pvt. Eddy Raelaurin Gates, 20, of Dunn, North Carolina.

• Pvt. Tysheena Lynette James, 21, of Jersey City, New Jersey.

The incident has led many on social media to call for commanders to be held accountable for allowing the training to go on in bad weather, while others have argued that the tragic incident is part of the inherent dangers of being in the military and training for war.

Severe storms have pummeled Texas in recent days, with widespread flooding reported across the state. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster across 31 counties, and heavy rain was falling in some places at a rate of up to 3 inches an hour, according to The Weather Channel.

Texas Game Wardens boat search Belton Lake, Friday, June 3, 2016, where Owl Creek feeds into it for four missing soldiers from Fort Hood. The soldiers were swept away in a low water crossing during training. In all, nine soldiers died and three were injured.

Photo Credit: Rodolfo Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesman via AP

The road the soldiers were traveling on isn’t marked as a low-water crossing, which means it typically isn’t prone to flooding, said Lt. Col. Sunset Belinsky, a spokeswoman for the 1st Cavalry Division.

"But because of the unusual amount of rain we’ve received, water did come across the road," she said.

A Fort Hood official speaking on background said that at the time of the incident all roads prone to flooding were already closed on post. Around the time the emergency call came in, officials from the Fort Hood Department of Emergency Services were advising leaders to shut down additional roads, the official told Army Times.

Fort Hood spokesman Chris Haug confirmed the account, saying that at the time of the incident, "water was rising quickly" and "we were in the process of closing the roads," Haug said.

Michelle Tan is the editor of Army Times and Air Force Times. She has covered the military for Military Times since 2005, and has embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Haiti, Gabon and the Horn of Africa.

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