Shen grad witness to Fort Hood aftermath

Posted at: 04/03/2014 12:06 AM
Updated at: 04/03/2014 12:20 AM
By: Dan Levy

FORT HOOD, Texas - When shots rang out late Wednesday afternoon on the military base at Fort Hood, Texas, 28-year-old Army Spc. Dustin Ross, a 2003 Shenendehowa graduate, was right in the thick of things.

When the emergency sirens went off sometime after 16:00 hours, Ross figured they were testing the warning system.

After the short drive home, Ross' sergeant called to tell him about the shooting and to make sure Ross was safe.

"Stuff like this happens and it makes you think, why does this have to happen?" Ross asked rhetorically.

After changing out of his Army combat uniform into civilian clothes, Ross told his wife he just had to go back to the post.

"You don't take second chances when it comes to your battle buddies," Ross asserted. "That's what they teach you all through basic training, they teach you to never ever leave your battle buddies in a danger zone."

With helicopters hovering overhead and military security tightened on the perimeter of the base, Ross made it back to Fort Hood. That's when he was able to find out for sure that he didn't know any of the casualties.

What he did know, however, was that what happened on Wednesday, was eerily similar to what happened at Fort Hood in November 2009.

"You're not going to come across too many people who do not know what happened here in Fort Hood with Major Hasan," Ross said. "With Major Hasan, we thought it was a one-time thing and it can't happen again. As today shows you, it can happen."

Ever since 13 people were murdered in 2009, only military police are allowed to carry firearms on base. That's why Ross knows there are plenty of unanswered questions.

"I don't know where the weapon came from," he said. "That's something that's going to be discussed in the coming days, weeks, and months."

Ross also says he hopes base officials will be able to figure out what happened so that even more security improvements can be made.

"Soldiers deploy and they come back and we expect them to be safe on the installation," he said. "We never expect stuff like this to happen and it shouldn't happen. Soldiers deal with enough down range that they don't have to come home and have a war zone in their own backyard."