Fort Hood: Anniversary of deaths of 9 soldiers passes quietly

A helicopter in the air over the search area Friday. (Photo by Sam DeLeon)
A helicopter in the air over the search area Friday. (Photo by Sam DeLeon)(KWTX)
Published: Jun. 2, 2017 at 7:54 PM CDT
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The first anniversary of the deaths of nine Fort Hood soldiers who were riding in a military vehicle that overturned at a flooded low water crossing on post passed quietly Friday.

On June 2, 2016, the Light Medium Tactical Vehicle in which they and three other soldiers were riding overturned at a low water crossing on East Range Road at Fort Hood.

Other troops rescued the three survivors, but the other nine soldiers died including a West Point cadet who was accompanying soldiers on the mission.

An Army investigation released last month showed the staff sergeant who was in charge of the convoy was at fault.

Investigators, according to the Department of Defense report, determined the accident resulted from three concentric decisions made by Staff Sgt. Miguel Angel Colonvazquez, who was among those who died when the truck overturned into Owl Creek during a flash flood.

The accident report said Colonvazquez, 38, was a combat veteran who was well experienced in the operation of several types of Army vehicles.

The first of three key decisions Colonvazquez made was to take the convoy off the paved road and onto a caliche tank trail.

Then, even after having to cross two large puddles, the commander chose to stay on the trails instead of returning to the paved surface, the report says.

And third, Colonvazquez decided to try to cross Owl Creek, which was swollen to capacity because of the heavy rains, instead of using a nearby bridge that spanned the creek, the report says.

“The use of the bridge would have prevented the accident,” the report said.

The report squarely placed most of the blame on Colonvasquez, but then went on to say that three leaders associated with the unit receive General Office Memorandum of Reprimand for negligence of duties.

Those leaders were redacted from the report.