FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FORT HOOD, Texas — After extensive search, rescue and recovery efforts by Fort Hood Fire and Rescue teams were unsuccessful in locating a Soldier who was swept into flooding waters in Clear Creek near Turkey Run Road just before 6 a.m. April 11, the Army appointed a board of inquiry to conduct a status determination to determine the Soldier’s personnel status.
Per Army Regulation 638-8, Army Casualty Program, and Department of Defense Instruction 2310.05, Accounting for Missing Persons, the board concluded and recommended to the Army Adjutant General, Brig. Gen. James T. Iacocca, and Iacocca agreed that Spc. Darius Cooper is deceased. The official date of his death is determined to be April 11.
Cooper, 40, whose home of record is listed as San Antonio, entered active-duty service in June 2008 as a culinary specialist. He was assigned to 2nd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas, since June 2016.
Cooper deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2009 to July 2010 and in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from March 2013 to November 2013.
Cooper’s awards and decorations include two Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, two Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Iraq Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal and Combat Action Badge.
“Despite the diligent effort to find Specialist Cooper, it is heartbreaking for our Soldiers and the Fort Hood Family that we were not able to locate him,” said Maj. Gen. John Uberti, III Corps and Fort Hood deputy commanding general. “Our thoughts, prayers and sincere condolences go to the Cooper Family, loved ones, and fellow Soldiers impacted by this tragedy.
“I’d also like to thank the many emergency responders, not only Fort Hood’s, but the state and local community agencies who came forward and tirelessly and professionally searched for Specialist Cooper.
“Our thoughts, prayers and condolences also go to the Family, loved ones, and friends of Morgan’s Point Resort Police Department Dive Team member Lori Pohanka-Kalama who lost her life during the search.”
More than 800 individuals were involved in the search, including emergency responders from Texas Task Force One boat and dog teams, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, Texas Game Warden’s lake search teams, Morgan’s Point Resort Police Department dive and sonar search teams, Fort Hood’s Crisis Response Battalion ground search teams, and 1st Air Cavalry Brigade helicopter assets who aided in the search.
UPDATE 8: Deliberate search continues for missing Soldier
FORT HOOD, Texas — Fort Hood officials continue to be engaged in search efforts for an individual in a vehicle that was swept into Clear Creek near Turkey Run Road on April 11. Fort Hood officials are reasonably certain that the missing individual is a Fort Hood Soldier.
“First and foremost, our primary responsibility is locating the Soldier and protecting the privacy of his family,” said Tom Rheinlander, Fort Hood Director of Public Affairs.
The searchers know the identity of the Soldier they are looking for and Fort Hood officials are keeping the family informed of the search efforts.
In keeping with standard Army policy, because the Soldier is still missing, Fort Hood officials will not release the name.
Several media outlets have queried Fort Hood officials asking them to disclose the name of the missing Soldier. Fort Hood officials will not do so because there are ongoing search operations and an investigation.
Fort Hood officials are respecting the family’s privacy and will not provide any additional information until the appropriate time.
DATE: April 19, 2017 4:51:00 PM CDT
UPDATE 7: Deliberate search continues for missing individual
FORT HOOD, Texas — Fort Hood emergency responders have continued their search efforts over the past nine days in cooperation with many community and state agencies. Involved agencies volunteered their specific expertise in support of search operations. The search continues to follow a deliberate process according to Fort Hood’s emergency search parameters.
Agencies who have assisted Fort Hood emergency responders include Texas Task Force One boat and dog teams, U.S Army Corps of Engineers and Texas Game Warden’s lake search teams, Morgan’s Point Resort Fire Department dive and sonar search teams, Soldiers as part of Fort Hood’s Crisis Response Battalion ground search teams, and 1st Air Cavalry Brigade helicopter assets.
More than 800 individuals have been involved in the search so far. The search is now focused on areas where it is most likely an individual would be found thus far into the search including debris piles and key areas such as dams. Waterways included in the search include Clear Creek, Cow House Creek, House Creek and Belton Lake along with their surrounding terrain.
Fort Hood officials will continue their search until the missing individual who was swept into flooding waters in Clear Creek on April 11 is found or it is determined otherwise by the experts involved in the search.
DATE: April 13, 2017 4:40:00 PM CDT
UPDATE 6: Search team officials conduct media engagement
FORT HOOD, Texas — The Directorate of Emergency Services deputy director, Chris Zimmer, alongside Texas Task Force One deputy of operations, Jim Yeager provided additional information about ongoing rescue operations during a media engagement at 1 p.m. April 13 at the search effort command post location.
Zimmer stated, search teams using a deliberate search pattern which is adjusted periodically based on collective expertise, continued to search land and water areas downstream from the incident site to include connecting waterways which eventually empty into Belton Lake.
Yeager added, more ground and dog search teams from TTF1 were added along with boats equipped with sonar assets operated by Texas State Game Wardens and a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Ranger to search outflow areas of these waterways into Belton Lake.
Additionally, media who were present, interviewed Sgt. Gregory Holmes, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade.
Holmes, who is one of the Soldiers participating in the search, described the difficulty of the terrain and vegetation that encompasses the search area.
When asked what motivated him to be part of the search, he stated this is the right thing to do to search for a member of the Fort Hood family.
Holmes further stated that if it was him, he knew the Fort Hood community would do the same to help bring closure to his family.
DATE: April 13, 2017 1:40:00 PM CDT
UPDATE 5: Search and rescue teams increased their effort to find the missing individual April 13, as water levels reduced allowing teams access to more locations.
Teams continue to search land and water areas downstream from the incident site for several miles. Today more ground and dog search teams were added along with additional boat teams launched from the staging areas on West Range Road and Turkey Run Road.
There will be a media availability at noon April 13 at the incident site. The Directorate of Emergency Services deputy director will provide an update on the search progress. Media crews will be able to film the search teams launching for their afternoon search.
Media who wish to cover this event should register here. Media covering the event should meet public affairs representatives at the Fort Hood visitors’ center at 11:30 a.m. The incident site is in a remote area; media should wear appropriate footwear for rough terrain.
DATE: April 12, 2017 3:40:00 PM CDT
UPDATE 4: Updated photos and Broll of the April 12 ongoing search efforts
Broll of the emergency efforts are at the following link, click here. Users must register with DVIDS to get the high resolution broadcast quality link.
DATE: April 12, 2017 12:21:00 PM CDT
UPDATE 3: Texas’ Task Force One joins the search for missing person in Clear Creek
FORT HOOD, Texas — Fort Hood emergency services officials deployed 89th Military Police Brigade Soldiers and Texas’ Task Force One search and rescue teams, with their search dogs at first light Wednesday. The groups are searching from Turkey Run Road where Clear Creek crosses the road and from House Creek Bridge on West Range Road. Two AH-64 Apache Helicopters are also searching from the air. Emergency crews have prepositioned a medical evacuation helicopter at the staging area ready to respond if the individual is located.
“I want to personally thank the more than 80 emergency responders, including Task Force One search and rescue teams, who have worked tirelessly to support this critical, ongoing effort,” said Col. Todd Fox, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hood commander. “We’re doing everything we can to locate the driver and we are very appreciative of the assistance offered and rendered by our Central Texas neighbors.”
All low-water crossing remain closed. Old Georgetown Road remains closed at Henson Creek.
DATE: April 11, 2017 9:00:00 PM CDT
UPDATE 2: Driver’s vehicle recovered without driver inside
Fort Hood, Texas — Fort Hood officials have confirmed the vehicle being searched for has been found, but not the individual. Search and rescue efforts will continue throughout the evening.
DATE: April 11, 2017 4:07:19 PM CDT
UPDATE 1: All Fort Hood low-water crossings, Old Georgetown Road remain closed
FORT HOOD, Texas – More than 70 emergency personnel including swift-water rescue teams and air assets including two AH-64 Apache Helicopters from the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, continue search efforts at Clear Creek near Turkey Run Road.
Fort Hood emergency services responded to a report that one individual in a vehicle was swept into Clear Creek near Turkey Run Road just before 6 a.m. April 11.
Fort Hood Directorate of Emergency personnel have reopened all roads except Old Georgetown Road until further notice. All low-water crossings remain closed until further notice.
Earlier it was reported that one of the occupants was taken to Coryell Memorial Hospital, Gatesville, Texas, by ambulance for treatment. This was later determined to be unfounded.
Broll of the emergency efforts are available at the following link. To download the broadcast quality video, click here. Users must register with DVIDS to get the high resolution broadcast quality link.
DATE: April 11, 2017 9:52:02 AM CDT
All Fort Hood low water crossings, some roads closed
Emergency crews respond to vehicles caught in high water
FORT HOOD, Texas – Beginning at 10:30 p.m. April 10, Fort Hood began to close low-water crossings across the installation due to heavy rainfall and deteriorating weather conditions. Currently, all low-water crossings are closed to any traffic until further notice.
Fort Hood emergency services have responded to a report that one individual in a vehicle was swept into Clear Creek near Turkey Run Road here.
There are organized search teams with safety gear searching the water’s edge. High water and more forecasted rain are hampering efforts to locate the individual and vehicle.
Emergency crews also responded to reports of three other individuals in vehicles caught in high water over night. All vehicles had single occupants and all three individuals were able get to safety.
The following Fort Hood roads and access control point are closed until further notice: East Range Road, West Range Road, Access Control Point 5 (East Range Road) inbound and outbound, Access Control Point 4 (Warrior Way) inbound, Murphy Road, Turkey Run Road (Between Clear Creek Road and West Range Road), intersection of Tank Destroyer Blvd. and Muskogee Street, and intersection of Tank Destroyer Blvd. and Clark Road.
Everyone should monitor weather news and take precautions. If you approach an area with water covering the roadway, TURN AROUND DON’T DROWN.
More information will be released as it becomes available here on the Fort Hood Press Center. There is currently no safe access to the site of the incident. Emergency crews have cordoned off the area for the safety of the crews and to prevent any further incidents.
For more information contact:
Fort Hood Public Affairs Office
1001 761st Tank Battalion Ave
Fort Hood, TX 76544