Fort Hood soldier drowns; 4th from base dead in months

Texas

FILE – In this April 2, 2014, file photo, members of the media wait outside of the Bernie Beck Gate, an entrance to the Fort Hood military base in Fort Hood, Texas. (AP Photo/Tamir Kalifa, File)

BELTON, Texas (KETK/AP) – Fort Hood has suffered its fourth death in the past several months from the base after a drowning on Sunday.

U.S. Army officials said that 24-year-old Spc. Francisco Gilberto Hernandezvargas died after he went underwater while being pulled on an inner tube on Stillhouse Hollow lake.

The Bell county Sheriff’s Office is investigating the drowning. Hernandezvargas was positively identified late Tuesday afternoon.

Hernandezvargas is from New York and entered the Army back in May 2017, according to an AP report. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division since December 2017.

He has been based in Korea and Romania along with Fort Hood.

Despite the four deaths in a relatively short amount of time, there is not evidence that any of the deaths are related.

On June 21, skeletal remains were found in a field off-base that were identified as 24-year-old Gregory Morales. Foul play is suspected in his death.

Less than two weeks later, Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, 20, was found bludgeoned to death. Investigators believe that it was committed by another soldier, who later killed himself. Another woman is currently facing charges for her role in Guillen’s death.

Her family has said that Guillen was sexually harassed by her alleged killer, but the Army has said that there is no evidence to support the claim. There is currently a review of the command climate at Fort Hood.

The third body was Pvt. Mejor Morta, a 26-year-old who drowned at the same lake as Hernandezvargas.

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