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

This Nov. 5, 2009 file photo shows the entrance to Fort Hood Army Base in Fort Hood, Texas, near Killeen, Texas. As much as President Donald Trump enjoys talking about winning and winners, the Confederate generals he vows will not have their names removed from U.S. military bases were not only on the losing side of rebellion against the United States, some weren't even considered good generals. Or even good men. The 10 generals include some who made costly battlefield blunders; others mistreated captured Union soldiers, some were slaveholders, and one was linked to the Ku Klux Klan after the war. (AP Photo/Jack Plunkett, File)

By ACACIA CORONADO Report for America/ Associated Press

BELTON, Texas (AP) — U.S. Army officials said Tuesday that a Fort Hood soldier drowned at the same lake near the Texas base where another soldier’s body was found last month.

The body of Spc. Francisco Gilberto Hernandezvargas, 24, was recovered Sunday after he went underwater while being pulled on an inner tube behind a motorboat on Stillhouse Hollow Lake, according to Fort Hood officials. Base officials confirmed Hernandezvargas’ identity Tuesday.

Bell County sheriff’s deputies are investigating the drowning.

Fort Hood officials say they are cooperating with local authorities. Officials have not said whether they suspect foul play.

Hernandezvargas, of New York, entered the army in May 2017 as an automatic rifleman, according to the Army. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division since December 2017. Besides Fort Hood, he served in Korea and Romania.

Hernandezvargas is at least the fourth Fort Hood soldier whose body has been found in recent months. There is no indication that any of the deaths are related.

On June 21, officials authorities discovered skeletal remains in a field in Killeen, near Fort Hood, which were subsequently identified as 24-year-old missing soldier Gregory Morales. U.S. Army officials suspect foul play in his death.

The body of Pvt. Mejhor Morta, 26, who officials said drowned, was found July 17 at Stillhouse Hollow Lake .

Human remains found July 1 near the Leon River in Bell County, about 20 miles east of Fort Hood, were later identified as missing soldier Pfc. Vanessa Guillen. According to a federal complaint, the 20-year-old was bludgeoned to death at the base by a fellow Fort Hood soldier who later killed himself.

Guillen’s family has said she was sexually harassed by the soldier suspected of killing her, but the Army has said there is no evidence supporting the claim. Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy on July 10 ordered a review of the command climate at Fort Hood.

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