Fort Hood Tricare

The Fort Hood Tricare Service Center is seen Tuesday. The center will close April 1.

Defense Department IDs Fort Hood soldier who died in Afghanistan

A Fort Hood soldier died in Afghanistan on Friday, the Defense Department announced Saturday.

Spc. Andrew H. Sipple, 22, of Cary, N.C., died in Kandahar City, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, from a noncombat related incident. His death is currently under investigation.

He entered active-duty service in April 2010 and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. He deployed with the unit in July. He also deployed to Iraq from September 2010 to August 2011.

Sipple’s awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal with campaign star, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon and NATO Medal.

Rose L. Thayer

Fort Hood Tricare center to close

Tricare users will no longer be able to discuss their insurance coverage in person beginning April 1.

The 189 U.S.-based Tricare Service Centers will end administrative walk-in services on that date, Pentagon officials said Jan. 14. This includes the Fort Hood center, 36029 Santa Fe Ave., just outside the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center.

Overseas service centers are not affected.

Fort Hood’s office averages about 3,000 visitors each month, mostly driven by in and out processing and enrollments, said Austin Comacho, Tricare spokesman. Come April 1,

Tricare will make enrollment available by phone for all beneficiaries, and is working with the services to eliminate in/out processing.

The Defense Department spends about $50 million a year on these services, according to the news release.

Tricare gets about 38,000 hits per day on its website. Officials ran tests to ensure the website and call center can handle the expected increase in volume.

Rose L. Thayer

Odierno hosts reception

The Army is looking to strengthen bonds with its international partners, and jointly tackle issues to seek peace and stability around the world, said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Thursday.

He hosted the reception for 100 foreign military attachés from more than 70 countries.

“In my nearly 38 years of service, I would say that today is probably the most uncertain I have ever known it around the world,” Odierno said.

Cooperation is critical in solving global problems, bringing about a better life for all citizens, and addressing difficult issues that nations face, he said.

While the U.S. military strategy is a re-balance to the Asia-Pacific region, the Army will still have “significant operations” with NATO partners and other allies in Europe, and will continue to have a presence in all regions of the world, he said.

Army News Service

Ex-post commander Cone to retire

A former III Corps and Fort Hood commander is expected to retire this spring, according to a report in the Army Times.

Gen. Robert Cone, who is currently the commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, will retire this spring, leaving the command to Lt. Gen. David Perkins.

He is the commander of the Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Cone took command of TRADOC after leaving Fort Hood in April 2011. In the past nine months, he has spoken to the local military community twice about leading the command as the Army transitions to post-war operations.

Rose L. Thayer

Scholarship applications accepted

Army Emergency Relief has opened its scholarship application period for the 2014-15 school year.

Applications from spouses and dependent children of soldiers will be accepted from now until May 1, officials said. This year, scholarships will be awarded based solely on financial need, said Tammy LaCroix, manager for AER’s scholarship programs.

In previous years, some scholarships were awarded based on scholastic achievement and leadership, LaCroix said.

“What we’re trying to accomplish is help the neediest of our soldiers,” LaCroix said.

Last year AER awarded 4,629 scholarships, totaling more than $10 million to spouses and children of soldiers. That included scholarships to 1,148 spouses and awards to 3,481 children.

Those scholarships are helping send students this year to about 1,400 schools, ranging from Harvard to Alabama State to American Military University.

Some of the students are attending university classes online and a few are going to vocational or cosmetology schools, LaCroix said.

About 9,000 applications were received last year online, LaCroix said.

More information on the application process and necessary documentation is available on the AER website at

Army News Service

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