August was a significant month for the war in Afghanistan.
It’s the month the death toll for Operation Enduring Freedom reached more than 2,000 and was also the deadliest month of 2012 — 53 NATO troops were killed and two-thirds of those were Americans, according to the website icasualties.org.
While Fort Hood’s participation in the Afghanistan war, which began in 2001, has been less than some installations, it has not been easy. Fort Hood has lost 54 service members in Afghanistan, one an airman with the 712th Air Support Operations Squadron. Their ages range from 18 to 47 years old, and their ranks from private to brigadier general.
Fort Hood sent its first unit to Afghanistan in 2001, according to the III Corps and Fort Hood Public Affairs Office.
On Nov. 14, 2001, 5th Platoon, 545th Military Police Company, then part of the 1st Cavalry Division, was deployed to Camp Doha, Kuwait, in support of Task Force Blackjack Thunder, Operation Desert Spring 03-01. While undergoing their training exercises on Dec. 15, 2001, they were redeployed and assigned to Headquarters Army Forces Central Command, located at Bagram, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The first Fort Hood casualty occurred on June 11, 2006, when 28-year-old Cpl. Bernard Corpuz, 504th Military Intelligence Brigade, now known as the 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, was killed during hostile fire, according to icasualties.org. Since then, that brigade has gone on to lose two more soldiers during its 2011 to 2012 deployment.
It is the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, now stationed at Fort Knox, Ky., that saw the most casualties — 27 in one deployment from Fort Hood. Next is the 36th Engineer Brigade, which has lost 10 soldiers.
Fort Hood soldier Pfc. Jeffrey Rice was the most recent to die, on July 19.
During Rice’s remembrance ceremony in Kandahar Province, Capt. Joseph Frederick, commander of the 584th Mobility Augmentation Company, spoke on the next step for his fellow soldiers.
“Danger is still lurking. We still have a mission to complete. So, all I ask is that you honor him by watching over one another and take up his position guarding the perimeter.”