Staff Sgt. Zackary Filip, 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, was named as the 2010 Army Times Soldier of the Year in July for care he provided to injured soldiers and civilians Nov. 5, 2009, at Fort Hood. He was approaching Fort Hood's Soldier Readiness Processing Center that day to finish some post-deployment checks he'd put off. He heard shots and ran toward them, knowing someone was probably hurt. He rounded a corner and saw a man in an Army Combat Uniform shooting at a civilian police officer, later identified as Sgt. Kimberly Munley. Filip, like many at the center Nov. 5, though the shots weren't real. He was a combat medic who recently returned from Afghanistan with the 1st Infantry Division. He saw and smelled much blood in his then-24 years of life. He got a whiff of it and once it hit his nose, he knew — the blood was real, too. He pulled Munley around a building corner, whipped off his belt and used it as a tourniquet on her bleeding leg. Filip provided aid to many wounded that day. Some of them didn't make it. Numerous reports like Filip's surfaced in the days following Nov. 5. People on the scene, most of them soldiers, reacted and the word "hero" surfaced often. Why did Filip think those in uniform reacted the way they did that day? "'Cause we're soldiers," he plainly said. "Soldier train. Training is what they do. Their sole purpose is to train, he said, so if something happens, "we're ready.""It came second nature," Filip said. "When you train, train, train, something happens — boom. You go."Filip was one of 12 to receive the Army's Meritorious Service Medal during a Fort Hood ceremony a year after the shooting. Receiving thanks-yous from victims' families means more than anything "they could pin on my chest," he said.
Family and friends of soldiers in the 1st Medical Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command cheer as they prepare to welcome home their soldiers during their homecoming ceremony, Friday, May 14, 2010 at the Kieschnick Gym at Fort Hood.
Pfc. Kyle Messaros, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, looks out from a bradley fighting vehicle while taking part in a field gunnery run, Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at Fort Hood.
Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, prepare their bradley fighting vehicles to take part in a field gunnery run, Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at Fort Hood.
Capt. Matthew Burch, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, hugs his wife, Alexis, and 8-month-old daughter, Holley, as various family members shoot photos and video as they reunite at a homecoming ceremony Jan. 26 at Cooper Field.
Col. Larry Phelps, commander of the 15th Sustainment Brigade, speaks to soldiers and families after the uncasing their flag at a homecoming ceremony Sunday.
Sgt. Randy Bare, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command, carries his bag out of a tent after ceremony Sunday.
Sgt. Justin Stickney, Division Special Troops Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, greets his daughter, Makayla, 1, as his wife, Jin, holds her, during his homecoming ceremony, Thursday, January 14, 2010 at Cooper Field.
Haydee Marie Rodriguez hugs her granddaughter, Anabella Alexander, while watching her husband, Spc. Russell Henne, Special Troops Battalion, III Corps, as he prepares to deploy to Iraq, Thursday, February 18, 2010 at the Kieschnick Gym on Fort Hood.
Kerry Cahill, daughter of Michael G. Cahill, speaks to soldiers and Killeen Police officers during unveiling ceremony Friday of the Nov. 5 Memorial to be built near the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.
Brandon Markwardt, 15 of Valley Mills, Texas, arranges stars painted by students from Duncan Elementary School, Thursday, September 30, 2010 at Fort Hood. Students from the school were given the opportunity to design and paint wooden stars through the Stars of Hope group.
WWE wrestler "The Big Show" waves to spectators as he heads to the ring Saturday afternoon on Sadowski Field at Fort Hood.
Soldiers of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment leave Fort Hood's Robert Gray's Army Airfield terminal as they board a plane to deploy Aug. 27.
Spc. Josh Beasley and Pfc. David Graves, both of 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, prepare to exit their bus to greet their friends and family during their homecoming ceremony, Thursday, January 7, 2009 on Fort Hood.
Sgt. Nicolas Borrego, 15th Special Troops Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command, makes a rubbing of his friend, Pfc. Jose R. Flores-Mejia's name during a dedication ceremony for the 13th Sustainment Commands' memorial pavilion, Friday, September 17, 2010 at Fort Hood. The memorial includes a wall of honor with the names of fallen soldiers who served under the 13th Sustainment Command during peacetime and in war.
Maj. Matthew Giovanni, of the 36th Sustainment Brigade Texas National Gaurd, hugs his son, Alex, 8, during his welcome home ceremony, Friday, June 18, 2010 at Abrams Physical Fitness Center at Fort Hood.
Declan Swigart, 5, and his sister Dakota Swigart, 4, take turns observing inside a military vehicle during the 41st Fires Brigade Family Day event, Thursday, July 29, 2010 at Fort Hood.
Soldiers from the 41st Fires Brigade, 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Fires Brigade, use the Multiple Launch Rocket System during the a Family Day event, Thursday, July 29, 2010 at Fort Hood.
Supplies are loaded inside a cargo plane for soldiers in the 43rd Veterinary Services Detachment, for their deployment to Haiti, Friday, January 29, 2010 on Fort Hood.
Pfc. Jonathan Flagg, a medic with the Florida Army National Guard's 53rdInfantry Brigade Combat Team, assesses a simulated casualty played by Spc.Emmanuel Martinez, of First Army Division West's 120th Infantry Brigade Feb.18 at Fort Hood. The 53rd trained in Texas for about two months in preparation for its deployment to Kuwait and Iraq in late February.
Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Huerta works out during a First Army Division Westdumbbell PT session Feb. 19 at Fort Hood. Programs such as dumbbell PT and Crossfit are taking over from running, push-ups and sit-ups for the division's day-to-day conditioning.
Soldiers of the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade work together to acquire their targets during a convoy live fire exercise June 15 at Jack Mountain Range at Fort Hood.
Chief Warrant Officer-2 Jack Hughes, a pilot with Alpha Company, 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, holds his son on his shoulders as he covers his ears in reaction to the loud noise from AH-64D Apache attack helicopters flying above during a battalion family day Oct. 3 at Fort Hood.
Soldiers in the 3rd Battalion, 395th Armor Regiment, 120th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division, clean up the Dulaney Cemetery May 27 in Bell County near Salado. The unit has sponsored the event for the last 10 years.
Afghan role players interact with National Guard soldiers during a training event Aug. 23. The 120th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division West, uses real-world scenarios and trainers who are knowledgeable in Afghanistan culture to train soldiers deploying to Afghanistan.
Santa Claus reads "A Visit From St. Nicholas" to children at the First Army Division West holiday party Dec. 15 at Fort Hood.
Students chanted, shouted encouragement and reached out their hands to cheer on soldier cyclists riding past Meadows Elementary School at Fort Hood during the statewide Ride 2 Recovery tour on April 9.
Maj. Gen. William Grimsley, III Corps and Fort Hood senior mission commander, pins Bob Bearden June 28 with medals and badges he earned as a soldier of the 82nd Airborne Division's 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment during World War II. Bearden wrote a book about his experiences during D-Day and as a prisoner of war titled, "To D-Day and Back." It was a reader who pointed out Bearden never received his medals and awards for his service. The ceremony at III Corps this summer remedied that. For more on Bearden, go to www.kdhnews.com/news/story.aspx?s=42571&q.
Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Army chief of staff, reads, "Oh, the places you'll go," by Dr. Suess during the library dedication of the Casey Memorial Library in memory of his father, Maj. Gen. George W. Casey Sr. as children listen, Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at Fort Hood. Casey Jr. helped to unveil a newly expanded children's room at the library.
Family members of soldiers listen during a rededication ceremony for 1st Cavalry Division soldiers killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom 2008-2010, Friday, March 12, 2010 at the 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters at Fort Hood.
Salih Jasim, or Chavo as he's better known, makes his way through Walmart after clocking out for the day July 29 in Copperas Cove. A story about Jasim, better known as “Chavo,” first published in the July 31 Killeen Daily Herald. In it, Chavo talked about growing up near Mosul, Iraq, and working for the U.S. Army there. He started as a day laborer on a forward operating base and after learning English, got work as an interpreter. It was then that he received the nickname Chavo, because it was too dangerous to use his real name outside the wire. He worked with a variety of Fort Hood units, including those from the 1st Cavalry Division and 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. Chavo last served as an interpreter for the 15th Sustainment Brigade’s commander, Col. Larry Phelps. The two grew close and Phelps helped Chavo come to the United States. Chavo arrived in late May with Phelps and soldiers from the brigade a few days behind. Chavo has since become a member of the Phelps family, which includes Phelps’ wife, Lisa, their three sons and a daughter in law. He works at Copperas Cove’s Walmart and recently received a promotion. He also earned his Texas driver’s license and now drives himself to work in a car given to him by the brigade’s former chaplain, Maj. Ken Carlson. Carlson recently moved to Korea. Chavo already has his green card and a Social Security card. He celebrated his 21st birthday the same way he celebrated his arrival in the United States in May: a steak at Texas Roadhouse. Chavo’s goals for 2011 include renting his own apartment and working toward his high school equivalency so he can join the Army. To read more about Chavo, go to www.kdhnews.com/news/story.aspx?s=43317&q.
Sgt. Stephen Mondy kneels down to ask his fiancee if she will still marry him after he returned from a yearlong deployment to Iraq Feb. 3 at Cooper Field. The love story of Sgt. Stephen Mondy and Venessa Colon was featured on Valentine’s Day in the Killeen Daily Herald. Mondy, a 1st Cavalry Division soldier, and Colon met in a Killeen club — not typically the place one finds true love in an Army town. They began a relationship that flourished though Mondy deployed to Iraq with the 1st Cavalry’s 1st Cavalry’s Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team. He proposed to Colon by the Eiffel Tower in Paris during his two-week leave from Iraq. Mondy was on the brigade’s very last flight back to Fort Hood from Iraq Feb. 3. He and 100 others crossed the muddy parade field to reunite with their loved ones. Colon was there, of course. Stephen knelt in the rain that Wednesday afternoon and asked Vanessa if she would still marry him. Mondy and Colon got married in an outdoor ceremony April 3 in Round Rock. Soon after, the couple moved to Baumholder, Germany, where Mondy is stationed. To read more about Stephen and Venessa, go to www.kdhnews.com/news/story.aspx?s=39189&q.
Cedar Valley Elementary School fourth-graders perform a skit called "What is a Hero?" in tribute to veterans Nov. 10. Students dressed in uniforms and described World War I, World War II and more current campaigns during a performance.
Staff Sgt. Patrick Zeigler, from left, addresses the audience during an "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" celebration at Howze Theater in Fort Hood, that featured actor/comedian Dane Cook. Extreme Makeover is currently constructing a nearly 3,000-square-foot home for the wounded warrior and his future bride, Jessica Hansen, second from left. Zeigler vwas among 32 people wounded in the Fort Hood shooting at the Soldier Readiness Processing Center on Nov. 5, 2009. Also pictured is Dan Wallrath, founder and president of the nonprofit Bay Area Builders Association's Support Our Troops, and Extreme Makeover's Ty Pennington.
Fourth-grade students take their turns looking over a display of 10 Army uniforms and helmets spanning from World War I to the current day at Fort Hood's Duncan Elementary School as part of a tribute to veterans Nov. 12.
Pfc. Justin Vargas, 57th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, top, fights with Sgt. Matthew Martin, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, during the third-place match for the light heavy weight division of the combatives tournament at Fort Hood.
Spc. Ivan Lopez, 1st Battalion, Warrior Transition Brigade, ties a fly during an instructional class Nov. 3 at Fort Hood.
Maj. Gen. William Grimsley, Fort Hood's acting senior mission commander, raises his hand to re-enlist soldiers from the 4th Sustainment Brigade during their "Wrangler Day," Friday, May 21, 2010 at Abrams Physical Fitness Center at Fort Hood.
Canons are fired during a casing of the colors ceremony for the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, Monday, June 7, 2010 at Cameron Field at Fort Hood. The unit is preparing to deploy to Afghanistan.
Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 41st Fires Brigade, remove their gas masks while taking part in a Nuclear, Biological, Chemical gas chamber training activity, Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at Fort Hood.
Supplies and equiptment are loaded into a cargo plane for soldiers in the 43rd Veterinary Services Detachment, for their deployment to Haiti, Friday, January 29, 2010 on Fort Hood.
Central Texas College graduates rest in their chairs during their commencement ceremony from CTC, Friday, May 7, 2010 at the Bell County Expo Center.
Staff Sgt. Gerardo Rangel, 4th Squadron 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, holds on to a mortar round while participating in a mortar field exercise, Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at Fort Hood.
ROTC Cadet Donner takes part in a live fire activity with soldiers from 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Thursday, June 25, 2010 at Fort Hood.
Natalie Birkholtz friend of Maggie Moran, whose husband is deployed to Afghanistan with 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, paint each others' faces during Spouse's Combat Day, Friday, September 24, 2010 at Fort Hood. Spouses were given the opportunity to take part in activities associated with deployment type scenarios.
Sgt. Brandon Pickett, 1st Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, grabs the hand of his daughter, Sarah, as friend, Spc. Robert Vibbert, holds her up to say goodbye from a bus window as he prepares to deploy with fellow members of his battalion, Monday, December 13, 2010 at Fort Hood.
1st Lt. Natasha Reid, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, reunites with her her mother, Annette Reid, during her homecoming ceremony, Thursday, January 21, 2010 at Cooper Field on Fort Hood.
Soldiers from the 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, depart an airplane while preparing to greet their friends and family for their homecoming ceremony, Thursday, January 7, 2009 on Fort Hood.
Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, line up to receive goodies while preparing to deploy in support of Operation New Dawn, Monday, September 13, 2010 at Fort Hood.
Pvt. Frank Acosta, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, speaks on the phone while preparing to deploy in support of Operation New Dawn, Monday, September 13, 2010 at Fort Hood.
Spc. William Frame, 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, greets his dog, Mic during his homecoming ceremony, Thursday, April 15, 2010 at Cooper Field at Fort Hood.
Spc. Melissa Canales, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, hugs her cousin, Maria Danngev, before leaving Abrams Physical Fitness Center as she deploys to Iraq on Aug. 26.
Soldiers with 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, prepare to unload their weapons after participating in a training exercise with other soldiers, Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at Fort Hood.
Soldiers in the 5th Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiemnt, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, get instruction on how to properly throw an M69 body grenade without a fuse while taking part in a training exercise, Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at Fort Hood.
Soldiers from the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade stand at attention after the colors were cased during the casing of the colors ceremonythe for the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, Monday, June 7, 2010 at Cameron Field at Fort Hood.
Andrea Sotzen says goodbye to her husband, Sgt. Aaron Sotzen, 36th Engineer Brigade, following his deployment ceremony, Friday, March 5, 2010 at the Kieschnick Gym at Fort Hood.
Buddy, the 1st Cavalry Division's Horse Cavalry Detachment mascot, was promoted from corporal to sergeant May 27 at Fort Hood. Buddy first came to the detachment in 2004 when a trooper found him injured on the side of the road. Buddy's promotion was Capt. Jay Bunte's last official act as the detachment's commander. He relinquished command to Capt. David Jackson. Buddy's usual spot during the detachment's shows and demonstrations is on the wagon, where he is known to punctuate the cavalry charge with his distinctive bark. Spc. Marion Kelley, the detachment's muleskinner, drives the team of mules that pulls the wagon during demonstrations and events. Buddy has always been the responsibility of the muleskinner, Kelly said, and he's a stellar dog who came from meager beginnings. Buddy is the best and friendliest dog Kelly said he has ever seen. Buddy learned to get on the wagon and egg on the mules from his predecessor and former mascot, Sgt. Wrangler, Kelly said.
Sgt. Zachary C. Dispennette, a medic in the 1st Cavalry Division's 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, was honored Oct. 7 as the USO Soldier of the Year. He was recognized at the 2010 USO Gala in Washington, D.C., with four others from the Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. Dispennette was in a convoy June 28, 2009, when a car bomb exploded, injuring his battalion commander, Lt. Col. Timothy Karcher. Dispennette grabbed his aid bag and ran toward Karcher's smoking vehicle. "It was the longest 200-meter sprint of my life," Dispennette said in October.Karcher's legs were bleeding badly and he was barely moving. Dispennette applied a tourniquet to Karcher's left leg, then the right. It was the first major injury he'd seen since leaving life as a tanker for one as a medic in 2008.Dispennette, a specialist at the time, applied tourniquets and provided aid as they were rushed to a combat support hospital. Karcher was evacuated to Germany and later the United States. His condition wavered and his legs were amputated above the knees, but he pulled through. Dispennette said he felt good knowing his commander was going to make it."I felt a sense of pride," he said.To read more about Dispennette, go to www.kdhnews.com/news/story.aspx?s=45031&q.