The Roo Nation is mourning the loss of another teammate and friend.
Spc. Ember Alt, a 2009 graduate of Killeen High School, was among the four U.S. service members killed by indirect enemy fire Tuesday in Bagram, Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced Thursday.
Alt, 21, was among the three killed who were assigned to the 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division from Fort Carson, Colo.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said Wednesday that militants fired two rockets into the Bagram Air Base late Tuesday.
Alt, who ran track at Killeen High, is the second Roo athlete to die in a little more than a year. Dino Cannon Jr. was fatally shot and killed June 15, 2012, in Orlando, Fla., less than two weeks after he graduated.
Alt, a native of Beech Island, S.C., was a stand-out on the Lady Roos’ track team and entered the Army in 2011.
She was serving her first tour in Afghanistan at the time of the attack. She’d been deployed since November.
She was awarded the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and an Army Service Ribbon.
“I think it (the Army) was a good fit for Ember,” said former Killeen girls track coach Leah Cannon. “She wasn’t for sure what else she wanted to do. She was a very loving person. Always had hugs for everyone. I could see her serving her country and giving everything she had like she did here in school.
“This is last thing I ever thought about,” Cannon added. “When kids join, you just don’t think about (this happening). I know you should, but I never thought about that for Ember.”
Also killed from Alt’s unit were Spc. Robert W. Ellis, 21, of Kennewick, Wash., and Spc. William R. Moody, 30, of Burleson.
Sgt. Justin R. Johnson, 25, of Hobe Sound, Fla., who was assigned to the 10th Transportation Battalion, 7th Sustainment Brigade, Fort Eustis, Va., also was killed in the attack.
Alt ran the first leg of the Lady Roos’ 1,600-meter relay team that finished seventh at the University Interscholastic League State Track and Field Championships in 2009.
Alt called the relay team the “Fantastic 4-by-4,” in an interview with the Killeen Daily Herald that year.
Cannon said Alt, who also was a regional qualifier in the 300-meter hurdles, had a love-hate relationship with the mile relay.
“Sometimes, she couldn’t decide if she needed to give it her everything in the 300 hurdles because she was afraid she would let her teammates down on the mile relay,” Cannon said, “but yet, she loved the 300 hurdles and she didn’t just want to not give it her everything, either.”
It was the relay that reached the pinnacle of Texas high school track — Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin.
Alt told the Herald in 2009 that she was glad she achieved that milestone with her teammates.
“Anybody can get to state as an individual,” Alt said. “It means more to go with your family. It’s an adrenaline rush. If I’m running (an event) by myself and I mess up, it doesn’t affect anybody but me. Having them out there makes me want to do better because how I do affects them.”