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Fort Hood searchers find soldier dead

Blackadder1916

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Fort Hood searchers find soldier dead
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070613/ap_on_re_us/missing_soldier
By MICHELLE ROBERTS, Associated Press Writer June 13, 2007

FORT HOOD, Texas - An experienced soldier who lost contact during a training exercise on the sprawling Fort Hood Army base was found dead four days later, and investigators were hoping Wednesday that autopsy results would provide clues to what happened.

Sgt. Lawrence G. Sprader, 25, had been on a solo exercise to test basic map-reading and navigation skills when was last heard from Friday evening, said Col. Diane Battaglia, a III Corps spokeswoman at Fort Hood.

Hundreds of soldiers and civilians spent four days searching the 15,000-acre training range in 90-degree heat before discovering his body late Tuesday.

Battaglia did not have information on whether his body was found within the boundaries of the land-navigation course. It was sent for an autopsy and the cause of death had not been determined Tuesday evening, she said.

Sprader, 25, was one of nearly 320 noncommissioned officers taking part in a two-week leadership course.

Nine other soldiers got lost during the three-hour map reading exercise, but all except Sprader got back to the rally point safely by following the sound of a siren that blasts when time is up, Battaglia said.

Reached on his cell phone two hours after the exercise was over, Sprader told commanders he wanted to finish the drill. He gave no indication then that he was ill or distressed, officials said.

The hilly terrain can be difficult to navigate and harbors poisonous snakes and other hazards, and the heat can be dangerous. But post officials said no other soldier had ever been lost on the heavily used range long enough to prompt such a huge search.

Hundreds of soldiers had searched thousands of acres, often walking shoulder to shoulder. They were joined by an aircraft equipped with heat-seeking infrared equipment, dozens of horses, all-terrain vehicles, bloodhounds and helicopters.

Sprader had returned from an Iraq deployment in September and worked in the criminal investigation division of Fort Hood. The Prince George, Va., soldier had no orders for redeployment to the war zone.

My condolences to the family of Sgt. Sprader.

A story such as this becomes a reminder that soldiering is a risky business even when training.  I recall (many years ago) when I did the EFMB at Fort Hood that another candidate (an American who was in the hootch next to mine) got lost during the night nav.  When he did not show up after the horn sounded, we started a search, but luckily he was found very quickly.  But I also recall that it was about the same time of the year as now and it got very hot during the day.

 
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