Fort Sill makes changes after flooding accident

Fort Sill makes changes after flooding accident

FORT SILL, OK (KSWO) -Last week's tragedy at Fort Hood is drawing attention to military bases across the country, including Fort Sill, after nine soldiers died when their vehicle overturned in a flooded creek.

Twelve Fort Hood soldiers were riding in a light medium tactical vehicle for a routine training exercise at a low-water crossing when it overturned. Only three were rescued. Investigators are looking how the military may handle risky training conditions in the future.

In May 2015, Sergeant David l. Hawkins, of the 100th Support Battalion drowned after he tried to drive through a low water crossing at Fort Sill and his vehicle was swept away. But, since last summer, there have been many changes.

"Drop gates or jersey barriers with a chain across them. On some of them we have signs," said Colonel Paul Hossenlopp of Fort Sill.

Fort Sill began construction on several bridges at low water crossings to ensure the safety of soldiers and citizens who come on fort sill.

"We were able to accelerate some of the funding to move some of those programs forward based on the incident that occurred last year," said Colonel Bill Darne of Fort Sill.

Colonel Darne says they've also made changes to some of their procedures.

"We have a 24/7 operations center that runs day to day it has the capability to increase capacity very quickly depending on what emergency or crisis that we are dealing with," said Darne.

They are also constantly monitoring the amount of rain they get and the amount of water being released through the floodgates at lakes Lawtonka and Ellsworth, which adds to the flooding situations at Fort Sill.

"We're taking a look at all of our low water crossings, closing them when required and then we will get the word out through our military reporting system also our social media so everyone is aware," said Hossenlopp.

Colonel Hossenlopp says making Fort Sill a better and safer place is just part of his job.

"Protecting the soldiers and families and civilians of this installation, so it makes us feel like we're doing the right thing," said Hossenlopp.

Colonel Darne says the bridges and the rest of the construction will cost about $8 million. It is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

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