Fort Hood-style attack threatened at Georgia base

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, By Christian Boone

The Army Times is reporting exclusively that an anonymous note threatening a massacre similar to the Nov. 5 attack at Fort Hood, Texas, was discovered Thursday — along with a box of 20 hollow-point bullets — in a motor pool area at Columbus’ Fort Benning.

The discovery coincided with a visit from Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, who was in town for Officer Candidate School graduation. The threat prompted a criminal investigation and greater police presence on the Army base, the Army Times reports.

According to a witness on the scene, a box of 20 hollow-point shells and a handwritten note were found under the 197th Infantry Training Brigade.

“The note said ‘tell the commanding general to call off all charges or there will be a re-enactment of Fort Hood,’ ” a witness told Army Times. Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan is charged in the Nov. 5 shooting deaths of 13 fellow service members.

The newspaper, which serves an audience of Army personnel, active and retired, said military police acted quickly on the threat, cordoning off a 20-foot perimeter around the box.

“They’re talking with anyone with a pending [Uniform Code of Military Justice] charge and people who are getting chaptered out to see if they can find out who it is,” the witness told the Army Times.

Fort Benning officials refused comment on the specifics of the letter but confirmed  “an ongoing investigation into a general threat at Fort Benning.”

“A suspicious package and note were found,” post spokeswoman Elsie Jackson said. “The soldier notified a noncommissioned officer, who alerted 911. The area was secured as is normal in these types of incidents.”

Soldiers in the unit are being questioned about the threat, the witness told the Army Times. The Kelley Hill area of Fort Benning was on lockdown for part of the day Friday, according to the witness, who noted an increase in military police patrols on the post.

The Fort Benning spokeswoman said “appropriate force protection measures are in place while an investigation is underway to determine if this is a viable threat.”



Note said Hood-style shooting could happen

Army Times – By Gina Cavallaro – Saturday Nov 21, 2009

A box of hollow-point bullets and an anonymous note threatening an incident like the one at Fort Hood, Texas, were discovered Thursday at Fort Benning, Ga., sparking a criminal investigation and greater police presence, a witness told Army Times.

According to a witness at the scene, a box of 20 hollow-point shells and a handwritten note were found in the motor pool area between 1st Battalion and 2nd Battalion, 29th Infantry, under the 197th Infantry Training Brigade.

“The note said ‘tell the commanding general to call off all charges or there will be a re-enactment of Fort Hood,’ ” the witness told Army Times. He spoke on condition he wouldn’t be identified.

After the discovery, he said, military police arrived with dogs, cordoned off a 20-foot perimeter around the box and began dusting for fingerprints and questioning people.

“They’re talking with anyone with a pending [Uniform Code of Military Justice] charge and people who are getting chaptered out to see if they can find out who it is,” the witness said.

An official at Fort Benning would not comment on the details offered by the witness except to acknowledge “an ongoing investigation into a general threat at Fort Benning.”

“A suspicious package and note were found,” post spokeswoman Elsie Jackson said. “The soldier notified a noncommissioned officer, who alerted 911. The area was secured as is normal in these types of incidents.”

The witness said soldiers in the unit were asked to step forward and were nervous about the possibility of a copycat crime like the Nov. 5 shootings at Fort Hood, in which 13 people were killed while waiting for medical appointments.

The suspect in the Fort Hood shootings, Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, has been charged with 13 counts of murder.

Jackson said “appropriate force protection measures are in place while an investigation is underway to determine if this is a viable threat.”

The witness said he has seen an increase in MP patrols on post and that the Kelley Hill area of Fort Benning had been placed on a lockdown status for part of the day Friday.



Gen. David Petraeus, left, watches as John Sprenger pins second lieutenant bars on the left shoulder of his son, 2nd Lt. Peter Sprenger, after Office Candidate School graduation ceremonies Thursday for B Company, 3rd Battalion, 11th Infantry at the Columbus Convention & Trade Center. Petraeus, the Commanding general, Multi-National Force Iraq, gave the keynote address and pinned one set of bars on the new officer at Sprenger’s request. Robin Trimarchi ledger-enquirer

Gen. Petraeus delivers address at Officer Candidate School’s graduation

Head of U.S. Central Command mentoring 2nd Lt. Sprenger, who has sight in one eye

Ledger-Enquirer – By LILY GORDON

Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, was in town Thursday for Fort Benning’s Officer Candidate School graduation of 152 newly minted second lieutenants.

Such events typically don’t draw top brass, but one of the graduates, 2nd Lt. Peter Sprenger, has long-standing ties to Petraeus.

Sprenger, 26, served under Petraeus in the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq. On Dec. 9, 2003, he was 10 months into his first deployment when an insurgent detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. Sprenger lost his right eye in the attack.

He is the only known soldier on record with one eye to have completed Ranger School, a feat he accomplished in 2005.

“I’m not aware of any other one-eyed Ranger school graduates,” Petraeus said. “Or of any one-eyed OCS graduates.”

For these reasons, Petraeus has opened his door to Sprenger, mentoring and assisting him at almost every point in his career.

“There’s a pretty special relationship here that goes back to when he was wounded, really when we fought our way to Baghdad,” Petraeus said. “(We) served the first year together in Iraq in the 101st Airborne Division. He was the most seriously wounded in the particular attack on his forward operating base and I’ve tracked his progress ever since.”

After recovering from his injuries, Sprenger expressed the desire to remain in the Army. Petraeus put his weight behind this request and Sprenger went on to earn a Ranger tab.

“There are some difficulties,” said Sprenger of Stockton, Calif. “After awhile I don’t see it as a disability at all. I actually don’t really like people calling it a disability because I think with training and training yourself I know I can do things just as well as a lot of the other guys I work with and I respect just as much.”

With Ranger School behind him, Sprenger set his sights on returning to Iraq. He accomplished the feat in 2006, this time as a squad leader with the 101st Airborne Division.

Following his second tour of duty, then-Sgt. Sprenger decided to leave the Army and pursue his college degree.

After graduating from California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, Sprenger asked his four-star mentor for another favor.

“As he approached graduation, he contacted me and said that he wanted to come back in the Army,” Petraeus said. “There was something he missed in life and it was those with whom he used to serve and the important missions they all performed together and what individuals like him would term ‘The brotherhood of the close fight.’ It’s a pretty special relationship that develops between those who have been out at the tip of the spear and so forth, and he’s a pretty special individual.”

Sprenger added, “I think once we start a mission, if we have the capability and the ability to serve, especially at a time of need like right now with the Global War on Terror, I see it as an obligation for myself to do so.”

Sprenger’s determination to remain in the ranks was no match for the level of resistance he encountered by the Army to accept him back.

“The Army at that time was still coming to grips with how to deal with individuals like these,” Petraeus said. “In the past we have not recruited one-eyed soldiers, needless to say … Since then, certainly the process has developed to where we accommodate our wounded warriors that want to stay in the ranks.”

Petraeus said Sprenger has proven repeatedly that the Army’s top officials made the right decision when they allowed him to stay.

In the coming months, Sprenger will again join the 101st Airborne Division and likely deploy for a third tour of duty.

And just as he has from the time Sprenger was injured, Petraeus said his door and e-mail will always be open to him.

“I think most of our Army leaders take great pride, really feel honored to mentor individuals like this,” Petraeus said. “That’s what’s gone on over the course of the last six years or so and it will continue.”

The Officer Candadiate School’s graduation took place Thursday at 1 p.m. at the Columbus Convention & Trade Center in downtown Columbus.

Updated Related Links:

CBN News: Five Muslim Soldiers Questioned at Fort Jackson in South Carolina

Fox News: Army Investigating Poisoned Food Plot

Advertisements