Captain Marsh reflects on Fort Hood killings
On Sunday, Nov. 8, many congregations across the country took time to remember those killed and wounded during a shooting rampage Nov. 5 at Fort Hood, Texas.
For Captain Patrick Marsh, it was a time to reflect and be with his family during a memorial service at their church in Lampasas, Texas.
“We prayed for those wounded … those who were lost. And, for God to protect our military personnel serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and abroad,” he says.
Marsh has been stationed at the Texas military base for eight years, living about 40 miles away.
It was three years ago the Register featured Marsh in its November “Our Heroes” edition.
“I’m honored that you called. To see how I am,” Marsh says.
The Winnebago native and 1992 Blue Earth Area High School grad wasn’t at the soldiers readiness processing center at the time of the shootings.
But, he’s quite familiar with the building — having served two tours of duty in Iraq; the latest being for 15 months.
The processing center is where soldiers have health tests, get immunizations and wrap up any paperwork before being deployed.
Marsh says he didn’t personally know any of the victims and isn’t able to talk about the incident because of ongoing investigations.
When news of the shooting hit the airwaves, Marsh’s cell phone began to ring, ring and ring.
His wife, Renee, was trying to contact him to see how he was.
“I’m alright. I’m busy. I don’t have time to talk right now,” Marsh remembers telling his wife.
Thousands of miles away in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, — located some 30 miles from the Canadian border — Patrick’s mother, Susan Bauer, first hears of the shooting on her car radio.
She’s about six miles from her home, returning from a babysitting job.
“I was so devastated. I was crying and praying at the same time,” Bauer says. ” I just thought, ‘Someone is going to be crying tonight because they have lost a loved one.'”
Bauer’s fears were put to rest when she was able to talk with her daughter-in-law.
“My son wasn’t hurt, but he lost members of his military family,” she says.
Marsh is currently employed in a staff position at Fort Hood.
He has served as commander of a combat engineering company in Iraq — building roads and bridges for combat troops to limit the movement of insurgents and cutting their supplies.
As part of the 5th Brigade Combat team, Marsh also led an explosive ordnance unit responsible for detaching and disarming Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
While in Iraq, Marsh’s unit came under fire on several occasions. So, danger is no stranger to the Army veteran.
Like many, however, the attack of the base brings back memories of 9/11 in New York and how it caused Americans to re-evaluate the safety of our country.
“It’s going to take a while to move forward and be able to continue normal operations, but we will,” says Marsh. “We’re military, and that’s what we do.”