Fort Hood soldier dies in boating accident, marking 5th soldier death within months

KILLEEN, Texas -- A Fort Hood soldier died in a boating accident, weeks after another soldier was found unresponsive in the same area on Stillhouse Hollow Lake.

The body of 24-year-old Spc. Francisco Gilberto Hernandezvargas was recovered on Aug. 2, officials said in a release.

According to Fort Hood, Hernandezvargas, a New York native, joined the Army in 2017 as an Automatic Rifleman. He had been assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division since December 2017.

He was also a decorated soldier, receiving multiple honors including the National Defense Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon and the Army Service Ribbon.

"The Black Knight family is heartbroken by the loss of Specialist Francisco Hernandezvargas. Our hearts go out to his family and friends during this difficult time," said Lt. Col. Neil Armstrong, commander of 1st Bn. 5th Cav. Regt.

Armstrong said Hernandezvargas also served abroad in Romania and Korea.

While his death is under investigation, this also marks more tragedy involving Fort Hood soldiers.

In July, U.S. Army officials said they found the body of 26-year-old Pvt. Mejhor Morta near the post. Morta was found unresponsive July 17 in the vicinity of Stillhouse Hollow Lake, which is a reservoir located in Bell County and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Fort Worth District.

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On June 21, officials had discovered skeletal remains in a field in Killeen, just over 10 miles from Stillhouse Hollow Lake, which were subsequently identified as 24-year-old missing Fort Hood soldier Gregory Morales. U.S. Army officials have said they suspect foul play in his death.

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Then on July 1, U.S. Army officials found more human remains, which were later identified as 20-year-old missing Fort Hood soldier Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, near the Leon River in Bell County, about 20 miles east of Fort Hood. Guillen had been missing since April 22.

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On May 18, Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans, 27, was found shot to death in Harker Heights next to his burned Jeep. Rosecrans joined the U.S. Army in 2018 and was eventually sent to Fort Hood. His father, Thomas Berg Sr., has been working with the Harker Heights Police Department on his son's murder.

Officials have not said any of the deaths are related.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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