Army IDs Fort Hood Soldier Who Died in Boating Accident

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Spc. Francisco Gilberto Hernandezvargas of the 1st Cavalry Division, who died died Aug. 2, 2020.
Spc. Francisco Gilberto Hernandezvargas of the 1st Cavalry Division, who died died Aug. 2, 2020. (U.S. Army)

The Army on Tuesday released the identity of a Fort Hood, Texas, soldier who died in a boating incident off post, according to a post news release

Spc. Francisco Gilberto Hernandezvargas of the 1st Cavalry Division, who was killed Aug. 2, is the second Hood soldier to die recently at Stillhouse Hollow Lake and joins a string of soldier deaths linked to the sweeping Texas post.

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Fort Hood officials did not release any further details about the boating incident that killed Hernandezvargas but said the unit is cooperating with local authorities in an investigation, according to the release.

Hernandezvargas, 24, whose home of record is listed as Woodside, New York, entered the Army in May 2017 and had been assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, since December 2017, according to the release.

He was the second 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, soldier to die in a three-week period at the lake near Fort Hood. Pvt. Mejhor Morta, a Bradley fighting vehicle mechanic, was found dead July 17 in an unexplained incident being investigated by the Bell County Sheriff's Department.

The deaths of Hernandezvargas and Morta also follow the recent high-profile deaths of two other Fort Hood soldiers. In late June, Hood officials announced that skeletal remains found in Killeen, Texas, had been positively identified as those of Pvt. Gregory Morales, a Hood soldier who went missing in August.

And on July 6, Army officials confirmed that human remains discovered near Hood had been identified as Spc. Vanessa Guillen's.

Guillen, a 20-year-old 3rd Cavalry Regiment soldier who disappeared April 22, was allegedly murdered by Army Spc. Aaron Robinson, according to a July 2 criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Western District of Texas.

Guillen's case has become a rallying cry for lawmakers and advocates of female veterans, who are now calling for an end to the culture of sexual harassment and assault in the U.S. military.

Hernandezvargas' awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon and the Army Service Ribbon, according to the Hood release.

"The Black Knight family is heartbroken by the loss of Spc. Francisco Hernandezvargas. Our hearts go out to his family and friends during this difficult time," Lt. Col. Neil Armstrong, commander of 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry, said in the release. "Spc. Hernandezvargas served his country honorably both stateside while at Fort Hood and abroad in Korea and Romania, and this tragic loss is felt by every member within our formation."

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

Related: Soldier Vanessa Guillen's Murder Now a Rallying Cry for Lawmakers

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