Video: Fort Hood soldiers revert to battle rules

  1. Closed captioning of: Fort Hood soldiers revert to battle rules

    >> far.

    >>> and now to the view from those who were there when the massacre took place. they witnessed nothing short of combat conditions in the middle of a stateside military base . nbc's mark potter is in ft. hood as well for us tonight. mark, good evening.

    >> reporter: and good evening to you, brian. it was a day of tragedy and heroism as soldiers worked as fast as they could to save their own. when the shooting started and the wounded fell, the soldiers who were spared did whatever they could to help save lives.

    >> my friends -- cutting off their shirts, making as tourniquets.

    >> reporter: sergeant andrew hagerman, a military policeman, arrived right after the shootings to find what he called controlled chaos.

    >> it was intense. the biggest thing was just trying to get all the wounded out.

    >> reporter: those wounded were rushed to area hospitals and emergency rooms were also filled with soldiers not wanting to leave their injured friends.

    >> they're taking care of their buddies out there, and they just wanted to stay and make sure their buddies were okay.

    >> reporter: at the emergency room some of the wounded soldiers actually drove themselves here in their own cars. others who were more seriously hurt were brought here by their buddies in their cars. among the wounded was 21-year-old army specialist kara bono from independence, missouri who was newly married and preparing for deployment to iraq .

    >> she was mad when i first talked to her. she said, "they shot me. they shot me." and she was actually more mad than anything. and that was her.

    >> reporter: 27-year-old nathan hewitt from lafayette, indiana was shot in the hip and calf. he'd served in iraq , left the army, then re-enlisted when he lost a factory job. among though killed in the shootout was 19-year-old aaron nemelka from west jordan , utah.

    >> we'll miss everything about him. he was fun to be around.

    >> reporter: also killed was 51-year-old russell seeger, who worked at the v.a. hospital. in a radio interview he explained why he signed up for the army reserve four years ago.

    >> i've always had a great deal of respect for the military and for service, and i just felt it was time that i stepped up and did it, actually.

    >> reporter: 21-year-old michael pearson of bolingbrook, illinois had been trained to defuse bombs. he died after being shot three times.

    >> he was the best son in the whole world.

    >> reporter: 21-year-old franceska val ez died in the shootout just after returning from iraq .

    >> i just want everybody to know she's just a wonderful person, she didn't deserve to lose her life.

    >> reporter: valez had returned home early because she was a month and a half pregnant. and as relatives grieve tonight, they still can't believe all this happened on a u.s. military base. brian?

    >> mark potter at ft. hood tonight. mark, thanks.

    >>> and for more on this

updated 11/7/2009 8:19:07 AM ET 2009-11-07T13:19:07

President Barack Obama, seeking to reassure a nation shaken by the mass shooting on an Army post in Texas, said Saturday that the training designed to keep U.S. forces safe abroad prevented further deaths and ended a rampage at Fort Hood.

Praising what he called the heroism that ended gunfire on the nation's largest army post, the president described the exchange that left 13 dead and 30 others wounded on Thursday a tragedy.

In his weekly radio and Internet address on the weekend before Veterans Day, Obama praised those who serve or have served in uniform and reminded the public of their diversity — a move designed to calm tensions around the suspected shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan.

"They are Americans of every race, faith and station. They are Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and nonbelievers," Obama said. "They are descendants of immigrants and immigrants themselves. They reflect the diversity that makes this America. But what they share is a patriotism like no other."

Calls for patience
Obama called for patience while officials piece together what happened.

"We cannot fully know what leads a man to do such a thing," Obama said. "But what we do know is that our thoughts are with every one of the men and women who were injured at Fort Hood. Our thoughts are with all the families who've lost a loved one in this national tragedy."

But Obama said while "we saw the worst of human nature on full display, we also saw the best of America."

"We saw soldiers and civilians alike rushing to aid fallen comrades, tearing off bullet-riddled clothes to treat the injured, using blouses as tourniquets, taking down the shooter even as they bore wounds themselves," Obama said.

"We saw soldiers bringing to bear on our own soil the skills they had been trained to use abroad — skills that been honed through years of determined effort for one purpose and one purpose only: to protect and defend the United States of America."

President will attend memorial service
Obama's aides, meanwhile, worked to make way for Obama to attend a still unscheduled memorial service. The White House's top spokesman said Obama would attend that service and emphasized it would take place at the family's convenience and that it will not be dictated by the president's schedule.

Fort Hood profiles "When a service is scheduled, the president will attend," Robert Gibbs told reporters during his daily briefing.

Later Saturday, Obama planned to make remarks to reporters in the Rose Garden before departing to the presidential retreat at Camp David for a night away from Washington. He planned to leave Wednesday for a 10-day trip to Asia.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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