Nightly News   |  November 09, 2009

Picking up the pieces at Fort Hood

Nov. 9: Doctors said Monday that almost all the soldiers who were wounded in last Thursday's massacre at Fort Hood were now out of intensive care, but that many will bear lifelong physical and psychological scars. NBC's Mark Potter reports.

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>>> and now to this ft. hood community. the largest u.s. military post has suffered the largest tragedy of its kind. a scene that resembled combat right there in the middle of a stateside army base , and it won't be easy to recover from. nbc's mark potter is with us from ft. hood tonight. mark, good evening.

>> reporter: and good evening, brian. the big security wall behind me surrounds the area where president obama will attend a memorial service here tomorrow. officials say that service is an important part of the emotional healing process here. few know the stress of the ft. hood shootings more than private first class andrew barr , who was not only wounded in the incident, but also helped a severely injured buddy survive.

>> i said no, you're not going to die. i promise. i promise. i promise you're going to be okay. i'm going to take care of you.

>> reporter: after that trauma, the arrival of her mother at the base was an important comfort.

>> don't cry. you're going to make me cry. i'm so proud of you.

>> reporter: in the wake of the shootings, the u.s. army is facing hard questions about how it cares for its soldiers emotionally, and about whether there were warning signs that the alleged gunman, major nidal malik hasan, was suffering distress, which could lead to violence.

>> there were people who ignored what the responsibilities were as leaders to make sure that people like hasan were identified and removed from the system.

>> reporter: today the commander of ft. hood says the army is trying to make sure it never happens again.

>> we are going to take a very hard look at ourselves and look at anything that might have been done to -- to have prevented this.

>> reporter: but base officials say the immediate focus after physical care of the wounded is the psychological care of the 600 people directly affected by the shootings, from victims to families to caregivers.

>> what i'm directing commanders to do is immediately take a hard look and make sure if there's anybody out there struggling, that we're -- that we're going to address their issues.

>> reporter: meanwhile, 15 victims of the ft. hood shootings remain hospitalized, 8 in intensive care . and the big wall here shows that security is still tight as officials try to assure everyone that ft. hood is now safe and not a battlefield. brian?

>> mark potter in ft. hood, texas. mark, thanks for that.

>>> and now to washington and