FORT HOOD, Texas (KXAN) — Fort Hood officials have declared a missing soldier who was swept away in floodwaters on April 11 to be dead.
Spc. Darius Cooper, 40, was swept away near Turkey Run Road on Fort Hood and, despite an extensive search effort involving more than 800 people, was never found. A police dive team member searching for Cooper also lost her life.
“Despite the diligent effort to find Specialist Cooper, it is heartbreaking for our Soldiers and the Fort Hood Family that we were not able to locate him,” said Maj. Gen. John Uberti, III Corps and Fort Hood deputy commanding general. “Our thoughts, prayers and sincere condolences go to the Cooper Family, loved ones, and fellow Soldiers impacted by this tragedy.”
The board of inquiry’s decision to declare Cooper dead was announced by Fort Hood Thursday, setting Cooper’s date of death to be April 11.
Cooper, from San Antonio, entered active duty service in June 2008 as a culinary specialist. He was assigned to 2nd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, since June 2016.
Officials say Cooper was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2009 to July 2010 and Operation Enduring Freedom from March to November 2013.
Maj. Gen. Uberti thanked emergency responders from Fort Hood and the surrounding area who “tirelessly and professionally searched for Specialist Cooper.” He also expressed condolences to the family of Lori Pohanka-Kalama, the Morgan’s Point Resort police dive team member who died while searching for Cooper.
Cooper’s awards and decorations include two Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, two Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Iraq Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal and Combat Action Badge.