Friday, August 9, 2013

'When did you realize it wasn't training?'

Designated pool reporters march to the Courthouse 
Ft. Hood – Capt. Brandy Mason went from Specialist to field grade officer in the same brigade, stationed at this post.

She's going through a Captain's career training course at present.

Capt. Mason flew in from Ft. Riley, Kansas, on Friday morning, Aug. 9, to testify about what happened to her on the afternoon of Nov. 5, 2009, the day 13 persons died in a deadly handgun assault for which Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan is accused and more than 30 others were wounded.
M.O.U.T. house on No. Ft. Hood is used
 to simulate live fire combat operations
 in an urban environment

The first order for a female going through the Soldier Readiness Program is to take a pregnancy test at a temporary outbuilding at the rear of the center. When lunch was over, she reported to the building to learn the results of her pregnancy test, then took a seat in Station 13 to wait for inoculations and other tests. Out came the cell phone and she began to concentrate on a game called “Pocket Tanks.”

“At that time, somebody stood up and hollered 'Allahu Akbar.'”

Asked what did she see, she replied, “There was a middle-aged, medium height man pointing a gun at my head.”

The prosecutor asked her, “What did you think?”

“Are you kidding? Middle of the day? SRP?” She paused. 


That's when the man with the gun turned away from her and began firing.

“Something wet splashed on my phone and on my medical records. I wiped it off and went looking for a place to hide.”

In the rear of the building, she found a group of empty tables with boxes of printer cartridges stored underneath, so she climbed behind some boxes and hid.

“When I peeked out, I was looking down the barrel of the gun, so I pulled my head back in.”

And then she felt a burning sensation in her hip.

“I said, 'What did that stupid blankety blank blank hit me with?”

She still thought it was a training exercise, that what she was feeling was a paint ball, as a medic doctored her wound, mopping up blood where a single bullet entered her upper thigh and lodged in her left glute.

“He didn't tell me. He just let me believe it was training.”

Other soldiers carried her out of the building to an ambulance. As they crossed the area at Station 13, the place where the attacker dealt the most carnage, she saw a familiar person, Mr. Cahill, a retired Chief Warrant Officer who had worked as a health services provider in the SRP since she was a Specialist.

Mr. Cahill died as he charged Maj. Hasan with a folding chair, trying to knock him down and disarm him.

At what point did she realize it wasn't just training?

“When I saw Mr. Cahill,” she replied. Crime scene technicians had not at the time covered his body with a sheet or blanket.

Was the man who shot her present in the courtroom?


Did she recognize him?

“He's not clean shaven, but that's him,” she said, pointing to Maj. Hasan.

Prosecutors wanted to show her a picture of Mr. Cahill's lifeless body, but first had to show it to Hasan to learn if he had objections.

“I object,” Hasan said, and they found a different picture to show her, which she identified.

Presentation of evidence and testimony will continue the rest of the day, and resume on Monday.

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