Mom: Soldier pulls others to safety at Fort Hood
An Ogden soldier found himself in the line of fire of a gunman who went on a murderous rampage at an Army post on American soil Thursday.
Joey Foster, 21, a private first class who is preparing to be deployed to Afghanistan, was shot in the hip at Fort Hood, Texas, in a shooting spree at the Soldier Readiness Center that claimed at least 12 lives and wounded 31.
His wife, Mandy Foster, 23, said she first received a call from a friend around 1:30 p.m. that shots had been fired at Fort Hood -- a call she thought was a sick joke.
Soon she learned the nightmare shooting was real, but couldn't reach her Joey until he called about an hour later. He said he'd been shot in the hip, but he would be OK.
"(Joey) said that he was standing in line to turn in papers at the readiness center, and a guy who looked like a regular soldier just all of a sudden jumped up and started yelling stuff in (Arabic) and started shooting," Mandy Foster said.
"He said he doesn't even know when he got hit. He just knows that he grabbed as many people as he could that were being shot by (the gunman) and ran to the back around the corner.
"Then he realized that he'd been shot, 20 minutes after sitting behind a wall."
Joey Foster is scheduled for surgery today to remove fragments of the bullet, Mandy Foster said.
"He said (the gunman) was in front of him. The readiness center has a lot of buildings connected to it. It's where the soldiers go before they deploy to turn in paperwork and (get) shots and stuff. They also go there when they get back from deployment," Mandy Foster said.
"I started bawling. I was terrified. I still didn't believe it. I didn't know what to do."
Aggie Foster, 53, of Ogden, was working as a nurse in the labor and delivery department at Ogden Regional Medical Center when she heard what had happened to her son Joey. Later, she was able to speak with him.
"He said he just heard a guy yelling out Arabic and shooting, and he dived for the floor. It sounds like none of the other guys had guns, so they couldn't shoot back. I'm assuming. I'm not positive," she said.
Mandy Foster was surprised this could happen on American soil before Joey's deployment, not while he was overseas.
"I'm shocked. We're supposed to be safe here, and we're not even safe here anymore," she said.
Joey Foster attended Ben Lomond High School for a couple of years and earned his GED before joining the Army on Nov. 18 last year, following in the footsteps of his brother Chris, who is stationed in Germany and also preparing for deployment to Afghanistan.
Mandy, 23, grew up in Ogden and Harrisville. The Fosters have two children, a 2-year-old son and a daughter who was born in Texas in September just a month after the family was stationed at Fort Hood.
Aggie Foster was still trying to process the event in her mind.
"This always happens to someone else. I've said I'm going to have a rough year next year because both of my boys are going overseas and here it's already started. It kind of makes you nervous," she said.
"First you think is this a joke and then, when it hits you, it just kind of knocks your feet out from under you that your son has been hurt. Obviously, he's doing OK, and thank the good Lord, a lot of people are praying for them, both my boys."
Doug Thompson, of Logan, said his son, Capt. Joshua "Jet" Thompson, has been stationed at Fort Hood for several years and works with Army Reserve soldiers training for duty in Iraq.
His son was not on base today, Doug Thompson said, but he called home to reassure his family that he was safe.
"He said he usually works in a building about 100 yards from where the shootings took place," Thompson said.
Hill Air Force Base spokesman Rich Essary said when incidents like this occur, Hill security officials meet to discuss whether a change in security posture is needed.
When a change is deemed necessary, base officials would not advertise that change.
Standard-Examiner editor Charlie Pomerleau and reporter Mitch Shaw contributed to this article.