Friends Remember Local High School Grad Killed In Rocket Attack

By: Kristin Gordon Email
By: Kristin Gordon Email
News of the death of a local high school graduate who was killed in a rocket attack in Afghanistan shocked and saddened those who knew her.

Army Spc. Ember M. Alt (U.S. Army photo)

KILLEEN (June 21, 2013)—Ember Alt’s parents were waiting at Dover Delaware Air Force Base to meet the plane bringing their 21-year-old daughter home, while those who knew her here were dealing with the news of her death.

Alt, a 2009 graduate of Killeen High School, who led the school’s 4x400 relay team to the state track meet that same year, was among four soldiers killed late Tuesday in a rocket attack in Afghanistan,

Former classmate Zsuzsa Mae Deloso found out about Alt’s death through her friends on Facebook.

"I saw that many people had posted on Ember's wall. I was thinking, 'today's not Ember's birthday, it's next week.'"

Zsuzsa clicked on Ember's page and she saw a lot of posts saying, "We miss you," "I wish this didn't happen," and Zsuzsa immediately wanted to know what was going on.

She began asking classmates what happened to Ember and quickly learned about Alt’s death.

Ember and Zsuzsa met at a military ball during their freshman year of high school.

Zsuzsa was at the buffet behind Ember getting chocolate covered strawberries and some of the chocolate got on Ember's purse.

"She turned around and gave me the meanest smirk ever," said Zsuzsa.

"From there, we clicked and became really, really good friends. I truly miss her."

The two ran track and played basketball.

"We were inseparable," Zsuzsa said.

"If I wasn't staying the night at her house, she was at mine. We had a very sisterly bond. I even taught her how to play basketball. She tried out for the basketball team,” she said.

“It's funny because she knew nothing thing about basketball. She just knew track. I was trying to teach her how to do a left-hand layup and you are supposed to step left, right, left and shoot with your left hand,” she said.

“But with Ember it didn't work like that. She was just all over the place and I remember yelling at her, ‘This is how you are supposed to do it.’”

Alt joined the Army in 2011 after taking some classes at Central Texas College, Zsuzsa said.

"She really didn't tell a lot of people she was deployed, because I was texting her and she wasn't replying back,” she said.

“So I went to Facebook and found out she was in Afghanistan. It is crazy because the last time we talked was just a few days ago, I was asking her what her address was so I could mail her my wedding invitation."

Ember told her not to mail it because she didn't want it to get dirty.

She told Zsuzsa to wait until she got back from the deployment in August.

"I believed every word of that," said Zsuzsa, getting teary-eyed.

“I was so certain I was going to deliver it to her. I kept expressing to her how imperative it was for her to be at my wedding, but I can't do that now."

“I had a friend sacrifice their life for me and that is the most courageous and bravest thing someone could ever do for me," she said.

"For that I have the utmost respect for her and I wish she was here,” she said.

“I love her very much."

Alt’s former track coach, Leah Canon, was also very proud to had known Ember.

"Ember was a kind and giving person," said Canon.

"She always had a hug and smile for you.”

“She worked hard and loved everyone. As her former coach I was very proud of her performances on the track. I'm also proud and honored that she served our great country,” she said.

Alt, whose home of record was listed as Beech Island; Spc. William R. Moody, 30, of Burleson; Sgt. Justin R. Johnson, 25, of Hobe Sound, Fla., and Spc. Robert W. Ellis, 21, of Kennewick, Wash., died when militants fired two rockets into Bagram Air Force Base.

She was a wheeled-vehicle mechanic assigned to the 4th Infantry Division’s 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, based at Fort Carson, Colo.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which came as U.S. and allied forces turned over control of Afghanistan’s security to the Afghan army and police.

Williams and Ellis were also assigned to Alt’s unit.

Johnson served with the 10th Transportation Battalion, 7th Sustainment Brigade, from Fort Eustis, Va.

Moody, a motor transport operator, joined the Army on Dec. 23, 2004, and had deployed to Afghanistan three times, Fort Carson said.

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