Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel Hearings: Sexual Assault in the Military (March 24, 2021)

“Sexual assault victims and victims’ advocates testified on the need for Congress to address prevention and handling of such cases in the military. The Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel convened the hearing and was considering various proposals, including making changes to the military justice system, to address how assault cases are prosecuted.”Sexual Assault in the Military | CSPAN.org (March 24, 2021)

Video:

Senate armed services committee holds hearing on sexual assault in the military
Senator Elizabeth Warren on Sexual Assault in the Military
Sen. Gillibrand: sexual assault in military an ‘epidemic’ that’s getting worse
How personal experience is guiding this military corp’s attempt to combat sexual assault
Sen. Gillibrand Pushes For Sexual Assault Reform In Military

Witness Testimony of Ms. Amy Braley Franck, Founder, Never Alone:

Download Testimony here.

Chairman Gillibrand, Ranking Member Tillis, and Members of the Committee, I thank you for this opportunity.  

My name is Amy Braley Franck I have been working with victims of sexual violence since 2006.  Currently employed as Victims’ Advocate at 416th Theater Engineer Command.  

I am currently being retaliated against for reporting Command for illegally concealing and failing to report 3 violent Sexual Assaults to Law Enforcement.  

I have been on a paid suspension since 20 November 2019 the day after I emailed LTG Charles Luckey the evidence.  I emailed the same evidence to the Chief of Staff of the Army, GEN James McConville on 22 November 2019.  I also sent this evidence to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, GEN Mark Milley and DOD SAPRO Admiral Burkhart and Nate Galbreath.  This evidence mirrors what was documented in the Ft. Hood Report. 

Sexual assaults and violent rapes not reported to CID or Law Enforcement, there was retaliation against victims and reporters of crimes, no Case Management Group or attendance for over a year.  

I have been left in this “suspension” after protecting victims and reporting command for over 16 months completely ostracized and isolated in retaliation.   

This evidence was reported to the Office of Special Counsel and the DOD IG  

The Army’s Internal 15-6 process has impeded justice for my victims and myself.  This internal investigative process does not allow for transparency and should be abolished. 

17-year-old Private in Granite City, Illinois reserve center was raped resulting in broken bones.  She had to stand next to her assailant in formation.  The Command’s illegal 15-6 investigation was documented in a Memorandum for Record. 

For over a year no one assisted her until I was notified in June 2019 but after my suspension, that ended. 

Advocates are continually blocked by layers of Command from protecting their victims.  When Commanders ignore the advice of Advocates, we have no recourse.  There are no consequences for Commanders when they violate law.      

Documented by the number of murders and murders by suicide.  Nicole Burnham’s, Brigade Commander Col John Mountford left Nicole in the same barracks at Camp Casey with her offenders raped and later gang raped tortured for over 82 days before her Transfer was executed.  Nicole is dead. 

Staff Sgt. Morgan Robinson’s first offender is still serving in the Oklahoma Army National Guard.  Staff Sgt. Robinson’s report of 9 Special Forces Soldiers placing a covering over her head, dragging her out of a tent and gang-raping her. Never investigated.  

An outstanding Soldier committed Suicide; she was not protected.  

Lavena Johnson’s brutal murder has never been investigated. The Army still states that it was a suicide.  

16 years later the toxic culture again exposed with the murder of Vanessa Guillen.  

This is not isolated to Fort Hood, documented across all components of the Military.   

Ft. Campbell April 2020 another victim of a gang rape was arrested illegally by CID and denied counsel. 

MG Shadley retired alerted MG Donna Martin.  Nothing was done. 

Never Alone helped Soldier with Suicidal Ideations.  She is still fighting to clear her record.     

Fort Bliss, 31 December 2020 Pfc. Asia Graham was found dead. Asia’s offender is identified as an accused serial rapist.   Walking free no pre-trial confinement.  He continued to live in the same barracks on the same floor with Asia and was moved into Headquarters Company with Asia until her untimely death. 

Asia’s leadership failed to protect her after she reported her rape in February 2020 not June.  

PVT Richard Halliday is still missing from Ft. Bliss. 

When victims and victim advocates speak out about the broken process and illegal actions of commanders.  We face severe retaliation.  

All felony crimes murder, rape, sexual assault, domestic violence do not belong within the chain of Command’s control to investigate or prosecute.   

Kamisha Block’s death deemed friendly fire, she was murdered due to Domestic Abuse. 

The Abuse of Power is real. 

In Italy the Provost Marshal,LTC Michae Parsons Army Garrison filed an espionage charge in Italian Court against an Army Spouse, Michela Morellato.  Retaliation for exposing Gen Harrington resulting in his firing and demotion.  This retaliation was reported to GEN Milley and IG.  Nothing was done.    

Illegal internal 15-6 process.  Ability to redact investigations. None of us will ever know the truth or get justice.   

Just this week my own sexual assault by a 2-star general still under investigation was improperly released to be weaponized against another sexual assault advocate during an unrelated court martial. The military has no checks and balances.    

I was raised in the military and a proud mother of a Veteran.  I will not stop until our Military is a safe.  “Sexual misconduct is an abuse of power and force protection issue.  The inability of commanders to execute essential command functions of “protection” is a significant threat to the United States Military’s ability to protect this great Nation.”  Soldiers should Never be Alone.

Other Witnesses:
Ms. Amy Marsh, Military Spouse
Mr. Quinton McNair, Former SARC/SHARP Victim Advocate
Ms. Brenda S. Farrell, Director, Defense Capabilities And Management, GAO
Mr. Eugene R. Fidell, Senior Research Scholar, Yale Law School Adjunct Professor Of Law, New York University Law School
Colonel Don M. Christensen, USAF (Ret.), President, Protect Our Defenders
Colonel Lawrence J. Morris, USA Ret. (No electronic testimony submitted)

Honoring the Fallen:

Related Links:
Sexual Assault in the Military | C-SPAN.org
SASC Sexual Assault in the Military Hearings Press Release (March 24, 2021) 
Senate armed services committee holds hearing on sexual assault in the military
Senate panel holds hearing on sexual assault in the military | FULL HEARING
Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on sexual assault in the military
How personal experience is guiding this military corp’s attempt to combat sexual assault
Transcript for Committee on Armed Services to Receive Testimony on Sexual Assault in the Military
Sen. Gillibrand: sexual assault in military an ‘epidemic’ that’s getting worse
Gillibrand renews push for military sexual assault reform
Gillibrand launches new push to punish sexual predators in the military
Pentagon leaders have opposed plans overhauling the military system for trying sexual assault for years. Has the time come for change?
‘Just heartbreaking’: Sen. Gillibrand pushes for sexual assault reform in military
Editorial — Military injustice: Independent prosecutors should handle sexual assault cases
Army Pvt. Nicole Burnham Found Unresponsive in Fort Carson Barracks; Death Ruled Suicide After Sexual Assault, Retaliation & a Three Month Expedited Transfer Delay (January 26, 2018)
“They took her soul”: Army did “nothing” for soldier who reported sexual assault, mom says
Speier, Mullin Introduce Bipartisan ‘I Am Vanessa Guillén Act’ to Transform the Military’s Response to Sexual Violence & Missing Servicemembers (September 16, 2020)
Fort Campbell Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson Died of Non Combat Related Injuries in Iraq; Death Ruled Suicide But Independent Investigation Revealed Rape and Murder (July 19, 2005)
Report of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee (November 6, 2020)
New sexual assault accusations after soldier’s death at Fort Bliss; Army opens investigation
Search Continues for Fort Bliss Soldier Reported Missing Over 200 Days
Fort Hood Army Staff Sgt. Paul Norris Fatally Shot Spc. Kamisha Block in Murder-Suicide in Iraq; Family Calls for Congressional Hearings & Independent Investigations (August 16, 2007)
Gillibrand: The Military Justice Improvement Act Would Give Service Members a Justice System That Works (July 1, 2019)
Find Richard Halliday | Facebook

Fort Hood’s Toxic Culture? Red Flags Raised Over Mysterious Disappearances, Sexual Assaults | Fox News (January 6, 2021)

Fort Hood’s toxic culture? Red flags raised over mysterious disappearances, sexual assaults | Hollie McKay, Fox News (January 6, 2020):

The sizable military installation has long come under fire over allegations of coverups and abuse

The report also pointed to a lack of experience and high turnover within the ranks of the Criminal Investigation Department, leading to problems with launching sufficient investigations.

As it stands, there are more than 1,000 deserters wanted by the U.S. Army and it remains unclear explicitly what is being done to determine their fates. Ten months before Guillen disappeared, Pvt. Gregory Morales also vanished from Fort Hood. His body was unintentionally recovered a few miles from the base in June, during the search for Guillen. He had been listed as AWOL in August 2019 and later as a deserter.

However, for his mother, Kim Wedel, her life in Oklahoma halted as she pleaded for assistance and answers from Fort Hood’s Army Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

“If any other business had this many glaring problems, leadership would be gone. Why did it take an investigation to see that the CID was understaffed and overwhelmed? There was a lack of response from CID, and they certainly didn’t know what to do with me as a mom calling all the time,” Wedel told Fox News.

The Killeen Police Department is heading the investigation into Morales’ death, in which foul play is suspected, according to local reports. 

“The Army didn’t care enough to see there was a problem,” Wedel asserted. “I still haven’t really heard from anyone down there. My son will never be at the forefront, and it is shocking how many parents like us are out there. People don’t just disappear because they choose to.”

However, many soldiers and families connected to Fort Hood told Fox News that the personnel changes were merely cosmetic, and they feared “business as usual” when the spotlight faded.

Jennifer Norris, an Air Force veteran and military crime analyst who has focused on Fort Hood issues since 2016, said in order to look forward, one also must look back.

“The deaths ruled a suicide – they need to be investigated. Why did they take their lives? Were those deaths properly investigated? Was it really a suicide, or was it a murder? Everything needs to be questioned,” she added. “We can’t just pretend the last 20 years didn’t happen.” 

Read more from Fox News here.

Related Links:
Report of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee (November 6, 2020)
15 Things Every American Should Know About the Fort Hood Report
Fort Hood’s toxic culture? Red flags raised over mysterious disappearances, sexual assaults
Tragedies At Fort Hood Have Led The Army To Rethink Its Response When Soldiers Go Missing
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)
Washington D.C. Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of the Armed Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (December 12, 2017)
Speier, Mullin Introduce Bipartisan ‘I Am Vanessa Guillén Act’ to Transform the Military’s Response to Sexual Violence & Missing Servicemembers (September 16, 2020)
Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales Reported AWOL; Based on Anonymous Tip, Remains Found in Shallow Grave in Killeen 10 Months Later (August 19, 2019)
Timeline: Army Sgt. Kelton Sphaler and Army Vet Scott Weinhold Reported Missing at Belton Lake on Fort Hood; After Search Launched, Both Recovered in Water (January 21, 2019)
Fort Hood Army Cpl. Christopher Ferguson Died of Undetermined Causes; CID Claimed Death Was Accident; CBS News Reported Suicide (March 25, 2007)
Fort Hood Army Staff Sgt. Paul Norris Fatally Shot Spc. Kamisha Block in Murder-Suicide in Iraq; Family Calls for Congressional Hearings & Independent Investigations (August 16, 2007)
Research Reveals Pattern of Violence, Suspicious Deaths, Problematic Death Investigations, and Cover-up at Fort Hood in Texas (September 11, 2020)
Stars and Stripes: Why is Fort Hood the Army’s Most Crime-Ridden Post? (August 21, 2020)
Austin American-Statesman: Vanessa Guillen’s Death Shines Light on More Tragedies at Fort Hood (July 28, 2020)
Open Letter to House of Representatives in Support of an Independent Investigation of the Murder of Vanessa Guillen at Fort Hood (July 7, 2020)
Unsolved Homicide Cases Affiliated with Fort Hood (January 1, 2016 to Present)
Never Forgotten: The Fort Hood Fallen (2016)

Report of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee (November 6, 2020)

Fort Hood Independent Review:

“Former Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy and the five civilian members of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee unveiled the results of a three-month examination of the command climate and culture at Fort Hood and the surrounding military community on Dec. 8, 2020.”

“The independent review, which was directed by former Secretary McCarthy, arose from the questions and concerns voiced by family members, Congress, and various Hispanic advocacy groups during the investigation into the disappearance and murder of Spc. Vanessa Guillén.”

“The committee examined the command climate and culture at Fort Hood and the surrounding military community to determine whether they reflect the Army’s commitment to safety, respect, inclusiveness, diversity, and freedom from sexual harassment.”

“Committee members Chris Swecker, Jonathan Harmon, Carrie Ricci, Queta Rodriguez and Jack White conducted a two-week fact-finding mission to the Texas base, meeting with unit leaders, Soldiers, members of the Guillén family, local officials, law enforcement and community groups.”

“The 136-page Report of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee offers findings and recommendations intended to benefit Fort Hood and the entire Army. In response, the former Secretary McCarthy has taken significant measures to hold leaders accountable at Fort Hood, instituted a new policy on missing Soldiers and formed the People First Task Force to map out a plan to tackle issues identified in the report.”

Read more here.

Secretary of the Army McCarthy addresses the report of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee
MLP Hearing: “Military Criminal Investigative Organization Reform Recommendations

Related Links:
Important @Military_Crime Links (Linktree)
Trends in Active-Duty Military Deaths Since 2006
Fort Hood Independent Review (Official Army website)
Research Reveals Pattern of Suspicious Deaths & Cover-up at Fort Hood (Sep. 11, 2020)
Report of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee (November 6, 2020)
Report of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee (November 6, 2020)
15 Things Every American Should Know About the Fort Hood Report
MLP Hearing: “Military Criminal Investigative Organization Reform Recommendations
Fort Hood’s toxic culture? Red flags raised over mysterious disappearances, sexual assaults
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (Jan. 1, 2016 to Present)
Washington D.C. Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of the Armed Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (December 12, 2017)
1st AD, Fort Bliss change command: Maj. Gen. Pat White takes ‘Old Ironsides’ helm
Never Forgotten: The Fort Hood Fallen (2016)

Research Reveals Pattern of Violence, Suspicious Deaths, Problematic Death Investigations, and Cover-up at Fort Hood in Texas (September 11, 2020)

(photo: Hedge Hedge Baker)

*Submitted to the House Armed Services Committee on September 11, 2020 and received no response

Dear House Armed Services Committee:

I accidentally stumbled upon Fort Hood while conducting research on the non combat deaths of female service members overseas. Fort Hood, along with a few other big Army bases in the U.S., was the common denominator in non combat death overseas. I also learned there are countless numbers of non combat deaths of male service members as well. They shouldn’t have to face death as a way to escape their situation (whether they are a victim of crime and/or it’s a mental health emergency). This issue in and of itself is its own animal and the reason we need policy enacted immediately to create a “bug out” plan for those in danger (or mental health emergencies) in overseas locations, especially if the chain of command fails them. There is no 911 overseas. Why is it the military is not accountable to the American public with the outcome of the investigations of a U.S. service member’s death? They conveniently get to hide behind the non combat death label and because they don’t disclose why or how the service member died in most cases, we are not able to make informed consent as to whether we want to join an organization that appears to hide their misdeeds in an effort to protect the reputation of the institution. I was inspired to look into the other non combat deaths of women overseas after learning the military labeled the obvious rape and murder of LaVena Johnson as a suicide. My research found this isn’t an anomaly, this is a pattern.

Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Iraq)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Service Members in the U.S. Military (Afghanistan)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Service Members in the U.S. Military (Other Areas)
Department of Defense Press Releases (2001 to 2013) *deleted in fall of 2020
Department of Defense Press Releases (2014 to present)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of U.S. Service Members
Fort Campbell Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson Died of Non Combat Related Injuries in Iraq; Death Ruled Suicide But Independent Investigation Revealed Rape & Murder (July 19, 2005)

After noticing the pattern of the same bases tied to the non combat deaths overseas, I decided to start researching crime in and around the bases in question. Crime knows no boundaries. I took a look at JBLM, Fort Bragg, Fort Hood, Fort Carson, Fort Campbell, JBER, Fort Wainwright, Camp Pendleton, etc. I not only discovered violent crime in and around the bases but I discovered suicide and homicide in garrison were significant issues as well. In late 2016, I noticed a large cluster of deaths at Fort Hood on the heels of learning about all the other violent crime, non combat death and suicide at Fort Hood since 9/11/2001. I was especially upset with the way Fort Hood handled the missing person case of Dakota Stump and how they treated his family. As a result of me taking an interest in the issues at Fort Hood, families of the fallen started contacting me. What I learned collectively was startling. Please keep in mind, each family didn’t know about my conversations with the other families as all this information is considered confidential unless they want to tell their loved ones story on my website: www.militaryjusticeforall.com

Violent Crime, Non Combat Death & Suicide at U.S. Military Bases
Fort Hood Army Pvt. Dakota Stump Found Dead on Post Three Weeks After Vehicle Accident; Family Wants Missing ‘Warrior Alert Law’ (November 3, 2016)
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Hood, Texas

As a result of the intel I was getting from families of the fallen at Fort Hood, I decided I was going to start paying closer attention to what was going on at this base. It was by far the most problematic compared to any other base. But please understand Fort Hood is symbolic of the other bases; they all have these same problems. The Army is by far the worst offender concerning death and violent crime in the military. The patterns that emerged from the Fort Hood families included lack of interest in missing persons cases, mislabeling deaths, shoddy death investigations, reports and information from Army leadership that didn’t add up or make sense, evidence goes missing, computer devices and phones are erased, secretiveness, dismissiveness, misleading, and cover-up. When it comes to an untimely or dubious death, it’s hard to find a family who won’t stop fighting for their loved one until justice is served. No justice, no peace. We currently have a group of families at Fort Hood and elsewhere who want to file a class action lawsuit to get the suspicious deaths of their loved ones reopened so they can be investigated properly by independent investigators. The Army did not investigate each death as a homicide until ruled out, therefore the scene was not preserved for evidence collection; they quickly ruled the death a suicide and moved on. According to Stars and Stripes, in the last five years, we’ve lost 165 soldiers at Fort Hood and 70 of those deaths were deaths ruled suicide. I have not included all cases because a lot of families have not come forward to share their story publicly because they are heartbroken, traumatized, confused, and overwhelmed. This experience leaves the families feeling helpless. Even if the death was in fact a suicide, these families want answers, they want the truth, and they want an avenue to find the truth. I was so concerned with the number of deaths stateside at Fort Hood, I went to Washington D.C. in December 2017 to ask for help and it fell on deaf ears including the office of the chair of the House Armed Services Committee, Mac Thornberry.

Fort Hood Research for Last 5 Years:
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)
Washington D.C. Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (December 12, 2017)
Austin American-Statesman: Vanessa Guillen’s Death Shines Light on More Tragedies at Fort Hood (July 28, 2020)
Stars and Stripes: Why Is Fort Hood the Army’s Most Crime-Ridden Post? (August 21, 2020)

Homicide Cases in Last 5 Years:
Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pvt. Justin Lewis Shot & Killed Near Vacant Lot in Killeen, Texas Neighborhood (April 17, 2017)
Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales Reported AWOL; Based on Anonymous Tip, Remains Found in Shallow Grave in Killeen 10 Months Later (August 19, 2019)
Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Spc. Shelby Jones Died of Gunshot Wound at Mickey’s Convenience Store in Killeen, Texas; Shot at Nearby Night Club (March 1, 2020)
Asia Cline, Army Veteran Shaquan Allred, & Fort Hood Spc. Freddy Delacruz, Jr. Found Shot Dead at Killeen, Texas Apartment; Suspect Arrested (March 14, 2020)
Fort Hood Army Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans Found Fatally Shot Four Miles From Burning Jeep in Harker Heights, Texas; Two Arrested & Charged (May 18, 2020)
An Open Letter to the House of Representatives in Support of an Independent Investigation of the Murder of Vanessa Guillen at Fort Hood (July 7, 2020)

Cases of Significance (homicide has no statute of limitations):
Fort Hood Army Pfc. Melissa Hobart Collapsed and Died From Undetermined Cause While on Guard Duty in Baghdad, Iraq (June 6, 2004)
Fort Hood Army Sgt. William Edwards Killed Estranged Wife Erin Edwards at Killeen, Texas Home; Killed Self in Parking Lot Across Street (July 22, 2004)
Fort Hood Army Pfc. Tina Priest Died From a Non-Combat Related Incident in Iraq; Death Ruled Suicide But Family Suspects Rape and Murder (March 1, 2006)
Fort Hood Army SSG Jeannette Dunn Died of a Non Combat Related Injury in Taji, Iraq (November 26, 2006)
Fort Hood Army Cpl. Christopher Ferguson Died of Undetermined Causes; CID Claimed Death Was Accident; CBS News Reported Suicide (March 25, 2007)
Army Staff Sgt. Paul Norris Fatally Shot Spc. Kamisha Block in Murder-Suicide in Iraq; Family Requests Congressional Hearings & Investigation of Military Leadership (August 16, 2007)
Fort Hood Army Spc. Christine Ndururi Died of Non Combat Illness at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait; Family Claims She Has Not Been Sick (November 6, 2007)
Fort Hood Army Spc. Keisha Morgan Died of Non Combat Related Cause in Baghdad, Iraq; CID Ruled Suicide But Family Suspects Rape and Murder (February 22, 2008)
Fort Hood Army Spc. Seteria Brown Died of a Non-Combat Related Incident in Afghanistan; Army Said Found in Barracks With Gunshot Wound From M-16 (July 25, 2008)
Army SSG Devin Schuette Found Dead in Vehicle at Recreation Area Near Fort Hood; CID Ruled Suicide, Spouse Requests Independent Investigation (January 3, 2016)
Army Sgt. Marcus Nelson Sr. Died While in Custody at Bell County Jail in Belton, Texas; Nelson Held on Charges Stemming from 1st Cavalry Division (May 23, 2016)
On This Day, Eight Army Soldiers & One West Point Cadet Died in a Flash Flood Training Accident at Fort Hood in Texas (June 2, 2016)
Army Pvt. Paige Fontenot Briles Found Unresponsive in Vehicle at Ft Hood Housing in Texas; Despite Suicide Ruling, Family Requests Homicide Investigation (Dec. 24, 2016)
Fort Hood Army CID Special Agent Steven Hines Found Dead Behind Office Building of Apparent Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound, Death Ruled Suicide (February 5, 2017)
Fort Hood Army Spc. Justen Ogden Found Unresponsive at On-Post Home; Family Questions Cause of Death Ruling Claiming “None of It Ever Added Up” (July 11, 2017)
Fort Hood Army Spc. Zachary Moore Died by Suicide While on Deployment to Camp Hovey, South Korea; Delay in Medical Care Contributed to Death (August 2, 2017)
Fort Hood Army MSG Alva ‘Joe’ Gwinn Led Police on High Speed Car Chase After Welfare Check Initiated; Died by Suicide During the Incident (October 12, 2017)
Timeline: Army Sgt. Kelton Sphaler & Army Vet Scott Weinhold Reported Missing at Belton Lake on Ft Hood; After Search Launched, Recovered in Water (January 21, 2019)
Fort Hood Army Spc. Mason Webber Died of Injuries Sustained Conducting Maintenance on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle at Texas Base (September 5, 2019)

Active Duty Military Legislation Recommendations:
Rep. Seth Moulton Introduces The Brandon Act to Change DoD Mental Health Policy, Pay Tribute to Fallen Navy Sailor Brandon Caserta (June 25, 2020)
Senators Cruz, Gillibrand, Grassley Offer Bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act as Amendment to Defense Bill (July 2, 2020)
Chair Jackie Speier NDAA Provisions Address Military Sexual Assault, Intimate Partner Violence, Racial Justice, Ethics, Military Families, and DoD Oversight and Modernization (July 2, 2020)
Speier, Mullin Introduce Bipartisan ‘I Am Vanessa Guillén Act’ to Transform the Military’s Response to Sexual Violence and Missing Servicemembers (September 16, 2020)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members
Report of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee (November 6, 2020)

Fort Hood Army Sgt. Elder Fernandes Found Deceased in Temple, Texas; Death Ruled Suicide by Dallas Medical Examiner (August 25, 2020)

Sgt. Elder Fernandes, U.S. Army

Death of a Fort Hood Soldier: Sgt Elder Fernandes (August 26, 2020):

Sgt. Elder Fernandes, 23, whose home of record is listed as Brockton, Mass., was found [deceased] near Lake Polk in Temple. He entered the Army in September 2016 as a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear specialist and has been assigned to the 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion (CSSB), 1st Sustainment Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division since April 2019. Fernandes’ awards and decorations include the Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon.

Fernandes was last seen in Killeen on Aug 17. When he was reported absent on Aug. 18, Soldiers from his unit initiated a thorough search for him, both on and off post while cooperating with the Killeen Police Department and U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) in an attempt to find him. The unit distributed his photograph, searched motorpools, parking lots, barracks, and headquarters buildings. Members of his unit visited local hotels and hospitals throughout Central Texas trying to find him as they expanded their search efforts.

The unit is cooperating with local authorities from the cities of Killeen and Temple as this incident remains under investigation. The Division will continue to support the Fernandes Family during this difficult time and requests everyone respects their privacy during this time of grief.

Senators Markey and Warren and Rep. Lynch Call for Review of Army Fort Hood to Include Case of Sergeant Elder Fernandes (September 4, 2020):

Massachusetts lawmakers write “evidence suggests that the Army failed to give him the proper support and care that he needed while serving at Fort Hood” Massachusetts (September 4, 2020) – U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (MA-01) today called on the independent review panel investigating the command climate and culture at U.S. Army Base Fort Hood, Texas to include the case of Army Sergeant Elder Fernandes in its review of the base. Sergeant Fernandes, a 23 year-old native of Brockton, Massachusetts who was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, was found dead on August 25 after having gone missing on August 17. Shortly after he was reported missing, public reports revealed that in May of this year Sergeant Fernandes had reported a sexual assault allegation against a member of his chain of command and also became the target of bullying, hazing, and harassment. The Fort Hood independent review panel was created before Sgt. Fernandes’s disappearance, so the Massachusetts lawmakers are asking the panel to ensure it includes his case in the scope of their review and report. 

In their letter, the lawmakers urged the Fort Hood panel to review the following issues: 

  • The circumstances surrounding Sergeant Fernandes’s treatment by commanding officers and peers while serving at Fort Hood, including allegations of sexual assault, bullying, hazing, or harassment; 
  • The adequacy of the investigation conducted by the Army of his reported sexual assault;
  • The circumstances surrounding his disappearance and death, including the Army’s coordination with local and state law enforcement in the search for him after he was reported missing, and;
  • The adequacy of Army’s coordination with and treatment of Sergeant Fernandes’s family, including but not limited to information-sharing during the search for Sergeant Fernandes and in the period after his body was discovered, and the release of his medical, service, and treatment records thereafter.

“Although an Army-led investigation remains ongoing into the cause and circumstances of Sergeant Fernandes’s death, the evidence suggests that the Army failed to give him the proper support and care that he needed while serving at Fort Hood,” write the lawmakers in the their letter. “As you conduct your independent, comprehensive review of Fort Hood, we urge you to consider the facts of Sergeant Fernandes’s case. We will do everything we can to ensure that Sergeant Fernandes receives the justice he deserves, that Army leaders are held accountable, and to prevent harm to any other soldiers at Fort Hood. We stand by, ready to assist in your review in any way possible, and we look forward to seeing your final report.” 

A copy of the letter can be found HERE

Senators Warren and Markey along with Senator John Cornyn (R-Tex.) today sent a bipartisan request to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Ok.) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-R.I.) asking that the Committee hold a public hearing to probe the findings and recommendations of the independent review panel on the command climate and culture at U.S. Army Base Fort Hood, Texas.

In the News:

YouTube:

Missing Fort Hood soldier part of open ‘abuse sexual contact’ investigation
Mother of missing Fort Hood soldier pleads for the public’s help to find him
Family of Sgt. Elder Fernandes met with Fort Hood officials Sunday
Family, friends of missing Fort Hood soldier Elder Fernandes post flyers and search around Killeen
Family has questions | The search for Fort Hood solder Elder Fernandes continues
Fort Hood Commander Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt speaks on missing soldier Elder Fernandes
Fort Hood confirms death of Sgt. Elder Fernandes, says sexual assault allegations were ‘unsubstantiated’
Body Believed To Be Missing Fort Hood Soldier Elder Fernandes Found In Texas
Live: Fort Hood holds press conference on late Sgt. Elder Fernandes
Vigil held for Fort Hood soldier Elder Fernandes
Lynch: ‘Cancer or sickness’ at Fort Hood after local soldier’s death
Death of Sgt. Elder Fernandes shines spotlight on military suicide
Fort Hood soldier’s family doesn’t believe what Army told them about death of Sgt. Elder Fernandes (September 1, 2020)
Brockton family of Fort Hood soldier demands answers after he was found dead off base
Family Demands Justice After Fort Hood Soldier Found Dead
Family, Lawmakers Call For Investigation Into Death Of Fort Hood Soldier
Mother Of Soldier Who Died At Fort Hood Speaks Out About Loss

Related Links:
Remembering Sgt. Elder Fernandes | U.S. Army Fort Hood
Another Fort Hood soldier goes missing, this time ‘of his own accord’
Another Fort Hood soldier, Elder Fernandes, is missing. The Army asks for help.
Brockton Soldier Elder Fernandes, Who Reported Sexual Abuse, Is Missing From Fort Hood
Missing Fort Hood soldier was victim in ‘abusive sexual contact’ investigation, Army says
Missing Fort Hood soldier part of open ‘abuse sexual contact’ investigation
Fort Hood Soldier Gone Missing After Reporting Sexual Abuse
Missing Fort Hood soldier reported sexual abuse months before disappearance, Army official says
A 23-year-old Fort Hood soldier who has been missing for a week had reported sexual abuse before his disappearance
Fort Hood Soldier Reported Being Sexually Abused Before Vanishing 1 Week Ago
Army, police searching for missing Fort Hood soldier Elder Fernandes
Army Asks for Help in Search for Another Missing Ft. Hood Soldier
Fort Hood: Foul play not suspected in Fernandes disappearance
No foul play suspected in case of missing Fort Hood soldier
Family of Sgt. Elder Fernandes meets with Fort Hood officials Sunday
Search party combs Killeen neighborhood for missing soldier
Elder Fernandes: Body found in search for missing soldier
Attorney: Missing Fort Hood soldier’s body found in Texas
Army confirms that a missing Fort Hood soldier has been found dead
Missing Brockton soldier who disappeared from Fort Hood found dead
Body Of Missing Fort Hood Soldier Elder Fernandes Found A Week After Disappearance
The Body Of Missing Fort Hood Soldier Elder Fernandes Was Found Hanging From A Tree
Fort Hood soldier, 23, found hanged was ‘humiliated’ after reporting he was sexually assaulted by male superior, which led him to be bullied, harassed, and hazed when news spread around the base, his family’s lawyer says
Fort Hood Sgt. Elder Fernandes ‘humiliated’ after reporting sexual abuse, says family’s lawyer
Family of Fort Hood soldier demands answers after body found in Texas, attorney says
Body of missing Fort Hood soldier Elder Fernandes given plane-side honors in Boston
Body of Brockton native, Fort Hood soldier Sgt. Elder Fernandes returns home
Body of Sgt. Elder Fernandes, 23-year-old Brockton native found near Fort Hood, returns to Massachusetts
Funeral held for Brockton soldier who went missing from Fort Hood
Fort Hood soldier believed dead was happy until recently, family says
Family of Fort Hood Soldier Found Dead Demands Congress Investigate
Fort Hood leaders have ‘blood on their hands’ in death of missing soldier, family attorney says
Missing Fort Hood Soldier Elder Fernandes Reportedly Died by Suicide
Fort Hood soldier Elder Fernandes died by suicide, medical examiner finds
Fort Hood Soldier Elder Fernandes Died From Suicide, Autopsy Reportedly Says
Marchers Demand Answers in Death of Brockton Soldier Who Reported Sexual Assault
‘This is a very bad situation’: Mass. lawmakers paint grim picture of Fort Hood, after death of Sgt. Elder Fernandes
Fort Hood soldier’s family claims Army never investigated his computers; mystery now left behind in devices
Soldier’s family doubts what Army says about his death; Fort Hood’s commander removed from position
Fort Hood soldier was still alive days after he disappeared, raising possibility that suicide could have been prevented, reports show
Family of Fort Hood sergeant questions Army’s effort to find him before he died
Fort Hood: What we know about 12 soldiers missing, slain or killed in accidents since January
Senators Markey and Warren and Rep. Lynch Call for Review of Army Fort Hood to Include Case of Sergeant Elder Fernandes

Stars and Stripes: Why is Fort Hood the Army’s Most Crime-Ridden Post? (August 21, 2020)

#IAmVanessaGuillen

by Rose Thayer

Keeping Track

“In the last five years, 165 soldiers assigned to Fort Hood have died, according to the Fort Hood Public Affairs Office, which regularly released information on soldiers’ death until a 2018 decision to stop the practice. The post was an outlier in this level of transparency.

In those years, seven soldiers died by homicide, while six died in a combat zone. The deaths of 70 soldiers were ruled suicides, and on- and off-base accidents resulted in the deaths of 60 soldiers.”

(Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present) *we missed close to 25 deaths because Fort Hood stopped issuing press releases for the death of soldiers in early 2018)

Asking for a Solution

Air Force veteran Jennifer Norris believes Fort Hood’s current situation has been years in the making.

For the past decade, Norris, a trained social worker with a master’s degree in public policy, has been tracking crimes committed by and against service members and advocating for reform. She posts her research on her website, Military Justice for All.

She first focused her research on several large military bases, but after noticing a trend of Fort Hood deaths, Norris narrowed her efforts to the Texas post.

‘I didn’t set up to go after Fort Hood at all. It’s a compilation of systematic issues,’ she said.

At the end of 2017, Norris used her own money to travel from her home in Maine to Washington to meet with lawmakers. By the time she got home, Norris said she thought everyone had moved on without intending to address the problems.

‘The other bases are nothing like Fort Hood is right now,’ she said. ‘I think the anomaly with Fort Hood is that its isolated and that it’s such an economic powerhouse in the community that it’s in everybody’s best interest to protect it so they can protect themselves.’”

(Washington D.C. Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of the Armed Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (December 12, 2017))

Read more here: Why is Fort Hood the Army’s most crime-ridden post?

Related Links:
Fort Hood Army Staff Sgt. Paul Norris Fatally Shot Spc. Kamisha Block in Murder-Suicide in Iraq; Family Calls for Congressional Hearings & Independent Investigations (August 16, 2007)
Air Force TSgt. Jennifer Norris Testified Before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington DC (January 23, 2013)
Gillibrand: The Military Justice Improvement Act Would Give Service Members a Justice System That Works (July 1, 2019)
Rep. Seth Moulton Introduces The Brandon Act to Change DoD Mental Health Policy, Pay Tribute to Fallen Navy Sailor Brandon Caserta (June 25, 2020)
Open Letter to House of Representatives in Support of an Independent Investigation of the Murder of Vanessa Guillen at Fort Hood (July 7, 2020)
Austin American-Statesman: Vanessa Guillen’s Death Shines Light on More Tragedies at Fort Hood (July 28, 2020)

Austin American-Statesman: Vanessa Guillen’s Death Shines Light on More Tragedies at Fort Hood (July 28, 2020)

“While investigators searched for Spc. Vanessa Guillen, the skeletal remains of Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales were found near Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas. His mother, Kim Wedel, wishes investigators looked for her son like they did Guillen. He had been missing for ten months. Once former Fort Hood soldier Jorgina Butler read about the disappearance and death of Guillen, she said it returned her to the night she was sexually by a staff sergeant in 2009. On July 29, 2020, lawmakers plan to hold a congressional hearing in Washington D.C. focused on the review of Fort Hood’s handling of sexual misconduct in the wake of a national outcry for justice for Guillen and her family.” –Austin American-Statesman (July 28, 2020)

Statesman Tweet Fort Hood

Retweet the Austin-American Statesman here.

Fort Hood soldiers say ‘Great Place’ also known for violence, mistreatment (Austin American-Statesman, July 30, 2020)

However, the lack of historical violent crime data from the post has not stopped one military veteran from tracking it on her own.

Jennifer Norris, who served in the U.S. Air Force, researches and writes about Fort Hood crime on her blog, “Military Justice for All.”

Norris, who said she was sexually assaulted by one of her supervisors in the military, switched from only researching sexual assaults to also delving into non-combat deaths of service members in recent years.

Norris set up Google alerts for new stories about deaths in and around military installations, thinking that one day she could prove to Congress that some deaths were related to sexual assault or harassment.

Norris said her data for Fort Hood shows that 138 of its soldiers have died stateside since 2016. Not counting Guillen, three of the deaths this year were determined to be homicides.

Haug said he could not confirm the number Norris provided, adding that the size of Fort Hood, spread across 218,000 acres in southwestern Bell and southeastern Coryell counties in Central Texas, should be taken into account when looking at violent crime.

He said it’s about the size of New York City, with 36,500 soldiers assigned to it with more than 100,000 family members. By comparison, the average Air Force base only has 5,000 personnel assigned to it, he said.

Norris took particular interest in Fort Hood after a pattern emerged while interviewing families of slain soldiers there. Many of those families felt the Army had not properly investigated or searched for their loved ones after their disappearance, she said.

“And the stories are still coming in.”

Read more from the Austin American-Statesman here. (MJFA added links)

Fort Hood Stats

In the last 4 years from January 2016 to present, Fort Hood on average lost 36 soldiers a year. If you divide 36 by 12 months, that’s an average of 3 soldiers a month. We must find out WHY so we can prevent these untimely deaths and save the precious lives and futures of these mostly young soldiers. The average age at time of death is 28 years old and each death has a ripple effect on the families, friends, and communities left behind.  

Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present) | Military Justice for All

Unsolved Cases Fort Hood

Unsolved Homicides: Justin Lewis, Cleveland Lewis, Gregory Wedel-Morales, Shelby Jones, Shaquan Allred, Freddy Delacruz Jr., and Brandon Rosecrans

Seven Unsolved Homicide Cases Affiliated with Fort Hood (January 1, 2016 to Present) | Military Justice for All

Jensen and Holes

Billy Jensen & Paul Holes of The Murder Squad released a must listen to podcast about the issues at Fort Hood. They made a great case for the improvement of sexual harassment, sexual assault, missing persons cases, and murder investigations. They also asked us to sign the petitions for Vanessa Guillen and LaVena Johnson. (Source: Jensen & Holes)

The Murder Squad Podcast: The Murder of Vanessa Guillen and the Unsolved Homicides of Fort Hood (July 6, 2020) | Military Justice for All

Brian Lewis MJIA

“The Military Justice Improvement Act would take the prosecution of sexual assault and other serious crimes, such as murder, out of the chain of command. It would keep those crimes in the military justice system, but put the decision to prosecute them into the hands of actual military prosecutors who are trained to deal with complex legal issues.” –Senator Kirsten Gillbrand (Military Times, July 1, 2019)

Gillibrand: The Military Justice Improvement Act Would Give Service Members a Justice System That Works (July 1, 2019) | Military Justice for All

Related Links:
Vanessa Guillen’s death shines light on more tragedies at Fort Hood (Source)
Fort Hood soldiers say ‘Great Place’ also known for violence, mistreatment (Austin American-Statesman, July 30, 2020)
7 soldiers have died in the Fort Hood area this year  | Task and Purpose
Here’s what we know about eight of the soldiers who have died this year at Fort Hood
Air Force TSgt. Jennifer Norris Testified Before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington DC (January 23, 2013)
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present) | Military Justice for All
Washington D.C. Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (December 12, 2017) | Military Justice for All
Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales Reported AWOL; Based on Anonymous Tip, Remains Found in Shallow Grave in Killeen 10 Months Later (August 19, 2019)
Seven Unsolved Homicide Cases Affiliated with Fort Hood (January 1, 2016 to Present)
The Murder Squad Podcast: The Murder of Vanessa Guillen and the Unsolved Homicides of Fort Hood (July 6, 2020)
Gillibrand: The Military Justice Improvement Act Would Give Service Members a Justice System That Works (July 1, 2019)
Rep Speier to Chair Hearing on the Military’s #MeToo Moment, Sparked by SPC Vanessa Guillén (July 29, 2020)
LIVE: Hearing on Military Sexual Harassment (Washington D.C.)

MJFA on Social:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/militaryjusticeforall
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/military_crime
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/@military_crime
Email: militaryjusticeforall@gmail.com

Salute to Fallen Foundation Honors Army Spc. Mason Webber; Vinton Today is First Publication to Honor & Acknowledge the Fort Hood Fallen (July 20, 2020)

Dear Vinton Today,

We want to personally thank you for not only honoring Spc. Mason Webber in your publication but for also acknowledging all of the Fort Hood Fallen since January 1, 2016. It means a lot to us and to the families that their loved ones have been recognized and that our fellow Americans care about all the men and women who have lost their lives while stationed at Fort Hood. We appreciate you.

Read more from Vinton Today here: Salute to the Fallen honors SPC Mason Webber with Motorcycle Ride (July 20, 2020)

Fort Hood Fallen

Click here for original source.

January 2016
1/3: Devin Schuette, 35, U.S. Army (found dead at BLORA near post, death ruled suicide, family wants independent investigation, suspicious death)
1/5: Jonathan “Mike” Gilotti, 33, U.S. Army Veteran (homicide victim, Alabama)
1/16: Troy Wayman, 45, U.S. Army (officer found dead, ruled suicide, Nolanville)

March 2016
3/6: Sean Van Der Wal, 25, U.S. Army (fatal auto accident off post, manslaughter)
3/14: Brian Reed, 40, U.S. Army (found dead w/ gunshot wound off post)
3/20: Andrew Poznick, 45, U.S. Army (officer found dead in Pennsylvania)
3/22: Steven Lewis, 33, U.S. Army (died of self-inflicted wound off post)

May 2016
5/1: John Stobbe, 31, U.S. Army (found dead off post, cause of death unknown)
5/9: Ellsworth Raup, 33, U.S. Army (fatal motorcycle accident off post)
5/23: Marcus Nelson, 45, U.S. Army (died while in pre-trial confinement at local jail)

June 2016
6/2: Christine Armstrong, 27, U.S. Army (died in flood water training incident on post)
6/2: Brandon Banner, 22, U.S. Army (died in flood water training incident on post)
6/2: Miguel Colonvazquez, 38, U.S. Army (died in flood water training incident on post)
6/2: Isaac Deleon, 19, U.S. Army (died in flood water training incident on post)
6/2: Zachery Fuller, 23, U.S. Army (died in flood water training incident on post)
6/2: Eddy Gates, 20, U.S. Army (died in flood water training incident on post)
6/2: Tysheena James, 21, U.S. Army (died in flood water training incident on post)
6/2: Yingming Sun, 25, U.S. Army (died in flood water training incident on post)
6/2: Mitchell Winey, 21, U.S. Military Academy (died in flood water training incident on post)
6/5: Antino Glass, 34, U.S. Army (fatal motorcycle accident on post)
6/6: Bernardino Guevara Jr., 21, U.S. Army (died of gunshot wound on post)
6/8: Duane Shaw, 34, U.S. Army (found dead in off post home in Killeen)
6/11: Dougal Mitchell, 32, U.S. Army (fatal automobile accident off post)

July 2016
7/12: Alexander Johnson, 21, U.S. Army (found dead at BLORA near post, cod unknown)

August 2016
8/1: Logan Rainwater, 24, U.S. Army (fatal motorcycle accident off post, Killeen)
8/4: Calvin Aguilar, 32, U.S. Army (found dead off post, cod unknown)
8/19: Dion Servant, 24, U.S. Army (found dead on post, cod unknown)

September 2016
9/10: Stacy Hardy, 20, U.S. Army (died of injuries sustained after a high-speed motorcycle crash while fleeing from the the Killeen Police Department)
9/13: Andrew Hunt, 23, U.S. Army (officer found dead at on post residence, cod unknown)
9/17: Nathan Berg, 20, U.S. Army (died of gunshot wound off post)

October 2016
10/7: Bradley Acker, 25, U.S. Army (death was self-inflicted at off post residence)
10/15: Douglas Bailey, 24, U.S. Army (found dead at on post residence, cod unknown)
10/19: Douglas Riney, 26, U.S. Army (ambushed by lone gunman in Afghanistan Army uniform)

November 2016
11/3: Dakota Stump, 19, U.S. Army (found dead on post 3 weeks after went missing, cod single vehicle accident, suspicious death, family wants ‘Missing Warrior Alert’ law)
11/10: Daniel Monibe, 32, U.S. Army (died of medical illness off post)
11/12: Tyler Iubelt, 20, U.S. Army (suicide Bomber on base, Afghanistan)
11/12: John Perry, 30, U.S. Army (suicide Bomber on base, Afghanistan)
11/16: Kevin Paulino, 24, U.S. Army (died of self-inflicted gunshot wound in Indiana)
11/18: Korey James, 21, U.S. Army (found unresponsive in off post home, cod unknown)
11/26: Wanya Bruns, 20, U.S. Army (died of gunshot wound off-post)

December 2016
12/6: Allan Brown, 46, U.S. Army (suicide Bomber on base, Afghanistan)
12/24: Paige Fontenot Briles, 21, U.S. Army (found dead in vehicle at on post family housing, suspicious death, family wants case investigated as a homicide)

January 2017
1/1: Kai Yancey, 26, U.S. Army (died after complications from short illness)
1/2: Randal Anderson, 22, U.S. Army (died of gunshot wound off-post, Killeen)
1/7: Barron Von Reichelt, 24, U.S. Army (fatal auto accident on South Range Rd on post)
1/11: Alex Taylor, 23, U.S. Army (death ruled suicide, found dead at place of duty on post)
1/12: Zackary Partin, 24, U.S. Army (found dead in barracks room on post, cod unknown)

February 2017
2/5: Steven Hines, 29, U.S. Army (death ruled suicide, CID Agent found dead at place of duty on post after media exposes bizarre cluster of suicides & accidents on post)
2/6: Christie Anderson, 44, U.S. Army (found dead at off post residence, cod unknown)
2/17: Michael Garcia, 29, U.S. Army (died in vehicle training accident at Fort Irwin NTC)
2/18: Sean Callahan, 31, U.S. Army (passed away unexpectedly in Iowa, cod unknown)
2/21: Brian Odiorne, 21, U.S. Army (non combat death in Iraq, death ruled suicide by CID)
2/27: Andre Nance, 34, U.S. Army (found dead on post at Fort Rucker, AL, cod unknown)

March 2017
3/26: Jonathan Garcia, 29, U.S. Army (fatal motorcycle accident off post, Harker Heights)

April 2017
4/7: Daniel Wildeman, 40, U.S. Army (found dead on post in barracks, cod unknown)
4/11: Darius Cooper, 40, U.S. Army (declared dead by board of inquiry after missing for two months, vehicle swept away in low water crossing on post)
4/16: David Ananou, 30, U.S. Army (death by apparent drowning at Belton Lake)
4/17: Justin Lewis, 19, U.S. Army (fatally shot near vacant lot in Killeen neighborhood, unsolved homicide)

May 2017
5/5: Travis Granger, 29, U.S. Army Veteran (fatal gunshot wound, ruled homicide)
5/14: Jon Bullard, 40, U.S. Army (found unresponsive at off post residence in Temple, died next day)

June 2017
6/15: Devon Tucker, 21, U.S. Army (found unresponsive at off post residence in Copperas Cove)

July 2017
7/3: Anthony Lovell, 40, U.S. Army (multiple blunt force injuries, death ruled motorcycle accident by Killeen PD & Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences)
7/11: Justen Ogden, 22, U.S. Army (death ruled suicide by self-inflicted gunshot wound, found at on post home, family claims circumstances surrounding death don’t add up)
7/14: James Smith, 24, U.S. Army (fatal motorcycle accident off post, under investigation)
7/26: Deangelo Mathis, 22, U.S. Army (found unresponsive in Georgia)

August 2017
8/2: Zachary Moore, 23, U.S. Army (death ruled suicide in S. Korea, an investigation revealed the Army was not able to get qualified medical help in a timely fashion)

September 2017
9/12: Sean Devoy, 28, U.S. Army (died in fall during helicopter hoist training at Fort Hood)

October 2017
10/5: Derrick Walker, 40, U.S. Army (died of a long-term illness)
10/7: Michael Wolfe, 33, U.S. Army (passed away unexpectedly in Arizona)
10/12: Alva Gwinn, 39, U.S. Army (shot self after ‘wellness check’ & high speed pursuit with Killeen PD)
10/12: Angel BenitezQuinones, 32, U.S. Army (found unresponsive on post)
10/14: Sameer Chalise, 28, U.S. Army (died due to injuries while swimming with friends)
10/14: John Hatfield, 27, U.S. Army (died of a gunshot wound off-post in Killeen)
10/18: Luke Toomey, 21, U.S. Army (found unresponsive at off-post residence in Copperas Cove)

January 2018
1/6: Mark Boner, 43, Indiana Army National Guard (Army: ‘It’s unclear at this time what led to his death’)
1/8: Javion Sullivan, 24, U.S. Army (non-combat related incident, Iraq)
1/18: Tyler Compton, 21, U.S. Army (found unresponsive at off-post residence in Harker Heights)

February 2018
2/5: Tyler Gabriel, 22, U.S. Army veteran (medical, lost his battle with addiction)
2/6: John Funderburk Jr., 24, U.S. Army (medical, died from a terminal illness in Irving)

March 2018
3/1: Colton Vassar, 29, U.S. Army (found unresponsive at on-post residence)
3/3: Devon Wulff, 23, U.S. Army (found unresponsive at on-post residence)
3/26: Aigner Certaine, 24, U.S. Army (found unresponsive at off-post residence, Killeen)
3/30: Cameron Macias, 21, U.S. Army (unknown, passed away while stationed at Fort Hood)

(FORT HOOD STOPPED ISSUING PRESS RELEASES NOTIFYING THE PUBLIC OF THE DEATH OF A SOLDIER)

April 2018
4/6: Samson Johnson, 20, U.S. Army (passed away while stationed at Fort Hood, cod unknown)

May 2018
5/3: Dismas Dillree, 54, U.S. Army (medical, cancer)
5/27: Brian Slawson, 40, U.S. Army (passed away while stationed at Fort Hood, cod unknown)

June 2018
6/29: Kevin M. Brown, 38, U.S. Army (passed away unexpectedly while stationed at Fort Hood, cod unknown)

July 2018
7/30: Timothy Jurgens, 19, U.S. Army (died by suicide according to the family)

August 2018
8/4: Cleveland Lewis, 33, U.S. Army veteran (fatally shot in front of home in Killeen, Texas neighborhood, unsolved homicide)

September 2018
9/2: Lewis Davies, 20, U.S. Army (unknown, passed away while stationed at Fort Hood)
9/11: Richard Ramirez, 36, U.S. Army (unknown, passed away while stationed at Fort Hood)
9/15: Jason Decker, 23, U.S. Army (unknown, passed away while stationed at Fort Hood)
9/17: Jose Lamas, U.S. Army (unknown, passed away while stationed at Fort Hood)
9/17: Michael Vanlandingham, 30, U.S. Army veteran (shot & killed in Copperas Cove, Dana Francis Walcott, Jr & Owen Thomas Free III guilty of capital murder, drug related)
9/23: Albert Christian, U.S. Army (exact date of death unknown, unknown cause of death, passed away while stationed at Fort Hood)
9/25: Justin Justice, 36, U.S. Army (unknown, passed away while stationed at Fort Hood)

October 2018
10/13: Abhiraj Singh, 22, U.S. Army (unknown, passed away while stationed at Fort Hood)
10/14: Jose Ayabarreno, 43, U.S. Army (unknown, passed away in San Antonio, Texas)

November 2018
11/8: Jacob Casebolt, 21, U.S. Army (died in tactical vehicle rollover accident at Fort Hood)
11/20: Craig Noble, 51, U.S. Navy veteran (civilian found dead in vicinity of BLORA, Fort Hood)

December 2018
12/14: Terrell Coleman, 25, U.S. Army (passed away at medical center in Temple, Texas)
12/26: Kameryn Lopez, 21, U.S. Army (died by suicide according to the family)

January 2019
1/12: Cody Wilshusen, 25, U.S. Army (died in a fatal auto accident in New Mexico)
1/13: Andrew Ortega, 32, U.S. Army (died in training accident at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany)
1/14: Octavious Lakes, Jr, 22, U.S. Army (died in a tactical vehicle accident at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California)
1/22: Kelton Sphaler, 25, U.S. Army (died in an apparent boating accident at BLORA)

February 2019
2/5: Scott Weinhold, 25, U.S. Army veteran (died in an apparent boating accident at BLORA)
2/6: Caden Shunk, 21, U.S. Army (died in motorcycle crash trying to elude Killeen PD)
2/15: Cassandra Perez, 19, U.S. Army (struck & killed while standing outside her stalled vehicle in Edinburg, Texas, alleged drunk driver Edward Magallan officially charged w/ manslaughter)
2/23: James Hawley, U.S. Army (passed away according to Fort Hood Fallen, official date & cause of death unknown)

March 2019
3/12: Max Whitwell, 23, U.S. Army (found unresponsive & pronounced dead at Darnall Army Medical Center)
3/29: Erica Atkinson, 35, U.S. Army (found dead in parking lot on post, official cause of death unknown)
3/31: Nathan Ellard, 20, U.S. Army (both drivers died in a head-on vehicle crash in Hearne, Texas after Ellard crossed the center line)

April 2019
4/24: Tylor Hubert, 24, U.S. Army (died by suicide according to the family)

May 2019
5/1: Benjamin Hunt, 35, US Army (passed away, official location & cause of death unknown)
5/11: Tyler Groves, 21, U.S. Army (died in a single vehicle accident near Nolan Creek in Nolanville)
5/18: Ryan Brandon, 24, U.S. Army (died after motorcycle collided into the rear of a parked pickup truck in Harker Heights)

June 2019
6/25: James Johnston, 24, U.S. Army (died of wounds sustained from small arms fire while engaged in combat operations, Afghanistan)

July 2019
7/6: Edwin Brown Jr., 22, U.S. Army (died in a motorcycle accident, Killeen)
7/21: Virgil Robinson, 26, U.S. Army (drowned after falling from a float at Temple Lake Park on Lake Belton)
7/29: Colton Drye, 22, U.S. Air Force (car crash on highway near Walcott, Iowa)

August 2019
8/13: Corry Willis, 31, U.S. Army Veteran (according to obituary, fought a brave battle against PTSD, Killeen)
8/15: Andrew St. John, 29, Indiana Army National Guard (died in a military training accident at Fort Hood)
8/19: Gregory Wedel-Morales, 23, U.S. Army (anonymous tip led to the location of a body in a shallow grave in Killeen after CID offered $25,000 reward, unsolved homicide)

September 2019
9/5: Mason Webber, 22, U.S. Army (died of injuries sustained conducting maintenance)
9/19: Jose Antonio Pabon Jr., 37, U.S. Army (passed away, Killeen, cause of death unknown)

October 2019
10/22: Rodney Hagan, 32, U.S. Army (suicide was likely the cause of death)

November 2019
11/4: Anthony Gowler, 31, U.S. Army (official cause of death is unknown)
11/6: Nicholas Panipinto, 20, U.S. Army (died of injuries sustained in roll-over, Korea)
11/20: Logan Castello, 21, U.S. Army (died by suicide according to family)
11/20: Kirk Fuchigami Jr., 25, U.S. Army (died in a helicopter crash, Afghanistan)
11/20: David Knadle, 33, U.S. Army (died in a helicopter crash, Afghanistan)

February 2020
2/1: Eric Hogan, 19, U.S. Army (died after car accident, Highway 195 in Williamson County)
2/1: Anthony Peak Jr., 21, U.S. Army (died after car accident, Highway 195 in Williamson County)

March 2020
3/1: Shelby Tyler Jones, 20, U.S. Army (gunshot wound, Killeen, unsolved homicide)
3/5: Christopher Sawyer, 29, U.S. Army (found unresponsive at on-post residence)
3/5: Raul Torrez, 24, U.S. Army (passed away while stationed at Fort Hood, Texas)
3/11: Juan Covarrubias, 27, U.S. Army (died when engaged by enemy indirect fire, Iraq)
3/14: Shaquan Allred, 23, U.S. Army veteran (gunshot wounds, Killeen, unsolved homicide)
3/14: Freddy Delacruz Jr., 23, U.S. Army (gunshot wounds, Killeen, unsolved homicide)
3/20: Brandon Brown, 34, U.S. Army Veteran (Harker Heights PD ruled death as suicide by self inflicted gunshot wound, family seeks answers regarding death investigation)
3/23: Michael Wardrobe, 22, U.S. Army veteran (homicide, Spc. Jovino Roy charged)
3/25: Victor D’Onofrio, 22, U.S. Army (died at Fort Hood, cause of death unknown)
3/30: John David Randolph Hilty, 44, U.S. Army (died of a non-combat related incident, Iraq)

April 2020
4/22: Vanessa Guillen, 20, U.S. Army (homicide, murdered at work on post by co-worker, motive: she had knowledge that now deceased Aaron Robinson was having an affair with a married woman Cecily Aguilar, he killed her to silence her and protect his career)

May 2020
5/18: Brandon Rosecrans, 27, U.S. Army (gunshot wound, Harker Heights, unsolved homicide)

Source: Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)

Open Letter to House of Representatives in Support of an Independent Investigation of the Murder of Vanessa Guillen at Fort Hood (July 7, 2020)

Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present): https://wp.me/p3XTUi-5oF

Dear Rep. Jared Golden,

I write to you as a victim of crime in the military and as a military crime historian. I have researched the US military’s crime problems for the last 10 years and have documented as much as humanly possible on my Military Justice for All website. I have over 1000 cases of suspicious deaths, homicide and missing cases. Fort Hood has been problematic for years. I visited both Senator Collins and Senator King in DC to warn them about the problems at Fort Hood in December 2017 and to ask them for their help. It fell on deaf ears. Much like Vanessa Guillen, I too was afraid to report sexual harassment and sexual assault for fear of retaliation. I didn’t report until my supervisor in the Chain of Command attempted to force himself on me. Prior to this incident, I experienced daily sexual harassment and he would give me assignments that isolated me so he could do it with no witnesses.

Rep. Sylvia Garcia is asking that the DoD IG do an investigation of the circumstances that led up to the murder of Vanessa Guillen at Fort Hood. I am asking you to support her and all of our service members by adding your name to the list of representatives who support these efforts. Fort Hood leadership has failed time and time again and it’s due time that someone take a look at this problematic base. It’s a sad day when we lose 133 servicemembers stateside to violent crime, suicide, and training accidents compared to 2 combat deaths and 4 insider attacks overseas since 2016.

I also ask that you support legislation such as the Military Justice Improvement Act to give our service members a chance to report unsafe situations to an independent authority outside the Chain of Command. As long as service members are fearful of retaliation (which is very real and the reason I have compounded PTSD), we will continue to see high rates of PTSD, murder and suicide on military bases. According to authorities, Vanessa Guillen was murdered because she was planning on reporting someone she worked with for adultery, and this same individual may also have been sexually harassing her. It is unclear at this time who sexually harassed her but she told her family she was scared and feared reporting the sexual harassment to the Chain of Command because it wasn’t taken seriously and she feared retaliation.

Over the years, I have realized that most don’t realize what it’s like to be enlisted and this still rings true. Imagine how powerless we feel as lower enlisted when someone higher ranking than us can literally get away with crime because they are part of the reporting mechanism or they simply don’t care. While Congress sits on their hands, veterans are flocking to the VA to file PTSD claims and military families are grieving the loss of their loved ones whether it be by murder or suicide. I understand why someone might take their own life when they feel trapped and have no way out.

Please do the right thing and support Rep. Garcia, Rep. Speier and Senator Gillibrand.

Sincerely,

Air Force Veteran

Rep Sylvia Garcia

Find your Representative here.

The Murder Squad Podcast: The Murder of Vanessa Guillen and the Unsolved Homicides of Fort Hood (July 6, 2020)

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The Murder Squad Podcast

“In this episode, Billy and Paul will delve into the eight cases of unsolved homicides and unknown causes of death of soldiers from the base. And with the help of Murder Squad listeners, they take a closer look at how the US Army investigates sexual assault, sexual harassment and missing persons amidst their ranks—including the cases of Vanessa Guillen and LaVena Johnson.”

Listen to Episode 57: The Murder of Vanessa Guillen and the Unsolved Homicides of Fort Hood from The Murder Squad Podcast here.

Petitions:
Reopen the investigation of LaVena Johnson’s death
HOLD THE US ARMY ACCOUNTABLE: Justice for Vanessa Guillen

Related Links:
The Murder of Vanessa Guillen and the Unsolved Homicides of Fort Hood
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)
Seven Unsolved Homicide Cases Affiliated with Fort Hood (January 1, 2016 to Present)
Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson Died of Non Combat Related Injuries in Iraq; Death Ruled Suicide But Independent Investigation Revealed Rape & Murder (July 19, 2005)
Federal Criminal Complaint for Cecily Ann Aguilar, U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas (July 2, 2020)