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)

Donny Walker Show: Update on Fort Hood Investigations, Federal Government Cold Case Policy, and The Kamisha Block Bill (October 6, 2020)

Please listen to the October 6, 2020 Donny Walker show with Jen Norris here.

Related Links:
Jen Norris | The Donny Walker Show (August 25, 2020)
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)
HASC Congressional Investigation of Fort Hood: Research Reveals Pattern of Suspicious Deaths and Cover-up (September 11, 2020)
Attorney General William P. Barr Launches National Strategy to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (November 22, 2019)
Swalwell and McCaul Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Give More Rights to Families of Homicide Victims in Federal Cases (Septemer 30, 2020)
Corruption without justice in the military | Facebook
The WatchMen Texas | Facebook
Vets for the People | Facebook

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

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

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

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
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Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/@military_crime
Email: militaryjusticeforall@gmail.com

Fort Hood Army Sgt. 1st Class John David Randolph Hilty Died of a Non-Combat Related Incident in Erbil, Iraq (March 30, 2020)

Sgt. 1st Class John David Randolph Hilty, U.S. Army

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. Sgt. 1st Class John David Randolph Hilty, 44, from Bowie, Maryland, died March 30, 2020 in Erbil, Iraq, of a non-combat related incident. The incident is under investigation. Hilty was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

Sgt. 1st Class John David Randolph Hilty entered the Army in April 1999 as an Army combat engineer. His most recent military occupational specialty was petroleum supply specialist. Hilty’s deployments include three tours to Afghanistan from January 2009 to December 2009, January 2012 to December 2012, October 2016 to October 2017 and most recently to Iraq in October 2019.

John Hilty (Facebook)

Related Links:
DOD Identifies Army Casualty (April 1, 2020)
Death of a Fort Hood Soldier | John Hilty
Fort Hood: Soldier dies in Iraq
Fort Hood soldier dies in Iraq
Fort Hood soldier dies in Iraq
Soldier from Bowie dies in Iraq
Fort Hood: Soldier dies in Iraq
Fort Hood soldier killed Monday is identified
Bowie Man Dies Serving With US Army In Iraq
Non-Combat, Non-CoVid Death of Soldier in Erbil, Iraq
Army soldier dies in Iraq, identified as Maryland native
Pentagon IDs Soldier Who Died During Iraq Deployment
DoD identifies soldier killed in non-combat incident in Iraq
Pentagon IDs Soldier Who Died During Iraq Deployment
Army sgt. 1st class who died in non-combat incident identified
Fort Hood soldier dies in non-combat related incident in Iraq
‘He was an exceptional leader’ | Soldier from Bowie, Md. dies in Iraq
Fort Hood-based soldier’s death is seventh for coalition in Iraq this year
Bowie resident dies in Iraq supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, incident was not combat-related
Gold Star Father Talks Of Isolation On Memorial Day During Pandemic
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)

Army Pfc. Jason Decker Died of Unspecified Medical Condition While Stationed at Fort Hood, Texas (September 15, 2018)

Pfc. Jason Decker, U.S. Army

Obituary: Pfc. Jason Matthew Decker, U.S. Army, age 25, of Slidell, LA, passed away on Saturday, September 15, 2018. Beloved husband of Emily Fuller Decker. Survived by his grandparents, who nurtured and raised him from birth, Buddy and Colette Decker, his birth mother Lacey Smith, his birth father, Adam Galloway. Brother of Madison Lara, Rylee Lara, Taylor Galloway, Megan Galloway, Matthew Galloway. Also survived by many Aunt’s, uncles, nieces, nephews, and friends. Jason was born in Slidell where he graduated from Slidell High school in 2011. Jason was an avid outdoorsman, loved baseball and his family. He will be greatly missed and remain in our hearts forever. 

In the News:

A grieving father on his way to bury his son rushed to officer Jason Seals’ side after the crash. -WWLTV (September 26, 2018)

Related Links:
Obituary: Jason Decker, U.S. Army
Obituary: Jason Decker, U.S. Army
PFC Jason Matthew Decker – U.S. ARMY
Obituary: Jason Matthew Decker (Killeen Daily Herald)
Paramedic jumps out of son’s funeral procession to help seriously injured officer
Grieving father broke off from son’s funeral procession to aid wounded officer
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (2016 to Present)
Salute to Fallen Foundation Honors Army Spc. Mason Webber; Vinton Today is First Publication to Honor & Acknowledge the Fort Hood Fallen (July 20, 2020)

Army Soldier Timothy Jurgens Passed Away While Stationed at Fort Hood, Texas; Family Reports Death by Suicide (July 30, 2018)

Timothy Jurgens

Timothy Jurgens, U.S. Army

Obituary: “Timothy James “TJ” Jurgens passed away July 30, 2018 in Fort Hood, Texas. TJ was born July 5, 1999 in Effingham, Illinois. He is survived by his parents Thad and Tommi Jurgens of Golconda, IL, his brothers Hunter (Katie) Jurgens of Jasper, Indiana, Lane Jurgens of Litchfield, IL and one sister Josie Jurgens of Golconda, IL. He is also survived by his grandparents Carol and John Sheehan of Teutopolis, IL, Tom and Tammy Logsdon of St. Elmo, IL, Greg and Elaine Lilly of Mode, IL, Paul and Doris McConkey of Brownstown, IL, great-grandparents Marilyn Logsdon of St. Elmo, Lydia Hemrich of Effingham. TJ was preceded in death by his grandfather Harold “Tubby” Jurgens, his uncle Louis Jurgens, great grandfather William “Bill” Logsdon, and great grandparents Arthur and Ruth Forbes. TJ was a 2017 graduate of Pope County High School, and enlisted in the US Army before graduation. He enjoyed music and drama club in high school, as he loved to make people laugh. No one laughed harder than him, he was a joy to all he encountered. TJ loved the Lord. He loved his family and his friends. He loved his church family and kept strong relationships with every church he participated in.”

Related Links:
Obituary: Timothy Jurgens, U.S. Army
Obituary: Timothy Jurgens, U.S. Army (The Vienna Times)
Obituary: Timothy Jurgens, U.S. Army (Metropolis Planet)
Obituary: Timothy Jurgens, U.S. Army (The Altamont News)
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)
Salute to Fallen Foundation Honors Army Spc. Mason Webber; Vinton Today is First Publication to Honor & Acknowledge the Fort Hood Fallen (July 20, 2020)

Fort Hood Army Spc. Aigner Certaine Found Unresponsive at Off-Post Residence in Killeen, Texas; Autopsy Ordered, Official Cause of Death Unknown (March 26, 2018)

Spc. Aigner Certaine, U.S. Army

Fort Hood Press Center (March 28, 2018):

FORT HOOD, Texas – Fort Hood officials have released the name of a Soldier who was found unresponsive March 26 at an off-post residence in Killeen, Texas.

Spc. Aigner Certaine, 24, was transported to Metroplex Hospital in Killeen where attempts to revive her were unsuccessful.

Certaine, whose home of record is listed as Sanford, Florida, entered active-duty military service in November 2012 as a unit supply specialist and was assigned to 62nd Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade, Fort Hood, since August 2017.

Certaine’s awards and decorations include three Army Achievement Medals, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon.

A photo is not available at the time of this posting. When one becomes available, it will be uploaded to FortHoodPressCenter.com.

Circumstances surrounding this incident are under investigation by the Killeen Police Department.

Aigner Certaine Obituary (Dignity Memorial):

“Love” Bears all things Believes all things Hopes all things Endures all things

1 Corinthians 13:7 

Aigner Certaine was born on June 17, 1993 in Norfolk, VA to Jackie Certaine and Dyral Manley. She departed this life with her daughter Naviah Iris Clarke on Monday, March 26, 2018. 

Aigner Certaine graduated from Crooms Academy High School and joined the United States Army. She completed Army Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, SC and then went on to Fort Lee, VA where she completed her Military Occupation Specialty Training to become a Unit Supply Specialist. 

Aigner Certaine was the kindest person you will ever meet. Her circle was small but her heart was huge. Love is all she ever wanted to give to the world and it’s all she ever wanted in return. 

“Love Conquers All!” 

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

Related Links:
Obituary: Aigner Certaine (1993-2018)
Death of a Fort Hood Soldier: Spc. Aigner Certaine
Fort Hood soldier dies off post
Officials identify Fort Hood soldier found unresponsive
Fort Hood: Soldier found unresponsive in off-post residence dies
Autopsy ordered after death of Fort Hood soldier
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)
Stars and Stripes: Why is Fort Hood the Army’s Most Crime-Ridden Post? (August 21, 2020)
HASC Congressional Investigation of Fort Hood: Research Reveals Pattern of Suspicious Deaths and Cover-up (September 11, 2020)
Report of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee (November 6, 2020)
Fort Hood’s toxic culture? Red flags raised over mysterious disappearances, sexual assaults
Members of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee present their findings and recommendations to change the Army’s Criminal Investigative Division (CID) at a House Armed Services Subcommittee hearing (March 16, 2021, 25 News KXXV)