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

Army Spc. Darius Cooper Swept Away in Floodwater Crossing at Fort Hood; Body Never Recovered, Military Board Ruled Deceased 2 Months Later (April 11, 2017)

Darius Cooper

Spc. Darius Cooper, U.S. Army

On June 16, 2017, Fort Hood published a press release indicating the Fort Hood Fire and Rescue teams were unsuccessful in locating Army Spc. Darius Cooper, who was swept away in flooding waters at Clear Creek near Turkey Run Road on Fort Hood just before 6 a.m. on April 11, 2017. The press release informed the public that the Army appointed a board of inquiry (per Army Regulation 638-8, Army Casualty Program, and Department of Defense Instruction 2310.05, Accounting for Missing Persons) to conduct a status determination and ruled that Spc. Cooper was deceased, his official date of death was April 11, 2017. Spc. Cooper, 40, listed San Antonio, Texas as his home of record and he entered active-duty service in June 2008 as a culinary specialist. At the time of his death, Spc. Cooper was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood in Texas since June 2016. Spc. Cooper deployed overseas in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. As of 2019, Spc. Cooper’s body has not been located, therefore he is still missing despite the status of determination ruling.

“More than 800 individuals were involved in the search, including emergency responders from Texas Task Force One boat and dog teams, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, Texas Game Warden’s lake search teams, Morgan’s Point Resort Police Department dive and sonar search teams, Fort Hood’s Crisis Response Battalion ground search teams, and 1st Air Cavalry Brigade helicopter assets who aided in the search.” -Fort Hood Press Center (June 16, 2017)

Timeline of Events:

April 11, 2017

Emergency crews respond to vehicles caught in high water (Fort Hood Press Center)
UPDATE 1: All Fort Hood low-water crossings, Old Georgetown Road remain closed (Fort Hood Press Center)
UPDATE 2: Driver’s vehicle recovered without driver inside (Fort Hood Press Center)

April 12, 2017

UPDATE 3: Texas’ Task Force One joins the search for missing person in Clear Creek (Fort Hood Press Center)
UPDATE 4: Updated photos and Broll of the April 12 ongoing search efforts (Fort Hood Press Center)

April 13, 2017

UPDATE 5: Search and rescue teams increased their effort to find the missing individual April 13, as water levels reduced allowing teams access to more locations. (Fort Hood Press Center)
UPDATE 6: Search team officials conduct media engagement (Fort Hood Press Center)

April 19, 2017

UPDATE 7: Deliberate search continues for missing individual (Fort Hood Press Center)

May 11, 2017

UPDATE 8: Deliberate search continues for missing Soldier (Fort Hood Press Center)

June 15, 2017

Soldier swept away at Fort Hood crossing declared dead (KWTX)
Ft. Hood declares missing soldier swept away in floodwaters dead (KXAN)
Fort Hood soldier missing since April declared dead by Army (WFAA)
Fort Hood calls off search, releases name of soldier who died in April 11 flash flood (Killeen Daily Herald)
Fort Hood soldier lost during April floods determined deceased (Statesman)
Fort Hood declares missing soldier deceased, release identity (CBS Austin)
Army: Fort Hood soldier determined dead after being swept away by flood waters (Army Times)

June 16, 2017

UPDATE 9: Fort Hood Soldier lost in April 11 flash flood determined deceased (Fort Hood Press Center)
Fort Hood Officials Declare Missing Soldier Dead (CBS DFW)
Soldier Swept Away By Flood Waters Pronounced Dead (KTEM)

Related Links:
SPC Darius Cooper, Afghanistan (DVIDS)
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (2019)
The Fort Hood Fallen on Facebook