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)

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)

NBC DFW | Injured Heroes, Broken Promises: Army Launches Investigation Inside Fort Hood’s Warrior Transition Unit (2015)

US Army SealAllegations of mistreatment persist inside units designed to heal wounded soldiers

“NBC 5 Investigates has learned that the U.S. Army has launched a new investigation inside Fort Hood’s Warrior Transition Unit (WTU), looking at claims of harassment and abuse.

The investigation comes after NBC 5 Investigates partnered with The Dallas Morning News for a six-month investigation that revealed hundreds of complaints from injured soldiers who said commanders harassed, belittled them and ordered them to do things that made their conditions worse at three Warrior Transition Units in Texas: Fort Hood, Fort Bliss and Fort Sam Houston.”

Read more from NBC DFW here.

Related Links:
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Hood, Texas
Wounded soldiers allege mistreatment in the Army’s Warrior Transition Units (2014)
Army closing 10 WTUs as need subsides; 15 to remain (2015)
House Orders Sweeping Investigation of Army Warrior Care (2015)
Soldier Describes Improvement at Fort Hood’s WTU After NBC 5 Investigation Exposes Complaints of Mistreatment (2015)
GAO: Army Needs to Improve Oversight of Warrior Transition Units (2016)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members (2016)
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (2017)
Washington DC Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of the Armed Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (2017)
78 Fort Hood Soldiers Died Since January 2016: 7 Overseas Deaths, 3 Non Combat; 71 Stateside Deaths, 37 ‘Suicides’, 1 Unsolved Homicide (2018)
The Fort Hood Fallen on Facebook