U.S. Congressional delegation discusses changes to Fort Hood

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KILLEEN, Texas – A Congressional delegation spent two and a half days at Fort Hood to follow up on the Independent Review Commission, and shared their plans for the future.

“Today I can say with great confidence, it’s a much better place than it was eight months ago,” Democratic California Representative Jackie Speier said.

Speier says Fort Hood is committed to making changes for the better after the death of Vanessa Guillén. She is a part of the Independent Review Committee. which recommended 70 changes to Fort Hood.

“I am happy to report, that the vast majority of them [changes] have been,” Speier said.

Speier’s visit to Fort Hood has allowed her to see the areas that need attention – such as the quality of life for soldiers.

“We visited barracks, we visited homes on base, and there is a desperate need to deal with the asbestos, the lead, [and] mold.”

….as well as the extensive waiting list for childcare. Speier also says there must be improvement in the Criminal Investigation Division.

“We will continue to hold the Army accountable,” Speier said.

Marc Veasey, of Texas, says Guillén should not have had to become a victim for changes to be made at Fort Hood.

“We could have been doing better,” Veasey said. “I believe Fort Hood, really, can be a pace setter in making change throughout the military for bases everywhere.”

Veasey says if they take the initiative for changes seriously, it will make soldiers more comfortable. He talked to soldiers during his visit, and says many feel the changes at Fort Hood.

“When their counterparts say things like that, that their will be a Commanding Officer or NCO that will say, ‘No!’ We don’t do that. You are going to listen and take this seriously,” Veasey said.

Fort Hood is now working on a program to increase the communication with families to keep them informed about their soldier.

“We are making a lot of progress,” Representative Sylvia Garcia said. “They are doing a lot to restore trust in the system, and I think the next step is to make sure that there is real accountability in everything that they do.”

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