FORT HOOD, Texas – Officials recently reported Fort Hood has the highest cases of soldier murders and sexual assaults among all Army installations.
Since the start of the year, 15 soldiers from the post have died.
Texas lawmakers are calling for an immediate investigation and restructuring of the military base command. They say the number of soldiers that have died this year is unacceptable, and that it is clear changes need to be made – and they need to happen now.
“There is something wrong at Fort Hood,” says Texas Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar.
Cuellar says since January, at least 15 soldiers stationed at the Central Texas Army base have disappeared or died.
“I can understand harm out there in the battlefield, but when they are back home in a Texas city or somewhere else, it’s a problem,” says Cuellar.
Cuellar says he started looking into the base in July after a male soldier murdered 22-year old Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén. He recruited Esther Firova, with the League of United Latin American Citizens, to help him.
“We found that there is definitely an acceptable culture within the Army, and a silent code, if you will, that no one can talk. No one can speak,” said Firova.
Firova says the six investigations launched by the Army since Guillén’s murder aren’t enough.
“We are going to be holding them accountable consistently. We want answers. We want solutions,” said Firova.
Cuellar, and other Texas lawmakers – including Republican Senator John Cornyn – are also calling for answers.
In a letter to Secretary McCarthy, Cornyn says, “It is clear that changes must be made to Fort Hood in order to better safeguard the soldiers stationed there.”
“Let’s find out what the problem is and fix it,” said Cuellar.
McCarthy created an independent panel to review Fort Hood’s climate in July. The results of this investigation are expected to be released this month.
Cornyn says once the commission releases its findings, he will work with McCarthy to address the concerns at the base.