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Fri Apr 30, 2021, 07:37 PM

Army disciplines 21 at Fort Hood in probe of soldier's death

Source: AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army said Friday that it has taken disciplinary action against 21 officers and non-commissioned officers at Fort Hood, Texas, in connection with death last year of Spc. Vanessa Guillen, who was missing for about two months before her remains were found.

The punishments, which include firing eight senior commanders, are the latest Army moves in response to Guillen's disappearance and death, which brought to light widespread leadership failures at a base that had high rates of sexual assault, harassment, drug use and other problems.

Also, in a new revelation, an Army report blamed the military for allowing Guillen's killer to escape from custody and ultimately kill himself. It found that “poor communication” between soldiers keeping watch on Spc. Aaron Robinson failed to clearly note that he was a soldier of “heightened interest,” contributing to his ability to flee from a conference room. He committed suicide while being pursued.

While the discipline announced Friday represents a sweeping condemnation of soldiers in Guillen’s chain of command, no criminal charges have been brought against any of the soldiers. Instead, the soldiers were relieved of command or given formal letters of reprimand that will go into their permanent files, or both. In many cases such discipline is career ending.

Read more: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/army-disciplines-21-at-fort-hood-in-probe-of-soldiers-death/ar-BB1geH9K?li=BBnb7Kz

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Fri Apr 30, 2021, 07:52 PM

1. Sounds like the Army is taking this issue more seriously now.

About time and I hope the other military branches follow suit.

But it is just a beginning.

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Fri Apr 30, 2021, 07:53 PM

2. Fort Hood has had a pretty bad reputation among soldiers and families for a long time.

My nephew and his family were stationed there for a while, and he and his ex both mentioned 'command problems' many times whenever that base was brought up. They felt that the reports of sexual assault, harassment, and high rates of drug use were just the tip of the iceberg, and the problems went all the way to the top of the local chain of command, with a bad attitude about fixing anything totally lacking. There has been a major vacuum in actual leadership, and too much sweeping of longstanding wide-ranging problems under the rug for far too long.

Sounds like what it really needs is a complete house-cleaning, and this seems like a good start. Too bad it took a few murders and several sexual assaults connected to the base to actually have anyone take notice and start to make changes.

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Response to SeattleVet (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 30, 2021, 08:19 PM

5. I don't understand that, not that I am saying that your nephew was wrong, but

I just don't understand.

The military when I was in the service, had a two to three years permanent assignment at a base, and then you were usually transferred somewhere else. I'm not sure what the transfer rate was for Officers, but I suspect that it was comparable. So, in theory, leadership should change due to change of personnel. Can't figure this out.

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Response to Dan (Reply #5)

Fri Apr 30, 2021, 08:48 PM

7. The entire culture at that base appears to have been totally broken.

As I understood it, a lot of the officers and senior enlisted that got assigned there deemed it to be some type of a punishment tour or something, and few really gave a damn about anything. As people rotated in they got the message that this was a tour to be endured until you got sent somewhere else.

As an example of the types of things that were going on, one of the senior enlisted personnel acting as a 'sexual assault prevention officer', a Sergeant 1st Class (E-7), was eventually dishonorably discharged in 2015 after being convicted of organizing a...wait for it... prostitution ring. This is the type of example of 'leadership' that was being tolerated or swept under the rug in too many cases.

Last year alone 28 soldiers died at Fort Hood, a shockingly high number.

In other words, a lot of them seem to have come in with a don't-give-a-damn attitude, and that attitude prevailed and was way too pervasive throughout the command. It sounds like they've needed a swift kick for a long time to get some of this stuff straightened out.

When I was in the Air Force we also regularly rotated through various assignments, but each base did have it's own distinct 'culture' that prevailed and were handed down through all of the changes.

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Response to SeattleVet (Reply #7)

Sun May 2, 2021, 01:18 PM

12. Seen it everywhere in the military. Once a command gets a bad reputation

The only way to turn it around is to get rid of all leadership - military and civilian - and start over with handpicked people.
The Civilian (SES types) leadership on a base supporting the military can be just as corrosive to good order and discipline as Senior NCOs and Brass.
Not much one can do about contractors, but good leadership goes a long way to getting rid of discipline problems in the lower ranks.

Haele

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Response to SeattleVet (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 30, 2021, 08:35 PM

6. it's a bad area

I'm not defending anyone there, I haven't been there in 20 years so I have no knowledge base to defend anyone there, but as far as drug use goes, Killeen and that whole area is right on a main drug corridor, with gangs, crime, drugs, and bad things happening.

Part of cleaning up Fort Hood will require cleaning up Killeen.

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Fri Apr 30, 2021, 07:59 PM

3. uniform rape, on the other hand, continues

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Fri Apr 30, 2021, 08:19 PM

4. They took some small actions last December - report from CBS

Norah O'Donnell spoke with tRump's Secretary of the Army after the last report came out, who said that they were taking action...but the report itself shows that victims had little confidence in any real action taking place.

Looks like this is a more wide-ranging follow-up, but there's still a LOT of the command failure that needs to be addressed.

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 01:32 AM

8. Fort Hood has been a shithole as long as I can remember

On my first day as a member of the (gag) 163rd MI battalion, I was introduced to a sergeant who was celebrating his 7th year in the 163rd. He didn’t WANT to be in the 163rd, but every time MI Branch cut him a set of orders transferring him, Fort Hood G1 would cancel them. I was planning to reenlist into a new MOS, but didn’t want to stay in that shithole forever. When I went to the reenlistment NCO, he gave me advice you will never hear from one of them: “Get the hell out of the Army.” I’m like, how exactly did I piss you off? He said that was the advice he gives everyone: get out, wait 93 days and then reenlist. The Army isn’t likely to send you back to Fort Hood, you can request retraining into a new MOS, and the break will do you good. That’s what I did, and the unit I got sent to was a slice of fucking heaven, man: do you believe the United States Fucking Army actually paid me to live in Berlin six years?

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Response to jmowreader (Reply #8)

Sat May 1, 2021, 09:55 AM

9. i think one of the problems is the poor professional training of the officers

...I'm not saying it applies to everyone there, but it does apply to the chain of command. They want to play in the sand box with their toys, act like a "leader" etc. They know literally nothing about the law. So there is a tendency to remain mute when untoward events occur or to try to steer an investigation for "best effect." When illegal things are going on, there is a tendency to sweep it under the rug. Doing the right thing, entails knowing what the right thing is. People who want justice, investigations, courts-martials, etc., because rape or a murder happened in their command are disturbing the leadership mythology of the moral integrity of the army. I think the legal officers that end up there tend to fall into the same culture, pleasing their command, rather than taking the career ending course of telling them something about a some legal or justice requirement that they'd rather avoid.

When a murder or rape occurs, it is easier to let people "disappear" or perpetrators commit suicide, than have the scandals aired in public. The object is to get to your PCS date before events blow up in your face.



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Response to jmowreader (Reply #8)

Sat May 1, 2021, 12:10 PM

10. Sure, why wouldn't the Army pay you to live in Berlin?

The Army paid me to live in Stuttgart for a year and a half. And I was drafted.

My unit had many draftees. The E7 who had to give the re-enlistment speech had a thick skin, from being laughed at so much.

I never saw Fort Hood. Fort Bliss TX was pretty nice. Fort Polk LA was a shit-hole.

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Response to JustABozoOnThisBus (Reply #10)

Sat May 1, 2021, 12:31 PM

11. My team chief came to Berlin from Fort Polk

He claimed that if he ever had to drive from Georgia to Texas (the likelihood was low; he was from Missouri and would go back there after retirement) he would drive however long it took to go around Louisiana.

There is a lake on Fort Polk that’s now officially named Alligator Lake. It used to be something else. It got its name because a commanding general’s wife, new to post, was walking her poodle around the lake when a gator walked out of the lake, made a snack out of her dog and went back in...and, as soldiers do, everyone on post started using that nickname for the lake.

Another bad one: the 163rd mess hall somehow picked up the name Death Hall. I mean, I know Army food can be hideous...turned out there was a very popular warrant officer in the unit who was packing around an undiagnosed brain aneurysm. It decided to let go while he was leaving the chow hall, and the poor guy died on the mess hall steps. About a week after it happened the mess sergeant got the battalion commander to call a formation so he could explain to the troops that, contrary to what you assholes are saying, it was not the food that killed him.

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