Sep 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy

House subcommittees launch investigation into Fort Hood deaths

fort hood
Photo: Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images

Two House subcommittees announced Tuesday an investigation into the chain of command at Fort Hood after a series of service member deaths at the Army base in Texas.

The big picture: The killing of 20-year-old Spc. Vanessa Guillen has garnered national attention, and her family claims she faced sexual harassment on base that she did not report out of fear of retaliation. The Army has launched an independent review of Fort Hood and its leadership's handling of that case.

  • The House Oversight Committee's Subcommittee on National Security and the House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Military Personnel referenced Guillen's death, as well as the deaths of a number of other soldiers at Fort Hood, to justify opening their probe.
  • A number of recent deaths of Fort Hood soldiers, including Sgt. Elder Fernandes and Pfc. Brandon Scott Rosecrans, are being investigated as homicides.
  • Other cases, like the deaths of Pvt. Mejhor Morta and Pvt. 2nd Class Gregory Scott Morales, are still being investigated.

What they're saying: "While the Army has directed an independent review of Fort Hood, congressional oversight is necessary to determine whether base leadership — by omission or commission — has allowed or enabled a culture to exist that undermines the values and traditions of the U.S. Army," the subcommittee chairs said in a statement.

  • "Where appropriate, we intend to seek justice on behalf of those in uniform, and their families, who may have been failed by a military system and culture that was ultimately responsible for their care and protection."

Read the letter.

Go deeper