NewsJustice for Vanessa Guillen


Is Fort Hood a safe place for soldiers?

Posted at 7:24 PM, Jul 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-06 17:21:14-04

FORT HOOD, TX — The disappearance of two soldiers from Fort Hood has brought the safety of the post into question.

No one ever suspected some of the biggest dangers Pfc. Vanessa Guillen and Private Gregory Morales faced might lurk at their own home base on American soil.

Fort Hood sits on more than 200,000 acres of Texas hill country straddling Coryell and Bell Counties. It's also a city unto itself with a population of more than 53,000 people minus two recently.

The deaths of Pfc. Guillen and Private Morales have focused a storm of controversy on the post.

Fort Hood leaders would only say they've been ordered to submit to a review by an inspector general of the post's Sexual Assault Response Program, so 25 News turned to two veterans who spent years at Fort Hood.

Keith Sledd of the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance calls Fort Hood safer than most U.S. cities. He never thought of the post as "dangerous."

"Fort Hood, no. I was never worried about my wife's safety when I was deployed when I was stationed there," he said.

But on the other hand, retired Master Seargent Tracey Brown believes the disappearance of Pfc. Guillien, in particular, shows a failure of leadership.

"To see how the story played out makes me wonder where was the leadership that should have been there with her? Because you don't go into an arms room by yourself. It's not a one person thing," she explained.

Others agree.

The League of United Latin American Citizens called out Fort Hood, calling it "unsafe" and urging Latin American women not to enlist in the military because of what happened to Guillien.

Retired Master Seargent Brown believes heads should roll over Guillien's murder.

"Everybody that was involved in this, from her squad leader to platoon sergeant to her section sergeant to her first sergeant, her commander, all of them. There's something you did not do," said Brown.

Maybe so, but it will take an investigation by the military to find that out.

Sledd has confidence investigators will find those responsible, but he says it will not happen quickly

"The Army always wants to be thorough and always wants to know what happens with its soldiers. I think they will get to the bottom of this. Unfortunately I don't think it'll be as rapid a process as everyone wants," he said.

Everyone seems to agree that while dangerous things often happen on Fort Hood, they target the enemy, and that any thoughts of murder of a U.S. soldier, let alone two, well that's just unthinkable.

The discovery of the remains of Morales and unconfirmed remains of Guillien may help speed a portion of the murder investigations but their deaths will continue to raise other questions.