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Changes in Fort Hood response to missing soldiers

Posted at 6:50 PM, Jun 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-28 20:10:09-04

This latest missing Fort Hood soldier situation has been handled a little differently than some cases that 25 News covered last year.

Another missing soldier has given Fort Hood the chance to show the community that they are truly changing when it comes to personnel.

Fort Hood gained national scrutiny after the news of Spc. Vanessa Guillen’s disappearance and death sparked a nation-wide out cry for change.

That coupled with the deaths of fellow soldiers Gregory Morales, who’s remains were found while searching for Guillen, and Elder Fernandes, who died from apparent suicide last year, Fort Hood was put under the microscope and forced to change.

”What army leadership saw and what they thought necessary, is that we needed to update our policy on missing soldiers,” said Maj. Gabriela S. Thompson, III Corps deputy spokesperson.

Several changes that include a step-by-step checklist that enables faster communication with command and law enforcement, both on and off post, as well as a new status of absent-unknown.

”What that absent-unknown status does is to allow leadership and law enforcement officials to use all available resources to find the soldier, to indeed determine if that soldier is missing, or awol, or just involuntarily gone,” said Maj. Thompson.

Other changes in things like better communication and transparency, are changes that community leaders said were evident when Spc. Abram Salas didn’t report for duty on June 23.

”Where there was number available and there was a name attached to that number to where it wasn’t going to go into some answering service, leaving whatever information that you might have,” said AnaLuisa Tapia, District Director for LULAC.

There are many things, including the People First policies, that Fort Hood has done differently.

All changes the way they handle missing soldiers.