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Woman accused of helping burying Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen’s remains

After an incriminating investigation found that there were many leadership problems, which contributed to violence such as murder and sexual assaults, the Army fired or suspended 14 soldiers from Fort Hood.  

Five civilians formed a panel in July to review the base’s command culture, handling of sexual harassment cases, and disappearances. These results were made public in December.

Ryan McCarthy, the then Army Secretary, said that the investigation into Vanessa Guillen’s murder revealed Fort Hood’s command climate was conducive to sexual harassment and assault. He spoke at a December press conference.

He Fort Hood’s problems are directly related to leadership issues, according to the report. 

Army Maj. General Scott Efflandt, who was still in charge of the base after Guillen’s murder, was dismissed from his post. 

Due to investigations into the base, Army leaders had already delayed Efflandt’s transfer to Fort Bliss where he was to assume leadership of the 1st Armored Division. 

Army Lieutenant General Pat White, the base commander, won’t face administrative action, as he was there as commander for most of the year.  

Guillen’s unit commander, Col. Ralph Overland, and Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Knapp, 3rd Cavalry Regiment was also fired.

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Broadwater, Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas C. Kenny was the commanding general of 1st Cavalry Division and command sergeant major. They were both suspended. 

Following the review, Army Maj. General Scott Efflandt (who was still in charge of the base at the time Guillen died) was fired.

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Broadwater, 1St Cavalry Division Commanding General, Was Suspended Following The Review

Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas C. Kenny, 1St Cavalry Division Command Sergeant Major Was Suspended

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Broadwater (left), and Command Sgt. Suspended: Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Broadwater (left) and Command Sgt.

Col. Ralph Overland, The 3Rd Cavalry Regiment Commander, Who Was In Charge Of Guillen'S Unit, Was Fired Following The Independent Review

Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Knapp, The 3Rd Cavalry Regiment Command Sergeant Major, Who Was In Charge Of Guillen'S Unit, Was Also Fired

Col. Ralph Overland (left), 3rd Cavalry Regiment commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Knapp (right), who were both in charge of Guillen’s unit, was fired

Their suspension will remain in effect pending the outcome a new Army Regulation 15-6 investigation into 1st Cavalry Division’s Command Climate and Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program. 

The names of battalion commanders, leaders and leaders below the battalion level who were awarded administrative action were withheld. 

McCarthy indicated that nine of the main findings were published by the panel and that 70 recommendations were made. The Army will accept these recommendations. To correct the base’s command culture.  

According to the panel, they had made every effort to reach out to women from all divisions at the base, including Guillen’s unit. 

The panel conducted 647 interviews with the base. 

“Of the 503 females we interviewed [in the investigation]We found 93 credible accounts for sexual assault. Queta Rodriguez, who was a member the independent review panel, stated that only 59 of those were reported.

“And we also found 217 accounts unreported of sexual harassment. Only half of these were reported. “What we found was that over the course of those interviews the lack confidence in the system effected those reports,” she explained.

Independent review revealed that the Army’s Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention Program, (SHARP), failed to stop sexual harassment and assault on bases because of structural failures.

Panelists said there was a lack of training, resourcing and staffing at the SHARP office on Fort Hood.

The study also revealed that the command climate did not practice core values of the program below the brigade level. This resulted in less trust in the program.  

McCarthy ordered a review to be done in mid-July. The purpose was to identify the ‘root causes of sexual harassment on the base as well as whether the command culture or climate reflect Army values. 

Of the 31 deaths at the base in 2020, while some were deemed accidents, five were homicides and 10 were suicides.

Chris Swecker, chair of an independent review panel, stated that Soldiers harassing or assaulting Soldiers is a violation of Army values. He suggested that a cultural shift in culture is needed. 

“There was a rooted fear that the confidentiality [sexual assault] It would compromise the reporting process. He said that it took so long for an adjudication to be made that many people have never seen one.

He According to the panel, their recommendations were meant to ‘“Resolve deeply dysfunctional norms to regain soldiers’ faith,” he said.  

The panel suggested new policies that the Army could implement, including a restructure for Fort Hood’s SHARP Program.

Panel members recommended the creation and permanent employment of Victim Advocates made up of a mix of civilian and uniformed personnel. They also suggested the creation and maintenance of a SHARP Program Office Track to track the life-cycle of each case of sexual assault or harassment and produce a quarterly report. 

They also proposed new ways to track down soldier disappearances. 

The panel recommended that an Army-wide protocol be developed for reporting failures in the first 24 hours of a soldier being absent.

Commanders will have to list service personnel as absent-unknown up to 48 hours. They also need to do everything possible locate them to determine if their absence was voluntary.

It also contains new guidance regarding how to classify soldiers deserters.

McCarthy stated that the People First Task Force was created to examine the recommendations of the committee and to create a plan for implementing them.  

General Pat White, Fort Hood Commanding General, said that there is some honest feedback about culture. The consensus was that our culture needs to be changed, particularly in the area of sexual assault and harassment.

He He said that changes have already been made at the base, and that he has allocated more than four million hours to junior leaders for team building and getting to know their soldiers. 

He According to the statement, the base was notified of the firings, and had enough time to prepare a “compassion team” that included a lawyer and a public affairs representative.

Chris Swecker (Jonathan Harmon), Queta Rodriguez, Carrie Ricci and Jack White are the five members of an independent review committee. They have combined 75 years experience as law-enforcement and active-duty military personnel.   

Chris Swecker was the former FBI Criminal Investigative Division assistant director. Jonathan Harmon is a civilian trial lawyer who represented Fortune 500 companies as well as a combat veteran who served during the Gulf War.

Carrie Ricci, a 21-year Army veteran, is the assistant general counsel for Department of Agriculture. Queta Rodriguez, a 20-year Marines veteran, is the regional director for FourBlock. Jack White, a partner at Fluet Huber Hoang, McLean, Virginia, is a West Point graduate who served five years in active duty.

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