Latinx leaders applaud congressional investigation into Vanessa Guillen’s death, others at Fort Hood
Congressional Subcommittees will investigate Fort Hood and its leadership after various deaths this year alone.
After months of calling for #JusticeForVanessaGuillen, her family may finally have concrete answers.
Instead of an ongoing internal investigation conducted by the U.S. Army, the cases of Vanessa Guillen and two-dozen others are garnering the attention they deserve— from Congress.
It was announced Tuesday, by both members of Guillen’s family and Congress that two congressional subcommittees will launch an investigation into the chain of command at Fort Hood, following the spike in deaths.
We got the congressional investigation
— Mayra Guillen (@mguilen_) September 8, 2020
Vanessa Guillen’s case has already suffered the consequences of late visibility. Two months into her death, the nation still didn’t know her name. Later, the main suspect connected to her case killed himself as officers moved to arrest him.
By moving forward with an investigation, the process for decision making is taken out of the hands of investigators affiliated with the Army and Guillen’s case can take positive strides.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee's Subcommittee on National Security and the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personell are currently seeking documents and information that may further explain how the Army Base leadership has allowed the series of deaths to occur, and how they have responded to reports of sexual harassment and abuse.
“I commend @RepSpeier and @RepStephenLynch for investigating the recent deaths at Fort Hood and disturbing allegations of sexual misconduct,” wrote Rep. Joaquin Castro in response to the news.
“This is an important step to pursue justice for #VanessaGuillén and every servicemember failed by our military,” he continued.
I commend @RepSpeier and @RepStephenLynch for investigating the recent deaths at Fort Hood and disturbing allegations of sexual misconduct.
This is an important step to pursue justice for #VanessaGuillén and every servicemember failed by our military. https://t.co/OmEmlvx6Py
— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) September 9, 2020
Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) has been a champion for Vanessa Guillen’s case since it garnered national attention.
“This investigation is a meaningful continuation of the oversight and investigative work @RepSpeier and I have been doing on the #VanessaGuillén case,” Garcia wrote.
“It's clear there's something wrong happening at Fort Hood, and we must ensure that not one more soldier is put in harm’s way. That's why later this month, I'll be joining @RepSpeier on a congressional delegation trip to Fort Hood as part of our ongoing investigative efforts,” she continued.
Garcia says she hopes the findings of the investigation will shed light into how the military handles allegations of sexual assault, harrassment, as well as ongoing missing soldier cases.
5/ Congress takes this seriously. We will secure justice for #VanessaGuillén and for every soldier who has been failed by Fort Hood and the Army. Read my full statement below#JusticeForVanessaGuillén #JusticeForOurSoldiers pic.twitter.com/g0YchfTK2y
— Rep. Sylvia Garcia (@RepSylviaGarcia) September 9, 2020
Guillen was the victim of sexual harassment, her sister said, but she didn’t report the sexual harassment out of fear of retaliation.
Among the dozens of cases is also Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales, a soldier at Fort Hood whose body was found in June, nearly a year after he went missing in Aug. 2019.
Investigations into two additional deaths, of Pvt. Mejhor Morta and Sgt. Elder Fernandes, who also reported sexual harassment, are ongoing. Authorities are also looking into the deaths of Pfc. Brandon Scott Rosecrans, Spc. Freddy Delacruz Jr. and Spc. Shelby Tyler Jones.
What led to the deaths of 28 soldier’s deaths from a single army base in Texas? Congress may soon find out.