"Significant number" of U.S Army officers and soldiers at Fort Hood expected to be fired, AP reports

A memorial for Specialist Vanessa Guillén outside the Fort Hood U.S. Army post in Killeen. Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar for the Texas Tribune

Sign up for The Brief, our daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.

A “significant number” of U.S Army officers and soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas are expected to be fired in an effort to correct a years-long culture of sexual assault and a pattern of violence at the base, the Associated Press reported.

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy is expected to remove soldiers from their jobs and trigger investigations that could lead to wider punishments, according to the AP. Those punishments could include reprimands or military discharges.

U.S. officials told the AP they expect Army Lt. Gen. Pat White, the base commander, will not face punishment. But Army Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, who was in charge of the base earlier this year when Spc. Vanessa Guillén went missing, could be disciplined.

The shakeups come in response to an independent review of the base’s command climate and culture, which McCarthy launched in mid-July amid increasing pressure from Guillén's family, Congress and advocacy groups. McCarthy and other Army leaders will announce the results of the report Tuesday afternoon.

Guillén disappeared in April and her body was found near the Leon River in July. The soldier suspected of killing Guillén, Spc. Aaron Robinson, killed himself as police tried to arrest him. Guillén was the victim of sexual harassment, her sister said, but she didn’t report the sexual harassment out of fear of retaliation.

Between 2014 and 2019, an average of 129 felonies were committed annually at Fort Hood, including murder, kidnapping and sexual assault. McCarthy acknowledged during a press briefing in August that the base had “the most cases for sexual assault and harassment and murders for our entire formation of the U.S. Army.”

The House Oversight and Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security and the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel are conducting a separate investigation into how Fort Hood’s leadership has responded to a series of deaths and instances of sexual harassment and abuse.