The commander of Army Forces Command said Friday that, in the coming weeks, he will release the results of two investigations he ordered after the disappearance and murder of Spc. Vanessa Guillen last year.
Last September, Gen. Michael Garrett requested that Gen. Mike Murray, head of Army Futures Command, lead an in-depth 15-6 investigation looking at how the actions of the chain of command at Fort Hood, Texas, related to the fate of Guillen, a 20-year-old 3rd Cavalry Regiment soldier who disappeared from the base on April 22, 2020, after being murdered by a fellow soldier on post.
In December, the Army relieved or suspended 14 leaders at Fort Hood as a result of an independent review that found the base’s command climate was permissive of sexual harassment and assault. The results of Murray’s investigation will decide whether the service will take additional action against some of those leaders.
A second investigation, which is nearly complete, will decide the fate of 1st Cavalry commander Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Broadwater and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas C. Kenny, the 1st Cavalry’s command sergeant major. Both were suspended in December pending the results of the investigation into the unit’s command climate and whether it adhered to the Army’s Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Prevention, or SHARP, program policies.
“We are very, very close to closing out both of these investigations,” Garrett told reporters Friday at a Defense Writers Group event. “We will identify folks that we are holding responsible, and you will see the actions that we have taken as a result.”
Garrett’s comments came after the Army unveiled a number of changes designed to revamp the service’s SHARP program in response to recommendations of the Fort Hood independent review.
He acknowledged that Murray’s investigation, which involved thousands of interviews, has taken seven months to complete.
“Part of the due process is the individuals that are named in the investigations have an opportunity to review it and to provide a rebuttal, and that takes time,” Garrett said.
With Murray’s 15-6 investigation, “we have a couple of notifications to let people know what our actions are going to be before they see it in the press,” he added. Investigators leading the 1st Cavalry investigation are about to turn over the findings to Broadwater and Kenny so they can review them and provide a rebuttal.
On Monday, officials at Fort Hood are scheduled to dedicate a special gate into the post in honor of Guillen, Garrett said.
“We are closing in on the one-year anniversary of her death, and I tell you I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t think about Spc. Guillen,” he said. “We as an Army failed to protect Spc. Guillen.”
— Matthew Cox can be reached at email@example.com.
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