FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Gen. Michael X. Garrett, commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command, has approved and taken action on the investigation conducted by Gen. John Murray, commanding general of Army Futures Command, into chain-of-command actions related to the disappearance of Spc. Vanessa Guillén at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2020. As a result of the investigation, several adverse actions are ongoing:
- Gen. Garrett directed the relief of five current or former leaders (officers and non commissioned officers) in the 3rd Cavalry Regiment. Of the five, three will also receive General Officer Memorandums of Reprimand (GOMORs).
- Gen. Garrett referred further action against seven additional officers and non-commissioned officers to Lt. Gen. Pat White, commanding general of III Corps, and further action against one non-commissioned officer to a separate command. Those eight officers and non-commissioned officers will receive GOMORs, and in addition one will be notified of relief.
These actions are in addition to the previously announced reliefs of Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, former Deputy Commanding General of III Corps, and Col. Ralph Overland and Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Knapp, the former commander and command sergeant major of 3rd Cavalry Regiment (3CR). As of today, accountability actions have been initiated against members of Spc. Guillén’s chain of command from junior through senior leaders.
As a matter of policy and to protect individual privacy, the Army will not release the names of the battalion level and below commanders and leaders who received action.
As part of his investigation, Gen. Murray, one of the Army’s most senior commanders, conducted the review of Fort Hood actions from April 22 -July 1, 2020, under the provisions of Army Regulation 15- 6. This is separate from the Army’s Fort Hood Independent Review Committee results announced Dec. 8.
The specific findings include: key details and dates regarding the actions taken by Spc. Guillén’s chain of command when she was identified as missing; confirmation that Spc. Guillén was sexually harassed by a superior noncommissioned officer in her unit; no evidence that Spc. Guillén was sexually assaulted; evidence of inadequate measures applying the Army’s Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program; an assessment of challenges with the Army’s accountability process for missing Soldiers; a discussion of personnel assignments in the 3CR; and a review of the arms room procedures.
The findings and recommendations of the Army Regulation 15-6 investigation are posted to the U.S. Army Fort Hood Independent Review web site, located at https://www.army.mil/forthoodreview/.
“I directed this investigation to identify what happened and to find areas where we needed to improve across our command,” said Gen. Garrett. “We can and must hold ourselves accountable, learn and improve across all our Army units. To do any less breaks trust with our people and the American public.”
The report indicates that Guillén informally reported that she was sexually harassed on two occasions, and in both instances her supervisor failed to report the harassment, and other leaders failed to take appropriate action. No evidence indicates that this sexual harassment was in any way related to her death. However, the report found that between April to September 2019 Spc. Aaron Robinson — Guillén’s alleged murderer — sexually harassed a different female specialist at Fort Hood; this information was discovered in fall of 2020 during the 15-6 investigation. The investigation found no credible evidence to conclude that Spc. Robinson sexually harassed Guillén or that they had any relationship outside of their work setting.
The report also examined the command climate of 3rd Cavalry Regiment, Guillén’s unit, and found Soldiers there were not adequately trained on and did not sufficiently emphasize sexual-harassment and sexual-assault prevention programs.
Regarding the search for SPC Guillen, the Army Regulation 15-6 investigators found that the 3rd Cavalry Regiment responded immediately with all available resources upon the discovery that Spc. Guillén was missing on April 22 and determined that her absence likely was not voluntary. On April 23, unit leaders directed a massive search for Guillén. When the US Army’s Criminal Investigation Command (USACIDC) took over the case on April 24, they immediately identified Guillén as a “missing Soldier” whose disappearance occurred under “unusual” circumstances.
This administrative Army Regulation 15-6 investigation does not include alleged criminal misconduct connected to the disappearance and death of Spc. Guillén. Those criminal matters remain under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the USACIDC, and other law enforcement agencies under the supervision of the United States Attorney’s Office.
An additional Army Regulation 15-6 investigation remains open and is reviewing the 1st Cavalry Division’s command climate and Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program at Fort Hood. The investigation of 1st Cavalry Division is unrelated to the death of Spc. Guillén.
U.S. Army Forces Command is the Army major command within the United States that includes III Corps. Based at Fort Bragg, N.C., FORSCOM trains and prepares a combat ready, globally responsive Total Force to build and sustain readiness to meet Combatant Command global requirements.