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New leadership named on Fort Hood in response to Vanessa Guillen case

The Army named two new commanding generals, one of whom will lead an 'in-depth investigation' into what led up to Vanessa Guillen's death.

FORT HOOD, Texas — Gen. Michael X. Garrett, commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command, assigned Maj. Gen. John B. Richardson IV formally to assume duties as deputy commanding general for operations of III Corps and acting senior commander of Fort Hood, according to a press release from Army Media Relations. The change becomes effective Sept. 2.

This previously-scheduled change in leadership will enable continuity of command as III Corps returns from its role leading the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, according to the release.

Richardson previously served as FORSCOM’s director of operations from 2019-2020, and was selected in March 2020 by the Department of the Army to serve as the next DCG for III Corps.

Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt will continue to serve as the deputy commanding general for support and will remain at Fort Hood to assist with the reintegration of III Corps as they return from their mission supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

Maj. Gen. Efflandt was supposed to be transferred to Fort Bliss in El Paso to lead the 1st Armored Division. The Army delayed that move on Aug. 8. A new commander will be named for Fort Bliss in the coming days. 

The Army also announced that Garrett will appoint Gen. John Murray, commanding general of Army Futures Command, and one of the Army’s most senior commanders to lead an in-depth investigation into the chain of command actions related to Spc. Vanessa Guillen.

Credit: DVIDS
Maj. Gen. John B. Richardson IV

Guillen was killed on post April 22. A Fort Hood criminal complaint said she was killed by Aaron Robinson in an armory room then, with the help of Cecily Aguilar, he dismembered her body and buried the remains near the Leon River in Bell County. 

"We are glad to know that our steadfast efforts to help expose the toxic command at Fort Hood is moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, this small step will not quell the issue of accountability that has left, such heartache and loss to our nation," Guillen Familly Attorney Natalie Khawam said. "Congress must conduct an in-depth congressional inquiry, providing detailed accountability of the heinous crimes that took place at Fort Hood. During our meeting with President Trump in the Oval Office of the White House, the President expressed his concerns about Fort Hood and his support of our bill that protects our soldiers."

Khawam went on to say, "Now we call on Congress to address and pass the #IamVanessaGuillen bill so our soldiers can have safeguards in place when they report sexual assault, sexual harassment and retaliation."

There are currently several investigations underway at Fort Hood which are tasked with reviewing a wide range of topics and concerns. Gen. Murray will roll those efforts into a more complete and comprehensive investigation that will delve into all activities and levels of leadership, the release said.

Murray’s investigation, which will be conducted under the provisions of Army Regulation 15-6, is separate from the Independent Review of Fort Hood, which began in August.

Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy named five civilians July 30 to lead the independent review of the command climate on Fort Hood. Fort Hood announced Monday the panel members arrived at Fort Hood Sunday and will stay for two weeks.