Fort Hood Commanding General Pat White responded on Facebook to allegations made in a story published by The Intercept this week in which non-commissioned officers expressed fear for the safety of their soldiers at the base.
In the October 23 Intercept report, seven NCOs responsible for the training and welfare of soldiers at Fort Hood said the environment there has become "so dangerous that they fear for the safety of their soldiers."
The five sergeants and two staff sergeants, who chose to remain anonymous, described a toxic leadership culture at Fort Hood "that tolerates rampant drug use, sexual harassment, and misconduct on base, and in some instances, has allowed service members accused of sexual assault to remain within their ranks," according to The Intercept.
Three NCOs told the Intercept that they witnessed soldiers in crisis "who were ignored by their commanding officers" attempt suicide.
The report also talks about how leadership handles sexual assaults, missing soldiers, and the lack of trust on base, weaving in the stories of Vanessa Guillen and Gregory Wedel.
LTG Pat White released a statement on Fort Hood's Facebook about the report:
“Last night, I read this Intercept article with great concern. Seven anonymous NCOs describe events and attitudes that I’d like to know more about in order to fix it. The allegations in the article are serious and I firmly believe in the chain of command; since these NCOs feel their immediate leaders have failed them, I ask that these sergeants—and anyone else—use their personal courage and call me and CSM Burgoyne, III Corps Command Sergeant Major at our 24/7 Hotline 254-206-1157.
LTG White says leaders must hold leaders accountable. "If you want to be part of the solution, please join with the chain of command and let’s solve problems together," he said in Saturday's Facebook post.
In the Intercept report, a sergeant, who has served in the Army for nearly a decade, is quoted as saying they “would be scared to send [their] kid to Fort Hood."
The NCOs were compelled to come forward out of concern that no meaningful change will come from the military and congressional investigations launched in the wake of public outcry over the murder of 20-year-old Vanessa Guillén, according to The Intercept.
LTG White said he plans to invite the Intercept reporter to Fort Hood to "see first-hand our 38,000 Soldiers in action."
The full Intercept story can be found here.
This article was written by Thalia Brionez for KXXV.