The III Corps and Fort Hood commander posted on the Fort Hood Facebook page an article by The Intercept regarding soldier concerns of their small unit leaders failing to take care of junior enlisted soldiers.
The article detailed accounts by seven noncommissioned officers who described a culture of toxic leadership which tolerated drug use and sexual misconduct, often allowing offenders to stay within the ranks. Some of the NCOs also described junior enlisted members in crisis who were ignored to the point of attempting suicide.
The soldiers remained anonymous due to fear of reprisals by the unit chain of command, according to The Intercept article.
In the Facebook post on Saturday, Lt. Gen. Pat White, who recently returned from a one-year deployment to Iraq, said this was a subject of major concern to him.
“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,” White said in the post.
“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 (Command Sgt. Maj. Cliff) Burgoyne, III Corps Command Sergeant Major at our 24/7 Hotline 254-206-1157.”
White added that leaders must hold leaders accountable, and if soldiers want to be part of the solution, they need to join with the chain of command to solve problems together.
According to The Intercept article, the NCO’s came 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 Spc. Vanessa Guillen, a 3rd Cavalry Regiment soldier killed by another soldier at Fort Hood in April.
At least 28 Fort Hood-based soldiers died between September 2019 to September 2020, two of which were deployed. The incidents all happened while White was deployed to Iraq.
Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, who was left in charge of Fort Hood while White was gone, was asked to step down as acting Fort Hood commander by the Department of the Army at the beginning of September.
The Intercept, initially funded by EBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar, is a news organization focused on investigative journalism. Read The Intercept's Fort Hood article here: https://theintercept.com/2020/10/23/fort-hood-army-deaths/