Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, III Corps and Fort Hood deputy commander, hosted members of local governments and nonprofits at the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance on Monday in Killeen to brief them on the state of affairs at the installation.
“I had the pleasure of resuming routine engagements that had been delayed due to COVID-19,” Efflandt said in a statement to the Herald. “This renewed activity began with community leaders from Killeen, Harker Heights, Temple and Copperas Cove to discuss the current events surrounding Fort Hood, provide an update on the installation’s status, maintain our strong relationships and listen to their concerns.”
Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra, who attended one of the two briefings, said Efflandt was very open about the different issues currently facing Fort Hood and welcomed difficult questions.
“He touched on everything that is going on, such as the deaths of soldiers,” Segarra said. “Most of them are still under investigation, especially Spc. Vanessa Guillen, but it was good to hear from him since we often only get information from the internet and not just current facts of a situation.”
The post held two separate meetings, the mayor said. One was more geared toward local government leaders, and the other towards community and nonprofit leaders. Segarra said he attended the second meeting, as many of those leaders were ones he had invited.
Representatives from organizations such as the local NAACP chapter and the local chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens were in attendance, along with several other nonprofits with an interest in the welfare of the post’s soldiers, he said.
“It was a great opportunity to hear first-hand from Fort Hood leadership, and I hope they will do more of these in the future,” Segarra said. “As mayor, I’ve been to similar briefings before, but this was open to many more members of the community.”
Segarra said Efflandt told the local leaders that the Army was still working on an upcoming investigation into the command climate and culture on the post, and that the installation leadership welcomed a thorough, outside investigation.
“The main thing was for them to get a feel of what the community is thinking during this trying time,” Segarra said. “But it also gave the community the chance to let Fort Hood know that we very much support them.”
Guillen was found dead at end of June in East Bell County after she was reported missing from Fort Hood since April 22.
A suspect in the case, Fort Hood Spc. Aaron David Robinson, fatally shot himself July 1, and another suspect, Killeen resident Cecily Aguilar, is in custody on federal charges.
Aguilar told investigators that Robinson on April 22 struck a “female soldier in the head with a hammer multiple times at his arms room, killing her on Fort Hood.”