Ft. Hood Deputy Commander Denied Promotion One Day After Investigation Begins Into High-Profile Deaths on Base

The U.S. Army announced on Tuesday that Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt was denied a previously scheduled promotion as Commander at Fort Bliss, but will remain at Fort Hood as deputy commanding general for support.

The news comes just one day after the arrival of the five member civilian Fort Hood Independent Review Committee and the appointment of an independent in-depth military investigation into the chain of command actions related to murdered Spc. Vanessa Guillen.

Gen. Michael X. Garrett, commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), is directing that Maj. Gen. John B. Richardson IV formally assume duties as deputy commanding general for operations of III Corps and acting senior commander of Fort Hood on Sept. 2.

Maj. Gen. 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.

The Army will soon name a new commander for the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss in El Paso in the coming days.

The Army also announced that Gen. John Murray, commanding general of Army Futures Command, and one of the Army’s most senior commanders will also lead an in-depth investigation into the chain of command actions related to the high profile death of Guillen, which capped off mysterious deaths and murders on the sprawling Ft. Hood base.

Fort Hood is the largest U.S. military installation in the world in terms of population and one of the largest in terms of total area. The Fort Hood website lists 45,414 assigned soldiers and 8,900 civilian employees on the base which covers 214,000 acres or 332 square miles, much of it open and used for practicing tank maneuvers.

The Fort Hood Independent Review Committee will examine the command climate and culture at Fort Hood and the surrounding military community. The review will be based on how well it meets the Army’s commitment to safety, respect, inclusiveness, diversity, and freedom from sexual harassment. Members of the committee plan to meet with unit leaders, Soldiers, local officials, law enforcement, and community groups while in Killeen, according to FOX 7 in Austin, TX.

General Murray plans to combine the several ongoing investigations at Ft, Hood into a more complete and comprehensive investigation that will delve into all activities and levels of leadership.

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.

The Fort Hood Independent Review Committee is a five member civilian team that will examine the command climate and culture at Fort Hood and the surrounding military community to determine whether they reflect the Army’s commitment to safety, respect, inclusiveness, diversity, and freedom from sexual harassment.

The intense media coverage of the string of deaths have both unsettled the base population and bedeviled leadership.

News media gather outside one of the entrances to Fort Hood military base near Killeen, Texas, USA, after four people were killed and 14 injured in a shooting at the US Army base in April 2014 . EPA/ASHLEY LANDIS

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