Mon. Jan 25th, 2021

By ACACIA Coronado and LOLITA c. Baldor, Associated Press

FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) – When US Army leaders met with Fort Fort soldiers, suspicion was palpable in the rooms. TexasIn recent times, to investigate on the grounds that emerged, which has been plagued by violence and morale has declined over the past year.

Feeling bewildered, Shakeel raised his hands and questioned whether any change for good could disappear in just a few months.

“I feel like the leaders are just closing the boxes,” a military jawan said on Thursday. Major Michael Grinstone, who was the top enlisted officer, visited the base on a tour. Another soldier told him: “I don’t know what your real intentions are.”

For Griston, antitrust was the most discouraging part of his new efforts to meet with a range of soldiers, from new recruits to senior leaders.

“I think we’ve lost some trust. And, you know, we’re trying to rebuild that trust,” he said in an interview with the Associated Press, when he was going back to Washington, D.C. Were.

More than two dozen Fort Hood soldiers died in 2020, including numerous murders and suicides. The death of Vanessa Gulen, found in July, triggered the social media movement of former and current military service people speaking out about sexual harassment and harassment on the grounds. Investigators say her family was harassed by a fellow soldier, G├╝len.

His death and other violence and problems at the base prompted a series of reviews, concluding in an independent report released in December that Fort Hood’s Criminal Investigation Division came to light on the high rates of beatings, harassment, leadership problems and issues was put. Fourteen people were fired or suspended in connection with the findings. And leaders have begun implementing changes to improve morale and commanders’ relationships with soldiers there.

The purpose of Griston’s visit was to check on progress.

He said, “What annoyed me the most,” I think we have gained their trust. But they said, are we going to keep pace? Are we going to do it? And they got suspicious. “

The AP was allowed to keep a reporter in the room for several of Griston’s meetings with the soldiers, under an agreement that the soldiers would not be identified by name. The military said the retaliation was requested because of concerns.

Grimston, along with other army leaders, met with dozens of soldiers. Most stated that communication with their leaders has improved, more time and attention has been given to training, and exercises are helping to improve mood to build trust between teams.

But mistrust remained. At least half of the soldiers present during the two sessions considered to AP that the thrust for reform was a reaction to public outrage over high-profile deaths.

He said there has still not been enough follow-up with the counseling, and they are worried that things will return the way they are after the change in public.

“A female soldier said,” The whole world is looking at Fort Hood, so they want you to come here. “Obviously it’s the right thing, but they want to see it.”

Griston said he was encouraged that the soldiers believed that things were now heading in the right direction, and that many people were positive about their jobs and their fellow soldiers and commanders.

He said the soldiers he met told him: “Don’t stop knowing your soldiers. Don’t stop calling families. Don’t stop doing small unit physical fitness. Do those team building events. We want to do more . “

He said the feelings he conveyed to the leaders and officials he met.

He said he wants the soldiers “confident that the military is going to keep this momentum.”

“We’ve got to keep pace and maintain their confidence that we’re really going to do that,” he said.

Sergeant. Major Shane Munday, who commanded the Third Cavalry Regiment in December, said he recognizes the degree of mistrust that is working to meet with the soldiers and “show them that I am here to take care of them.”

In October, Army officials announced a core-wide initiative aimed at gaining confidence and resolving cultural problems. Sergeant. Major Julie Guerra, an Army G-2 Sergeant majoring in the Pentagon and one of the Tri-Chairs of the People’s First Task Force, intended to make recommendations for improvement, was also present during the hearing sessions. She said she was “very disappointed” and “very disappointed” by the findings in the December report.

“I was discouraged that we had reached a point in our army that there was a constant and widespread culture that soldiers did not feel safe inside their structures,” Guerra said.

Guerra said the task force would take an “important form” in the Army’s sexual harassment / assault response and prevention program and a missing troop policy had already been approved by the Secretary of the Army.

A congressional investigation, which was launched a few days after the Sergeant. Elder Fernandes was found dead after being reported missing in August, still pending. The investigation into Guillen’s death continues.

Lolita C. from Washington. Baldor reports, DC Acacia Coronado is a core member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program, which puts journalists in local newspapers to report on undercover issues.

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