Three soldiers at Fort Cavazos have died by suicide in the last month – in the latest in a series of mysterious deaths on military bases across the country.
Fort Cavazos, formerly Fort Hood, is investigating all three and another death, the cause of which has yet to be confirmed, an Army spokesman said.
The base is where Vanessa Guillen went missing on April 22, 2020, before she was found dismembered and buried nearby two months later.
The deaths also come after 17 soldiers were revealed to have died so far at an Oklahoma USAF base, with 11 due to ‘natural causes’ and six remaining unclear.
Before the fourth Fort Cavazos soldier died last week, a spokesman said ‘all initial indicators point to these tragedies being suicides’. Their names were not released.
Three soldiers stationed at Fort Cavazos base have committed suicide in the last month in the latest in a series of mysterious deaths on American military bases
Lt. Gen. Sean Bernabe, the commander of III Armored Corps and Fort Hood, expressed his sadness over the deaths in a statement.
‘In the wake of these losses, our leaders are engaged with the families of the deceased to ensure they have the information and resources they need,’ he said.
‘Our leaders also work hard to protect the privacy of these families as they mourn the loss of a loved one.’
The post announced that it is increasing suicide prevention and mental health programs as a response.
GIs and their commanding officers held a ‘call to action’ day on August 16 where they claimed they spoke honestly about mental health issues.
‘This training was supported by behavioral health professionals, chaplains, and other non-clinical counselors from across the Fort Cavazos installation,’ Fort Cavazos leaders said in a statement.
Fort Hood officially changed its name to Fort Cavazos in May as part of the US Army’s ongoing effort to rename a handful of bases that currently carry the names of Confederate officers.
The base has struggled in recent years with a number of murders and deaths – including the brutal beating of servicewoman Guillen – happening on its premises.
Lt. Gen. Sean Bernabe, the commander of III Armored Corps and Fort Hood, expressed his heartbreak over the deaths in a statement
The post announced that it is increasing suicide prevention and mental health programs as a response
Earlier this year, the Army opened a probe into the death of 21-year-old Fort Hood engineer Ana Basalduaruiz, who had told her mother she was being sexually harassed by her superior.
Perhaps no scandal rocked the base and the nation as much as the death of Guillen.
After Guillen’s death, her family’s claims of sexual harassment at the Texas base ignited a movement on social media of former and active service members who shared their experiences at military bases throughout the country using the hashtag #IAmVanessaGuillen.
Then-U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said during a visit to the Texas base that it had one of the highest rates of murder, sexual assault and harassment in the Army.
He added that the patterns of violence were a direct result of ‘ leadership failures. ‘
State and federal lawmakers passed legislation in 2021 honoring Guillen that removed some authority from commanders and gave survivors more options to report abuse and harassment.
Army officials disciplined 21 commissioned and non-commissioned officers in connection with Guillen’s death.
Two other soldiers have died at the base this summer, one in a car accident with another’s cause of death not yet revealed.
Police said Guillen, 20, was bludgeoned to death and her remains buried by Army Specialist Aaron Robinson, who was assisted by Aguilar
Guillen, 20, (pictured) was last seen at Fort Hood on April 22, 2020, in the parking lot of her barracks. She vanished after telling her family that she had been sexually harassed
Craig Chamberlain was found on May 26, a day after his wife was found dead, and ten days after he vanished from home and absconded from Fort Cavazos. Cam Chamberlain reported her husband missing on May 15. She was found dead on May 25 at the couple’s home
It comes just weeks after the Air Force revealed 11 of 17 deaths on an Oklahoma air base this year were from natural causes – but six remained under investigation.
Tinker Air Force Base has found itself in the spotlight since Military.com confirmed there had been 17 deaths on the base this year, where more than 30,000 service members, government employees, contractors and civilians work.
Most of the 17 who died were civilians, said Colonel Abigail Ruscetta, the 72nd Air Base Wing Commander.
One source told Military.com that some of the deaths were potential suicides, and some were Covid-19-related.
Military suicides are at an all-time high, according to the USO. In 2021 alone, 30,177 active duty personnel and veterans who served in the military after 9/11 died by suicide.