Does the military have a suicide issue? Three soldiers at Texas’ Fort Cavazos kill themselves over the last month – weeks after it was revealed 17 soldiers died at Oklahoma USAF base this year
- Fort Cavazos (formerly Fort Hood) is currently investigating all three suicides and a fourth, the cause of which has yet to be confirmed
- The base has a long history of mysterious deaths and scandals, including that of Vanessa Guillen
- More recently, a soldier absconded from the base for 10 days then turned up a day after his transgender wife was found dead in their home
Three soldiers stationed at the notorious Fort Cavazos Army base have committed suicide in the last month in the latest in a series of mysterious deaths on American military bases.
Fort Cavazos (formerly Fort Hood) is currently investigating all three and another death, the cause of which has yet to be confirmed, an Army spokesperson confirmed.
Under its former name, the base is where Vanessa Guillen was declared missing on April 22, 2020 when her family did not hear from her after she went to work for a shift in the military base’ armory room. She was found dismembered and buried nearby two months later.
Before the fourth Fort Cavazos soldier died last week, a spokesperson said that ‘all initial indicators point to these tragedies being suicides; we respect due process and will not comment further on the details of the cases.’ The soldiers have yet to be identified.
Lt. Gen. Sean Bernabe, the commander of III Armored Corps and Fort Hood, expressed his heartbreak 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 Vanessa Guillen – happening on its premises.
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.
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.