Texas Sen. Cornyn requests hearing on Fort Hood deaths

Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 2:05 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC/AP) - Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Ed Markey (D-MA) are calling for the Senate Armed Services Committee to hold a hearing on the recent deaths and disappearances of Fort Hood soldiers.

In the September 3 letter, the leaders asked for a public hearing with both Army leadership and the designated independent review panel of civilians. He would like to discuss the command culture and climate at Fort Hood.

“We are determined to seek justice and answers for their families and to ensure the Army is implementing necessary reforms at Fort Hood, and that Congress is holding the Army accountable,” Cornyn and his colleagues wrote.

“We should have been on top of this earlier,” the Senator said in an interview on Tuesday.

“One of the questions I’m going to have for the Army is ‘why did you wait for it to get this bad?'” said Cornyn.

Recent deaths include SPC Vanessa Guillen, SGT Elder Fernandes and PVT Corlton L. Chee. Chee died last week. He is the 28th Fort Hood soldier to die this year.

“This is simply not acceptable at Fort Hood or any military post," Cornyn said.

The Senator did not give an exact date for the hearing, but he said it would be taking place “relatively soon”.

This request came just days before Congress announced they will launch an investigation into sexual assault cases, disappearances, deaths and the leadership’s response at Fort Hood.

Democratic Reps. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts and Jackie Speier of California sent a letter to Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy requesting documents and information on the deaths this year.

In response to the mounting concerns, U.S. Army officials already announced earlier this month changes in leadership at the Army post. Maj. Gen. John B. Richardson IV was named the new deputy acting senior commander of Fort Hood.

Watch the full interview with Sen. Cornyn above.

Copyright 2020 Gray DC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.