Army Replaces Fort Hood CO, Names 4-Star to Lead Vanessa Guillen Murder Investigation

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Vanessa Guillen's mural in Houston
Dawn Gomez holds her 3-year-old granddaughter, Saryia Greer, who waves at Vanessa Guillen's mural painted by Alejandro "Donkeeboy" Roman Jr. on the side of Taqueria Del Sol, Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Houston. (Steve Gonzales/Houston Chronicle via AP)

The Army is replacing the current acting senior commander of Fort Hood, Texas, and has named a four-star general to lead a new investigation into the chain of command's actions relating to the murder of Spc. Vanessa Guillen.

Gen. Michael Garrett, commander of U.S. Army Forces Command, 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, essentially replacing Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, according to an Army news release.

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Efflandt has been serving as the senior deputy commander at Fort Hood while the current commander, Lt. Gen. Pat White, leads Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, which oversees the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Richardson was "previously scheduled" to assume command at Hood to maintain continuity as III Corps returns from its role leading CJTF-OIR.

Efflandt had been set take over as commander of the 1st Armored Division, but his transfer was put on hold in early August while an independent team of investigators evaluated whether the command climate at Hood led to leadership failures that may have factored in Guillen's disappearance and murder.

Instead, Efflandt will continue to serve as deputy commanding general for support and will remain at Fort Hood, the release states. The Army will announce the name of a new commander for the 1st Armored Division "in the coming days."

Guillen, a 20-year-old 3rd Cavalry Regiment soldier, went missing in April after she was allegedly murdered and dismembered by fellow soldier, Spc. Aaron Robinson. Guillen's remains were discovered and identified in early July.

Robinson took his own life in July when police approached him. Cecily Aguilar, a 22-year-old civilian from Killeen, has been arrested and charged with allegedly helping Robinson dispose of Guillen's body.

The Army also announced that Garrett, the FORSCOM commander, has chosen Gen. John Murray, commanding general of Army Futures Command, and one of the Army's most senior commanders, to lead an in-depth investigation into the chain of command's actions related to Guillen.

"There are currently several investigations underway at Fort Hood which are tasked with reviewing a wide range of topics and concerns," the release states. "Gen. Murray will roll those efforts 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 the command climate at Fort Hood, which began in August, according to the release.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

Related: Fort Hood Commander's Transfer on Hold Amid Investigations

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