Fort Hood announces change in leadership

U.S.

This change of command announcement at Fort Hood comes on the same day the autopsy report on Sgt. Elder Fernandes was released.

File: AP Photo/Jack Plunkett

KILLEEN,TX (NewsNation) — The leadership at Fort Hood will be changing hands, starting Wednesday, according to a military official.

Gen. Michael X. Garrett, commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command announced that Maj. Gen. John B. Richardson IV will formally assume duties as deputy commanding general for operations of III Corps and acting senior commander of Fort Hood on Wednesday Sept. 2.

This previously-scheduled change in leadership will enable continuity of command as III Corps returns from its role leading the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.

Maj. Gen. Richardson previously served as FORSCOM’s director of operations from 2019-2020, and was selected in March 2020 by the Department of the Army to serve as the next DCG for III Corps.

Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt will continue to serve as the deputy commanding general for support and will remain at Fort Hood to assist with the reintegration of III Corps as they return from their mission supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

This change of command announcement at Fort Hood comes on the same day the autopsy report on Sgt. Elder Fernandes was released. A medical examiner from Dallas County says the 23-year-old soldier died from hanging himself.

Fernandes disappeared on August 17th and his body was found along some railroad tracks just over a week later after a massive search by family, friends, police officials and fellow soldiers.

Fort Hood confirmed Sgt. Elder Fernandes initiated an abusive sexual contact report before he disappeared.

Lieutenant Colonel Chris Brautigam says the unit sexual assault response coordinator had been working closely with Sgt. Fernandes to ensure he was aware of all his reporting, care, and victim advocacy options.

LTC Brautigam says Sgt. Fernandes was deployed to a different unit within the brigade to ensure he received the proper care and ensure there were no opportunities for reprisals.

According to Fernandes’ family, Elder was bullied, harassed and hazed when he was moved to a new unit following the assault.

U.S. Army officials said they were unaware of reports of bullying or hazing.

Fernandes is the third soldier from Fort Hood to go missing in the past year. The two others were found dead earlier this summer.

NewsNation affiliate KWKT contributed to this report.

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