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Fort Hood leader responds to allegations of 'toxic' leadership described in story by 'The Intercept'

Seven NCOs spoke anonymously with The Intercept about the leadership culture on post. It was described as tolerant of drug abuse, sexual harassment and more.
Credit: File

FORT HOOD, Texas — Fort Hood Commanding General Pat White issued a statement Saturday calling on seven noncommissioned officers to report and discuss allegations made in a story published by The Intercept.

The report, published Oct. 23, featured seven NCOs speaking anonymously about a sense of fear for the wellbeing of soldiers on Fort Hood. Five sergeants and two staff sergeants spoke to The Intercept. They described the culture among the leadership as "toxic" and as one that tolerates drug abuse, sexual harassment, misconduct and more, according to the report. 

"Last night, I read this Intercept article with great concern. Seven anonymous NCOs describe events and attitudes that I’d like to know more about in order to fix it. The allegations in the article are serious and I firmly believe in the chain of command; since these NCOs feel their immediate leaders have failed them, I ask that these sergeants—and anyone else—use their personal courage and call me and CSM Burgoyne, III Corps Command Sergeant Major at our 24/7 Hotline 254-206-1157," Lt. Gen. White said in a statement posted on Fort Hood's Facebook page.

"Leaders must hold leaders accountable. If you want to be part of the solution, please join with the chain of command and let’s solve problems together," the statement continued. "I also plan to invite the Intercept reporter to Fort Hood to see first-hand our 38,000 Soldiers in action."

The report details an "entrenched culture" among leaders that was "openly hostile" toward soldiers. It features the NCOs speaking about suicide attempts by soldiers along with abuses and reports that soldiers felt they could not bring up issues with their immediate leaders. In some cases, incidents and concerns were reported but then saw little or nothing done in response, according to The Intercept. 

A female sergeant shared her own story of rape on Fort Hood and detailed the environment on post for women.

The report weaves in the case of Vanessa Guillen, who was killed on post in April, and how the investigation was reportedly handled by leaders. One NCO said that the case was only taken seriously by the post because of the Guillen family's insistence and the attention they managed to get from Congress. 

Read the full story from The Intercept.