Army Set to Receive First Armored Vehicles to Replace Vietnam-Era M113

Production of the first new armored vehicle that will replace the Army Vietnam Era M113 armored personnel carrier is now complete, manufacturer BAE Systems announced today.

The first Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, or AMPV, rolled off BAE’s production line as part of a 2018 low-rate initial contract to deliver up to 450 of the vehicles to the Army, according to a BAE news release.

“This vehicle is going to replace a vehicle that has been in the Army since 1965,” Bryan McVeigh, the head of Army’s Project Manager for Mounted Armored Vehicles, said in a short video on BAE’s website.


Army announces new Fort Hood investigation amid leadership change

Authorities also announced a new probe into the chain of command surrounding Spc. Vanessa Guillen’s death

The U.S. Army announced the replacement of Fort Hood’s senior commander Tuesday, following a series of deaths and disappearances connected to the installation.

Maj. Gen. John B. Richardson IV will become deputy commanding general of III Corps operations and acting senior commander of the Texas facility on Wednesday.

The change in leadership was scheduled previously, according to the Army’s public affairs office.

But Fort Hood’s current commanding officer, Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, will remain at the base rather than taking command of the 1st Armored Division as previously planned.

Gen. John Murray will lead a probe into Fort Hood’s chain of command surrounding the death of Spc. Vanessa Guillen. That investigation is in addition to an independent review that started last month. There are around 40,000 soldiers at Fort Hood.


Fort Hood commander loses post, denied transfer after incidents at Army base

WASHINGTON — The commander of the U.S. Army’s Fort Hood is being removed from his position and will no longer assume command of a division at Fort Bliss, according to a U.S. Army statement released Tuesday.

Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt was set to take over the 1st Armored Division soon. Now the Army will announce who will take over the division in the coming days. Division commander is a critical step in an Army general’s career and losing a division can be a career-ending move.

Fort Hood has been plagued by a series of incidents. Two soldiers, including Spc. Vanessa Guillen, have gone missing only to have their bodies discovered later. Soldiers assigned to the base were arrested in a prostitution sting. A number of soldiers have recently died by suicide.

The commanding general of U.S. Forces Command, Gen. Michael Garrett, has directed Maj. Gen. John Richardson IV to assume command at Fort Hood, effective Wednesday. Efflandt will stay on at Fort Hood for the time being, serving as deputy commanding general for support.


Army removes officer at Fort Stewart from leadership roles after anti-Semitic TikTok post

WASHINGTON — Army officials are investigating an anti-Semitic social media post shared Friday by a second lieutenant based at Fort Stewart, Ga., who said he shared it as a joke.

Army officials said Monday that they had suspended 2nd Lt. Nathan Freihofer from his duties and launched an investigation into a post on the controversial TikTok platform by the 23-year-old field artillery officer. In the short video, Freihofer said he would never become a “verified” user because of the content that he shares before telling his so-called joke, which was about the Holocaust and Jewish people.

“If you get offended, get the f— out, because it’s a joke,” he then said in the video. In text alongside the video, he added: “For legal reasons this is a joke.”

Maj. Gen. Tony Aguto, the commander of Fort Stewart’s 3rd Infantry Division, called the remarks shared in the video “vile.”


United States Army soldiers can no longer use TikTok on government-owned phones following a decision to ban the app. The move comes amidst ongoing worries that the video app owned by Beijing-based company ByteDance could compromise national security or be used to influence or surveil Americans.

2 soldiers killed, 3 hurt in Army training exercise off San Diego coast

CORONADO (CNS) – Two soldiers were killed and three others were hurt during an Army aircraft training off the coast of San Diego, it was reported Friday.

The incident happened Thursday evening, a U.S. Army public affairs officer confirmed.

FOX 5 news partner San Diego Union-Tribune reports the soldiers were on a Blackhawk helicopter when it crashed on San Clemente Island.

A Defense Department official told the newspaper that the accident involved members of the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.

An Army public affairs officer said in a statement: “An element of U.S. Army Special Operations Command was conducting routine training in the vicinity of Coronado, California, on August 27, when an aircraft incident occurred. Two Soldiers were killed and three were injured. The area has been secured and an investigation into the incident is underway. More information will be released 24-hours following next of kin notification. Our sincere condolences got out to the families and friends of the deceased. We thank you for not contacting them during this difficult time.”


The Army Now Has the Most 4-Star Generals on Duty Since World War II

The Army now has more four-star generals serving on active duty than the Army and Air Force combined had during World War II.

Army Col. Christopher Coglianese, the chief of Future Operations at Army Futures Command, tweeted this month about the milestone, which the service has only hit once in the past.

“Last time we had that rank density was April 1945, when we had four five-stars and 13 four-stars,” Coglianese said, adding pointing out that at that time the Air Force was known as the U.S. Army Air Force.

In addition to Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Joseph Martin, the Army has five four-stars running Army Forces Command, Army Training and Doctrine Command, Army Materiel Command, Army Futures Command and Army Pacific Command.


Body Of Missing Fort Hood Soldier Elder Fernandes Found A Week After Disappearance

The body of missing Fort Hood soldier Elder Fernandes was found on Tuesday night, more than one week after the 23-year-old sergeant was last seen.

The news was first announced by the family’s attorney Natalie Khawam on Wednesday. It was confirmed by Fort Hood, a military base in Killeen, Texas, later in the afternoon.

Fort Hood said Fernandes, a native of Brockton, Mass., was found deceased near Lake Polk in Temple, Texas, about 30 miles from the base. He had been reported missing on Aug. 18.

“Our worst nightmare has happened,” Khawam said.

The base said in a statement on Friday that Fernandes was last seen by members of his unit at a residence in Killeen, Texas. on Aug. 17 and did not report to work the following day as scheduled. It added that Fernandes’ only known vehicle was located on base at his unit’s parking lot, and information gathered from other soldiers suggested he had left on his own accord.

Fort Hood said Fernandes’ disappearance sparked a thorough search in Central Texas, with members of his base scouring hospitals and hotels. His family also traveled from Massachusetts to Texas to help look for him.


Fort Hood shows higher crime rates than similar Army installations

When the Army’s top civilian leader said Fort Hood has one of the highest rates of murder, sexual assault and harassment in the Army, he was using statistics from the Army’s three largest populated installations, which includes the local post.

“The numbers are high here. They are the highest, the most cases for sexual assault and harassment murders for our entire formation of the U.S. Army,” Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy said during an Aug. 6 news conference at Fort Hood. “So we are getting an outside look to help us to get to those root causes and understand so that we can make those changes with the point of emphasis being that we are going to put every resource and all of the energy we can to this entire institution behind fixing these problems.”

McCarthy visited Fort Hood and Killeen earlier this month to speak with Army leaders, soldiers, local government leaders and nonprofit leaders from groups such as the local NAACP and League of United Latin American Citizens chapters. The visit was in response to the death of Spc. Vanessa Guillen, a 3rd Cavalry Regiment soldier.

The secretary mentioned higher numbers of criminal acts committed on Fort Hood was a comparison with two other large Army installations: Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), in Washington state, said Col. Catherine Wilkinson, spokeswoman for the secretary, by email. The data set he was referring to shows that from 2015 to 2019, Fort Hood had, on average, more violent and non-violent felonies potentially committed (some cases are ongoing) by soldiers when compared to the other two Army posts.

Between 2015 and 2019, Fort Hood averaged 129 violent felonies a year, which included homicides, violent sex crimes, kidnapping, robbery and aggravated assault, Wilkinson said. Fort Bragg averaged 90 per year and JBLM averaged 109 per year.

Non-violent felonies — such as drug crimes, failure to obey general order, desertion, larceny, other sex crimes and drunk driving with personal injury, among others — averaged 940 per year for Fort Hood. Bragg averaged 822 and JBLM 720.


Former Army nurse, 100, recalls World War II experiences

WASHINGTON — World War II was raging in 1944. American troops were instrumental in the effort to take back France, including the beach landings in Normandy that caught the Germans off guard. American forces took possession of Rome, and a Soviet counterattack pushed Germany back into Poland.

In the Pacific, Japan had gained more Chinese territory, but the communists’ presence limited Japan’s success. The Allies fought back by taking Saipan and invading the Philippines.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, 24-year-old nurse Regina Benson and three of her nursing school classmates joined the Army Nurse Corps right after graduation to serve their country. They were assigned overseas and remained lifelong friends.

Benson’s three brothers were also serving, so for her, joining the Army as a patriotic duty was not unusual.

“She was kind of fearless,” her daughter, Phyllis Benson, said in a recent interview.


Five years ago today, the first women graduated from U.S. Army Ranger School

Five years ago today, the first women graduated from the U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning.

It marked a significant moment in the gender integration of the Army.

Ranger School is arguably the toughest course the U.S. Army offers. It tests mental and physical toughness — in a challenging environment that deprives soldiers of food and sleep.

On August 21, 2015. Capt. Kristen Griest and Capt. Shaye Haver were the first women to graduate from Ranger School.

Five years later, Griest and Haver are still in the Army, assigned to units in the Washington D.C. area.

This week they did exclusive interviews with News 3 and reflected on the Ranger School experience.

“I wanted to go to Ranger School since I heard about it when I was 18 at West Point,” Griest said. “It was an eight-year process for me to get into that school. I wouldn’t have missed the opportunity, I tried to enjoy it while I was in it. I think after about eight hours I was ready to get out. It was definitely not the fun experience I thought it was going to be.”

She says it was worth it.


Missing Fort Hood soldier was victim in ‘abusive sexual contact’ investigation, Army says

A Fort Hood soldier who has been missing since Monday had been transferred to a different unit because he was the victim in an “abusive sexual contact” investigation, the Army said.

Lt. Col. Chris Brautigam, a 1st Cavalry Division public affairs officer, told CNN in a statement that there is an “open investigation of abusive sexual contact” involving Sgt. Elder Fernandes and confirmed that Fernandes was the victim in the investigation.

“The unit sexual assault response coordinator has been working closely with Sgt. Fernandes, ensuring he was aware of all his reporting, care, and victim advocacy options,” Brautigam said. “The unit also facilitated his transfer from a unit who has recently deployed to a different unit within the brigade to ensure he received the proper care and ensure there were no opportunities for reprisals.”

Fernandes, 23, is assigned to a unit in the 1st Cavalry Division. He was last seen Monday afternoon by his staff sergeant when he was dropped off at his home in Killeen, Texas, the soldier’s family told police.


Authorities searching for another missing Fort Hood soldier

Authorities in Texas are searching for another missing Fort Hood soldier amid a tumultuous period for the base that’s included multiple service members turning up dead.

Sgt. Elder Fernandes, a 23-year-old chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) specialist assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division, has not been heard from by his family since Sunday, prompting them to report him missing three days later, according to a statement from the Killeen Police Department on Thursday and comments made by family members to ABC News Friday.

Elder Fernandes’ mother, Ailina Fernandes, and brother, Elton Fernandes, told ABC News in a telephone interview that he had reported being sexually harassed in the months leading up to his disappearance.

“It was an ongoing investigation for two months that will never get closure,” his mother said. “And there’s a lot more that I don’t know; only Elder will be able to tell us, when we find him.”

The 1st Cavalry Division confirmed there is an open investigation into alleged abusive sexual contact involving Fernandes to ABC News Friday evening, saying that he was moved to a new unit and steps were taken to shield him from retribution.

“The unit sexual assault response coordinator has been working closely with Sgt. Fernandes, ensuring he was aware of all his reporting, care, and victim advocacy options,” said division spokesman Lt. Col. Chris Brautigam. “The unit also facilitated his transfer from a unit who has recently deployed to a different unit within the brigade to ensure he received the proper care and ensure there were no opportunities for reprisals.”