By Brian Martel
After being reported missing on August 19, 23-year-old Fort Hood soldier Elder Fernandes was found hanging from a tree 28 miles from his base.
In May, Fernandes reported that he had been sexually abused by a superior. This led to his transfer into another unit, where he was harassed, bullied, and shamed for being the victim of sexual abuse. Shortly before going missing, Fernandes was told that the investigation had found the allegations to be unsubstantiated and that no actions would be taken.
Fernandes is one of many deaths which have occurred as a result of the anti-people activity at Fort Hood, the most notable being Vanessa Guillén, who was also the victim of sexual harassment before her murder. After her death, the Army created a civilian board to review the culture of Fort Hood. It is clear that this board is a mere public relations stunt, as sexual abuse and murder at the base are not a simple matter of ‘culture.’ This review board did nothing to prevent the death of Fernandes, nor did it deter the reactionary murderer Daniel Perry, who drove into a Black Lives Matter protest and murdered Garrett Foster.
Fort Hood is the largest US military base in the world in terms of stationed personnel, and consequently it is host to numerous examples of violence and abuse. This is not simply caused by ‘bad culture’ at the base. Events like these are common to every US military base because they are the product of US imperialism. These bases train soldiers to enact the will of the US imperialist ruling class through reactionary violence against the oppressed nations of the world. The sexual and physical violence endemic to military bases within the US is only a small reflection of the widespread terror US imperialism inflicts across the world.