U.S. Army Reinstates Slain Latino Soldier Following LULAC Meeting
Nation’s Oldest and Largest Latino Civil Rights Organization Wins Major Step for Family of Ft. Hood Soldier First Called a Deserter
Washington, DC - The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) today announced that murdered soldier, Army Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales will have his record cleared of desertion and his family may now lay him to rest with full military honors.
“LULAC thanks Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy for taking action just days after we met with him at the Pentagon,” says Domingo Garcia, National President. “What happened to Gregory Morales should never happen to any soldier. He disappeared from Fort Hood two weeks before being honorably discharged after serving more than five years in the Army. Rather than conduct an immediate investigation into how or why he disappeared, as the family kept asking, the Army called him a deserter and never bothered to do more.”
The 24-year old soldier was last seen on the night of August 19. When he didn’t report to duty the following day, he was placed on AWOL status, then declared a deserter a month later. Ten months later, only after LULAC began demanding answers into his case and that of Vanessa Guillen, did military investigators intensify their efforts and find his remains on June 19 in a shallow grave not far from the base. A week later, Vanessa Guillen’s remains were also found after LULAC offered a $25,000 reward.
“LULAC is glad that Gregory’s family can now have closure and is able to bury their son, a brave and faithful soldier, with full military honors as he deserved,” said Sindy Benavides, Chief Executive Officer. “What is as significant is that an important decision came out of our meeting with Secretary McCarthy. The Army is working to form a new investigative panel with input from LULAC. This independent entity will help ensure that new protections are put in place for our sons and daughters at Fort Hood. Indeed, LULAC is making sure that Gregory and Vanessa’s deaths will not have been in vain and they will not be forgotten,” added Benavides.
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit https://lulac.org/