Fort Hood soldier Spc. Vanessa Guillen.

Fort Hood soldier Spc. Vanessa Guillen. (U.S. Army)

AUSTIN, Texas – Legislation to rename a Houston post office after slain Fort Hood soldier Spc. Vanessa Guillen was introduced in the House on Wednesday, the same day that would have been the soldier’s 21st birthday.

Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, filed the legislation to rename the post office located at 5302 Galveston Rd. in south Houston in honor Guillen, a native of the city.

“This post office is located just a few blocks away from Vanessa’s high school, and it is my hope that her memory will inspire future generations of students for years to come,” Garcia said in a statement. She represents the Houston district where Guillen was from and where the soldier’s family lives.

From age 12, Guillen told her father that she dreamed of serving in the Army, according to a news release from Garcia’s office. After graduating from César Chávez E. High School in the top 15% of her class, she enlisted in the Army and trained as a small arms/artillery repairer.

Fort Hood was the soldier’s first and only duty station. She was killed April 22 in an arms room on base by a fellow soldier. It took Army investigators more than two months to find her body buried near the Leon River about 20 miles from the base.

The search for Guillen captured international media attention and has led to a number of ongoing investigations into Fort Hood and the Army. Subpanels of the House Committees on Oversight and Reform and Armed Services have an ongoing joint investigation into the base’s policies and practices, with a focus on Guillen and six other soldiers who died this year while stationed at Fort Hood.

“Vanessa’s tragic death has been a wake-up call for the country regarding what has to be done to protect our young soldiers from potential harassment and sexual assault. Renaming this post office won’t bring Vanessa back, but it will serve as a constant reminder of her legacy for her family and the Houston region,” Garcia said.

Garcia was joined in her bill to rename the post office by a bipartisan group of members of the Texas Congressional Delegation, including Democratic Reps. Joaquin Castro, Vicente Gonzalez, Lloyd Doggett, Filemon Vela, Henry Cuellar, Marc Veasey, Colin Allred, Al Green and Veronica Escobar. Republicans include Reps. John Carter, Chip Roy, Roger Williams, Van Taylor, Will Hurd, Brian Babin and Dan Crenshaw. Twitter: @Rose_Lori

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Rose L. Thayer is based in Austin, Texas, and she has been covering the western region of the continental U.S. for Stars and Stripes since 2018. Before that she was a reporter for Killeen Daily Herald and a freelance journalist for publications including The Alcalde, Texas Highways and the Austin American-Statesman. She is the spouse of an Army veteran and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism. Her awards include a 2021 Society of Professional Journalists Washington Dateline Award and an Honorable Mention from the Military Reporters and Editors Association for her coverage of crime at Fort Hood.

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