KILLEEN, Texas (KXAN) — Patty Troyan remembers her son Logan always wanted to serve his country.
“He was amazing. He was the all-American kid,” she said. “He was football captain, class president, and he always wanted a career in the military.”
Eventually, Logan Castello’s dream came true. Troyan said he enlisted and began basic training at Fort Benning in Georgia but had to “recycle” to another unit after fracturing his hips. In June 2019, Logan moved to Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas.
A few months later, she learned her son had died by suicide.
“Our world stopped on November 20,” she said. “I have no idea what happened between June and November. He left here happy, excited, hopeful.”
Nearly 11 months after Logan’s death, Troyan told KXAN she feels the military let her son down. She said her family was still waiting on the results of his death investigation, his autopsy report and other details about the months leading up to her son’s death.
“Logan isn’t the only person to take his own life at Fort Hood. Why is it so prevalent, and why aren’t they helping these young soldiers?” she asked.
A spokesperson for the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center’s Department of Behavioral Health said, “Immediate action is taken to keep a patient safe whenever any Soldier discloses suicidal ideation, self-directed violence or preparatory behavior.”
The spokesperson said they would evaluate whether the Soldier needed inpatient hospitalization or treatment from one of their six outpatient behavioral health clinics or chaplain resources. They noted the Soldier’s commander would notified.
“In close consultation with supporting behavioral health providers, unit leadership can provide increased supervision in the context of mitigating risk, including, but not limited to, establishing a time-limited plan to provide increased supervision which may include asking a Soldier to voluntarily secure weapons, restrict access to military weapons, conduct an inspection of
barracks to remove hazardous items, encourage period check-ins with a Soldier,” the spokesperson said.
The Army post also manages a separate Suicide Prevention Program, but Troyan still doesn’t know if her son was receiving any sort of help or counseling.
Last week, two congressional subcommittees announced an investigation into the chain of command at Fort Hood, following a recent spate of deaths at the Central Texas Army post. Plus, the Army removed the senior commander at the post.
The change in command comes as officials recently reported the base has the highest number of cases of soldier murders and sexual assaults among all Army installations.
Advocates and family members of Vanessa Guillen are calling for more to be done. Guillen disappeared from Fort Hood, where she was stationed, on April 22, and Army officials confirmed July 6 that her remains had been found. According to a federal complaint, investigators said she was bludgeoned to death on base by a fellow soldier, who later killed himself.
In another incident, military officials reported the death of Pvt. Corlton L. Chee after he collapsed following training on Aug. 28.
Before his death, Troyan said Logan had been promoted to Private First Class. She noted the Army gave her son a beautiful memorial service, but she’s calling for more answers for families like hers.
“There are so many missing pieces to the puzzle,” she said. “If they had put half as much effort into saving him, we wouldn’t have needed a funeral or the memorial.”
In a recent interview with NBC News, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy commented on the deaths at Fort Hood.
“We need to make people our number one priority instead of readiness,” he said. “We have to make sure people are being taken care of — that we understand their challenges, we understand their ambitions, so they reach their potential. So that we can stem the tide of things like sexual harassment, assault, and suicide and racial tension because that’s tearing us apart. It’s a huge challenge that we face in the country.”
Keith Hotle, Chief Program Officer for Stop Solider Suicide, said the military has “tremendous” behavior health personnel on staff, but there is a movement to change the culture — to help soldiers feel more comfortable asking for help and taking advantage of those resources.
“Let the person at-risk know you are not afraid to talk about it,” he said. “That you are able to ask that question, you are able to have that conversation.”
His organization offers mental health resources interdependent to active duty military and veterans nationwide.
To get help or more information, click here.
Troyan said she hopes someone tried to have that conversation with her son, but with every new headline about a death at Fort Hood, she grows more uncertain.
Still, despite her loss, her message is simple: she wants everyone to remember the names of these soldiers.
“They went their to start their lives, not to end them.” she said. “I want people to know not just how he died. I want them to know that he lived — and that he was exceptional.”