“We won a battle,” Kim Wedel told Sapulpa Times on Wednesday afternoon. She’s learned that her son, Gregory Morales, is finally being taken “off the deserter list and reinstated.”
The news is one of the most significant victories since Morales went missing at Fort Hood in August of 2019 and was found nearly a year later, his remains in a shallow grave in nearby Killeen, TX. Being reinstated means that Morales can be buried with military honors, which Wedel says will take place at Fort Gibson. She says his funeral will happen in Sapulpa, but she does not know when that will be, yet.
Wedel initially said that the army was waiting on the results of an autopsy to determine if Morales had died prior to going on AWOL on August 19th. She said this change isn’t the result of the autopsy though, because there have been “no results that I know of,” and that the change was due new evidence shared with the army from Killeen Police Department. She said that the army didn’t share what the evidence actually was.
Sapulpa Times called Killeen Police Department for more information, but as of this writing, they have not returned that call.
Candlelight vigil for a fallen hero
A candlelight vigil held for slain Sapulpa soldier Greg Morales was a gesture of honor in memory of the fallen, but also served as a reminder this isn’t the end, the case isn’t closed, and justice has not been served.
“We need to fight for him as he fought for us,” Nick Wedel, Greg’s brother, said during the short speech he gave before the balloon release. “The army needs to be held accountable.”
Mark Green, Greg’s cousin, had brought his entire family down to pay respects, not only as a family member, but as a veteran.
“His whole family is army, and I’m a marine, and I married into this family and we always give each other a hard time,” he said with a chuckle.
“But when it comes down to it, all of the military is like one big brother. It doesn’t matter if it’s marine, army or navy—you ask for help, and we’ll come calling.”
Green said that “everyone from the Base Commander down needs to be held accountable.”
Private Greg Morales had been missing since August 20th, 2019 and was listed as AWOL by the Army, despite having told his mother he was to be discharged in just a few days. His remains were finally found in a shallow grave on June 19th, 2020.
Fort Hood, where Morales was stationed, is undergoing scrutiny after the remains of another soldier, Specialist Vanessa Guillen, were found just three blocks away from where Morales was found. After one suspect killed himself and another person involved gave a detailed confession, Guillen’s case is largely believed to be solved, though her family is still pursuing meaningful changes at the military for service members who have experienced sexual assault as Guillen did. Interestingly enough, there was another Vigil in memory of Guillen the same day as Morales.
Private Greg Morales’ case however, is not resolved, and there are still many more questions than answers about what happened, how the army handled it, and who else was involved. Morales’ wife is nowhere to be found, believed to still be in Killeen Texas.
As the vigil ended and the crowd began dispersing, a man approached and said flatly, “Here’s your headline: ‘What the [expletive] is going on at Fort Hood?’ We really need more people to be talking about this
Morales to be honored in a mural
An Oklahoma City artist has reached out to Wedel and the Sapulpa Community about painting a mural to honor Morales, which would be placed in a local business. After a few suggestions, they finally managed to reach Chad Cacy, owner of Patriot Cafe on Dewey Street. He agreed to let them use his wall. Cacy says that they are still decided which wall will be used, but he said that the mural could be as large as 6 feet by 12 feet. According to Cacy, the mural “will not only be a tribute to Greg, all veterans in general.”
The artist is the sister of Ed Lopez, the person who reached out to Wedel and Cacy about the mural in the first place. Lopez says the work is supposed to begin in August.
Kim Wedel said she was touched by the idea of a mural honoring her son. “It’s very humbling that so many people care.”