Fort Hood is receiving a new name.
As of May 9, Fort Hood will be called Fort Cavazos, named in honor of Gen. Richard Edward Cavazos (January 31, 1929 – October 29, 2017), a Texas-born veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars and the first Hispanic to achieve the rank of four-star general in the U.S. Army.
Fort Hood is one of nine U.S. Army posts originally named after Confederate military figures that was recommended for a new name by a government task force created in response to the racial unrest sparked by George Floyd’s death in May 2020.
Although President Trump vetoed the legislation authorizing the task force, saying that “these locations have taken on significance to the American story and those who have helped write it that far transcends their namesakes,” the House and Senate overrode his veto in the last vote of the 116th Congress. The Naming Commission was formed in March 2021 and delivered a three-part report of its recommendations to Congress a year and a half later.
“General Cavazos’ combat proven leadership, his moral character and his loyalty to his Soldiers and their families made him the fearless yet respected and influential leader that he was during the time he served, and beyond,” said Lt. Gen. Sean Bernabe, the commanding general of Fort Hood. “We are ready and excited to be part of such a momentous part of history, while we honor a leader who we all admire.”
General Richard Edward Cavazos
Cavazos was born in Kingsville, Texas, to Lauro and Thomasa Quintanilla Cavazos. His father served in World War I and was a foreman at King Ranch. Cavazos completed basic officer training at Fort Benning in 1951 and led a platoon of soldiers from Puerto Rico during the Korean War, earning the Distinguished Service Cross.
After the war, Cavazos was stationed at Fort Hood until he was deployed to Vietnam in 1967, where he led a regiment of soldiers and earned a second Distinguished Service Cross. In 1980, Cavazos became the commanding general of III Armored Corps, which is based at Fort Hood.
He retired in 1984 and lived the rest of his life in San Antonio, Texas, mentoring many Army commanders until his death in 2017. Cavazos is buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio.
The End of An Era
Fort Hood was established at the height of World War II in 1942 when the U.S. Army recognized the need for an armored vehicle training center. Officials selected 280 square miles near Temple, Texas, for the new installation, naming it Fort Hood in honor of Confederate General John Bell Hood, who commanded several regiments known as the Texas Brigade during the Civil War.
Fort Hood eventually grew to occupy 340 square miles and is home to around 34,500 military personnel and their families, 5,000 contractors, and 4,000 civilian employees—making it one of the largest military installations in the world. According to the Texas comptroller, economic activity at and around Fort Hood contributed $28.8 billion to the Texas economy in 2021.