Quite a few things went on in 2018 for Fort Hood, keeping troopers — and their families — busy with deployments, homecomings, training, celebrations and more.
100 years of III Corps
On May 16, the “Phantom Warriors” Corps celebrated 100 years of service to the nation. As the command team of “America’s Hammer” was in Iraq, however, the festivities had to wait until October after the III Corps headquarters element returned. Between Oct. 6 and Oct. 20, a wide variety of activities were scheduled, a two-week celebration called Operation Phantom Warrior Salute.
Highlights included a variety of events for the Fort Hood Commanders Cup, where soldiers competed for titles such as Best Sapper, Best Combat Medic and more, with teams from Fort Hood and Fort Bliss in Texas; Fort Sill, Oklahoma; Fort Riley, Kansas and Fort Carson, Colorado attending. The celebration concluded with a celebration of National Night Out and a concert featuring the 1st Cavalry Division Band and Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band.
World Wrestling Entertainment
World Wrestling Entertainment brought the superstars to Fort Hood in early December to film the 16th annual “Tribute to the Troops.” Legendary Hall of Famers Ric Flair and Kurt Angle, and rising Superstar Mojo Rawley, kicked off the day early by joining the troops for physical training before sitting down to have breakfast with the troops. Former Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter and actress Ronda Rousey had the troops on their feet as she stepped into the ring for the first major match of the event.
Native American remains
In October, Fort Hood officials said the post moved Native American human remains — some of which are more than 500 years old — off post. The remains included roughly eight people and were sent to the Tonkawa Tribe of Oklahoma. Fort Hood had never before transferred bones to a tribe.
A detailed assessment of the human remains was reportedly made by Fort Hood officials in consultation with representatives of the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma, Caddo Nation, Comanche Nation, Kiowa Tribe, Mescalero Apache tribe, Tonkawa Tribe and Wichita and affiliated tribes. Fort Hood officials determined that the human remains represented the aboriginal land of the Tonkawa Tribe.
An international manufacturing company announced in November a major, long-term investment into training Fort Hood soldiers for the manufacturing industry.
Megan Pollock, vice president of strategic communications for Samsung, a South Korean multi-national conglomerate headquartered in Seoul, said the corporation will provide $1 million over the next three years for the Heroes MAKE America program on Fort Hood.
The announcement was made during a luncheon hosted by the national Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturing Institute. The Manufacturing Institute partnered with Fort Hood’s Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program to provide the 10-week Heroes MAKE America course for soldiers transitioning out of the Army and provides critical training and certifications for manufacturing careers, said Carolyn Lee, executive director of The Manufacturing Institute.
There are more than 6,400 Fort Hood soldiers currently deployed to places such as Europe, Kuwait, Afghanistan and the U.S.-Mexico border. Deployed units include elements of the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, 1st Medical Brigade, 48th Chemical Brigade, 11th Signal Brigade, 36th Engineer Brigade, 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and the 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade. The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, is in the process of returning from a nine-month rotation to Europe and is expected to return fully by the end of March.
Fort Hood currently has a little more than 36,000 troops assigned to the post.