Despite being stationed at Fort Hood as a tanker with the 1st Cavalry Division about 20 years ago, and despite living in the Killeen-Fort Hood area for the past three years, I had never ventured onto West Fort Hood until last week.
Sure, I go onto post often — a couple times per week or more to cover various events and interview soldiers and commanders. And I always feel as if I’m going into a new zone when I pass through the main gate from Killeen into Fort Hood.
I’m not sure why, but leaving the hustle and bustle of the high speed of the highway of Killeen, and entering the more regulated Army streets of Fort Hood gives me a sense of peace. It also brings back a lot of memories for me from my time as a soldier at Fort Hood.
Whenever I drive around Fort Hood, I always take notice of the buildings — some that I remember from my time as a soldier here in the mid-1990s, and some that I have no memory of because they were built since then.
If you drive with me on post, you’ll hear a lot of this: “That building is new. … I remember that building… it used to be a bowling alley. … That building has been there a long time.”
Not very exciting, I know.
Last week, however, I was on a part of Fort Hood where I had never really been before: West Fort Hood.
Geographically speaking, it’s kind of southwest Fort Hood, and it comprises an area south of U.S. Highway 190, so in most cases, one must drive through a different gate to get to it.
And that’s just what I and other reporters did last Wednesday when we went out to an assumption of command ceremony at the headquarters of Operational Test Command, one of the units based at West Fort Hood.
By coincidence, I also attended a homecoming ceremony and a change of command ceremony at West Fort Hood last week. So, I had never been to West Fort Hood until last week, when I went on three different occasions.
It’s a bit different than the rest of post. It’s seems a little bit more spread out, with fewer buildings, fewer people and a bit more wildlife between buildings.
And, you know what? I liked it. It seemed to give me that peace that I could be hundreds of miles from a city. Even though Killeen and Fort Hood’s busier main garrison was nearby, I couldn’t tell.
Jacob Brooks, a former Army tanker, is the Fort Hood Herald editor and military editor of the Killeen Daily Herald. He was stationed at Fort Hood and served with the 1st Cavalry Division from 1993 to 1996. Contact him at email@example.com or 254-501-7468.