Fort Hood hit a big milestone on Monday when it reached its diamond anniversary.

For you youngsters who have no idea what a “diamond” anniversary is, it represents 75 years and is one of the rarest anniversaries a married couple can achieve.

For Fort Hood, it means longevity and continuity — the post will continue to be The Great Place for a long time to come.

Fort Hood has a huge impact on the Central Texas region and the state of Texas in general. The post alone is responsible for more than $35 billion in economic impact annually, is directly and indirectly responsible for tens of thousands of jobs and serves a population of roughly 400,000 people: Service members, families, civilian employees, contractors, retirees and Gold Star families.

And the post has the ability to grow. There is currently only one division stationed on the installation, but Fort Hood has the room for two. It has the training ranges, the facilities and even a new Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center twice the size of the old hospital.

With all these capabilities and its reputation as the largest U.S. Army installation in the world, Fort Hood is unlikely to go away. And that’s good for the Army, good for us retirees and great for the local communities whose economies are tied to the installation.

When National Guard or U.S. Army Reserve soldiers deploy overseas, they are usually sent to Fort Hood to train, mobilize and return to demobilize through First Army Division West. The U.S. Army Operational Test Command, which leads the way in modernizing the equipment used by our troops, calls The Great Place home.

Storied units such as the 1st Cavalry Division, 3rd Cavalry Regiment and the 504th Military Intelligence Brigade project the power of our nation’s military might across the globe, and when the nation’s enemies hear Fort Hood is coming, they tremble.

Fort Hood leads the way in training, counter-improvised explosive device measures and even natural conservation and recycling.

Truly — no matter what it may seem like to the young, single private here for their first duty station who spends all his/her time out in the field training — Fort Hood is The Great Place to be. No other installation in the U.S. military, regardless of branch of service, has the community support Fort Hood sees from the surrounding cities of Killeen, Copperas Cove, Harker Heights, Belton, Gatesville, Nolanville and even Lampasas. These communities go above and beyond for the troops and their families.

So happy anniversary, Fort Hood. I look forward to covering the 100th anniversary, and I hope for many more years of your service to the nation and Central Texas.

David A. BRYANT is an Army retiree and a military journalist for the Killeen Daily Herald. You can reach him at dbryant@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7554.

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