A former III Corps and Fort Hood commander will be laid to rest today at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio.

Retired Gen. Richard E. Cavazos died Oct. 29 at the age of 88 at the Army Resident Community in San Antonio.

He made history as the U.S. Army’s first Hispanic four-star general, served as Fort Hood’s senior leader from 1980 to 1982 and is the namesake of the Killeen Independent School District’s Richard E. Cavazos Elementary School in Nolanville.

Born Jan. 31, 1929, in Kingsville, Cavazos grew up on the famed King Ranch.

He graduated in 1951 from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Science degree in geology and was commissioned a second lieutenant of infantry in the Army from Texas Tech’s ROTC program.

In 1952 in Korea, he commanded the 65th Infantry Regiment, the Borinqueneers.

In Vietnam, he commanded the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment of the 1st Infantry Division. He commanded at every level of command in the United States Army to include command of the 9th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington, and III Corps at Fort Hood.

His awards include two Distinguished Service Cross Medals, two Silver Star Medals, five Bronze Star Medals with V Device and wore 29 other combat awards, including the Purple Heart Medal.

He was an Airborne Ranger qualified and wore one star on his Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

After commanding III Corps and Fort Hood, he was promoted to general in February 1982 and assumed command of the U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort McPherson, Georgia.

After retiring from the Army, Cavazos continued to serve as a senior mentor of the Battlefield Command Training Program — now known as the Mission Command Training Program — which he brought up from its conception, according to retired Lt. Gen. Paul “Butch” Funk. The program helps train senior leaders and staff for combat deployment.

He is survived by his wife, Caroline; daughter, Laura Blevins and husband Jerry; daughter, Katherine Cavazos; daughter, Dr. Rebecca Cavazos and husband Dr. Robert Lyons; son, Thomas Cavazos and wife Katy; 11 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 9:30 a.m. today at Porter Loring North, 2102 North Loop 1604 East, San Antonio, with internment to follow at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.

dbryant@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7554

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