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A crowd of residents watch on as the groundbreaking ceremony takes place on Fort Hood Thursday.

A project that is projected to bring over 260,000 visitors to Fort Hood every year broke ground on Thursday on the military post.

The National Mounted Warrior Museum broke ground on phase one of the project Thursday morning in front of the horse stables at the 1st Cavalry Division in front of about 90 spectators and contributors to the project.

The project is nearly 10 years in the making and the new 28,700-square-foot museum is expected to open by the end of 2022. It is expected to grow in size in subsequent phases, officials said. It is being built outside Fort Hood’s security fence, meaning visitors will not have to go through a Fort Hood gate to get to it.

Retired Lt. Gen. Paul Funk Sr., who is president and CEO of the foundation, also spoke about the momentous occasion during the groundbreaking ceremony.

“This is a museum that’s gonna honor the fighting soldiers, those who in fact have to face the enemy directly,” Funk said. “It’s gonna be about battalions and companies and platoons and lieutenants and captains and sergeants and corporals and you bet, private soldiers.”

Funk also spent time giving thanks to those who have contributed to the museum and made the project possible.

He specifically mentioned Sue Mayborn, the publisher of the Killeen Daily Herald, as a large contributor to the project.

“She’s a very modest person and she could not be here today,” said Funk, adding Mayborn’s contribution to the museum was substantial. “I’m telling you, without Sue Mayborn, we would not be doing this today.”

Funk also gave a shoutout to two additional women, Eula “Sis” Beck and Coleen Beck, who also largely contributed to the project.

“What contributions they have made to this community and in fact to this project,” Funk said.

Bob Crouch, the vice president of the National Mounted Warfare Foundation, spoke after the ceremony on a day long in the making.

“Today is a day that’s been almost 10 years in the making. Our foundation, the National Mounted Warfare Foundation, was founded in early 2011 with the mission to plan for, to raise the funds for and to build the National Mounted Warrior Museum, and we are here today breaking ground on the first phase of that museum,” Crouch said. “We wanted something that would honor all of the soldiers and units that have served here at Fort Hood over the years and we really wanted to make it a world class facility that makes this community and this installation proud.”

The total project will cost around $38 million, according to Crouch.

When the Mounted Warrior Museum opens, the two museums on post, the 1st Cavalry Division Museum and the 3rd Cavalry Regiment Museum, will close and move into the new museum building.

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