FORT CAVAZOS — It’s official: The name of Fort Hood is now Fort Cavazos.
Army leaders on the post adjacent to Killeen made the name change during a ceremony Tuesday morning.
The ceremony marked the end of an era. To mark the official name change, Fort Hood garrison’s colors — a large yellow and red flag — were cased for the final time on post at the III Armored Corps headquarters.
Immediately after, a new set of colors were unfurled for the very first time, signalling to the world that Fort Cavazos garrison was ready to begin its duty as “The Great Place.”
First stood up as Camp Hood in October 1942, the post did not become Fort Hood until turned into a permanent installation in April 1950, nearly eight years later. After more than eight decades of a Central Texas U.S. Army post named after Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood, the redesignation honors a Texas son with deep ties to the post as one of its former III Corps and Fort Hood commanders who went on to command the U.S. Army Forces Command as the Army’s first four-star Hispanic general — Gen. Richard E. Cavazos.
More than 300 people attended the ceremony, including about 60 family members of Cavazos.
“What we do in this renaming and redesignation process is look for soldiers who reflect our values, who recognize and exemplify what we want the Army to look like,” said Under Secretary of the Army Gabe Camarillo, the key address speaker for the ceremony. “We want to show what the Army can be. When you look at (Cavazos’) record, what he has done as a highly decorated soldier, somebody who cared passionately about his troops, somebody who took the time to train and mentor and was also innovative, not only on the battlefield but off of it.
“We have no better example than General Cavazos, so giving him and us the opportunity to reflect that in this redesignation ceremony, is something we are very excited about.”
During the ceremony, retired. Lt. Col. James M. Tucker, 90, who served under Cavazos during the Vietnam War, spoke about his late commander and just what he meant to the soldiers who served under him.
“Let me tell you about Cavazos and what he would do,” he said. “He’d go to a unit, he would ask to see the most junior members of that organization, and he would always spend time with the lowest ranking soldier he could find.”
With that, Tucker requested from Lt. Gen. Sean C. Bernabe, the III Corps and Fort Cavazos commander, to send his most junior soldier under his command to the podium as he spoke. After speaking of what made Cavazos a “soldier’s soldier,” he then gave the young private a hug and briefly spoke with the soldier, thanking him for his service.
“I haven’t hugged a grunt in over 40 years,” he said. “I was just a dumb grunt, but the smartest dumb grunt I ever knew was Dick Cavazos.
“When I mention his name, I cry.”
During the ceremony, Bernabe spoke about the importance of one of the largest military installations in the world and the impact the post has upon the nation’s might, regardless of the post’s name.
“For over eight decades, The Great Place has been the installation of choice, nestled very tightly in a community of choices,” the commander said. “Now, given the importance of this installation to our Army and for our nation, I can think of no better name change than General Richard Cavazos. I did not know General Cavazos, but I wish I had.”
Bernabe called for Cavazos’ legacy to live on and inspire others.
“Let his name, and all that it represents, inspire us all every single day to live up to his legacy. As a warrior, as a soldier’s soldier, as a master trainer, as a military innovator, as a coach and mentor and as a humble servant leader,” said the three-star general.
Retired Lt. Gen. Randolph W. House, who served as Cavazos’ aide-de-camp while he was III Corps and Fort Hood commander, spent the 33 years after Cavazos retired as his unofficial aide.
“General Cavazos once told me, if you’re lucky, you will meet one great man in a lifetime. There are many people here today, me included, who were very fortunate because we met General Cavazos,” he said. “A humble soldier and a truly great man by any standard.
“General Cavazos was a ‘King’s man.’ He was born on the King Ranch, where at a very young age he began to learn how to lead, teach, coach, mentor and motivate others,” House added. “During my lifetime, he was the Army’s most gifted orator. He was able to inspire and motivate like no other.”
After the Fort Hood colors were cased and the Fort Cavazos colors officially unfurled for the first time, members of the Cavazos family joined Bernabe to watch on a large screen as the main Bernie Beck Gate sign was unveiled to reveal the post’s new name.
“The effort to rename and redesignate Fort Hood to Fort Cavazos was first driven by Congress,” Camarillo said. “It was legislation that recognized that all the installations have to reflect the values we have as a country and as the Army. I couldn’t be prouder of General Cavazos’ contributions. He is an example in many ways of what makes the Army great.”
Cavazos was the III Corps and Fort Hood commander from 1980-1982. His name was already memorialized in the Killeen-Fort Cavazos area with an elementary school named after him in Nolanville.
To read more about the Fort Cavazos redesignation ceremony and to see more photos of the event, see today’s edition of the Fort Cavazos Herald.
Racist, stupid, costly, unnecessary & woke . It'll always be FORT HOOD.
Renaming this installation is just as racist an act as the left proclaimed it to be under the name of John Bell Hood! They've accomplished nothing in their feeble attempt to appease 13% of the population.
I spent 35 years of my life in service to this country at Fort Hood. For me, it will never have another name.
I am Puerto Rican (a Latino), a former SSG from the 1970s, and I have to agree with Hacksaw - it is and will always be FORT HOOD!
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