Texas Fort Hood To Be Renamed For US Army’s First Four-Star Latino General | US Army
The U.S. Army’s first Latino four-star general is set to become the namesake of the nation’s largest active-duty armored military base, replacing the Confederate leader after whom the facility is named.
In a recent memo to senior military officials at the Pentagon, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said officials had until January 1, 2024 to implement a recommendation to change the name of Fort Hood in Texas to Fort Cavazos, in honor of retired General Richard Cavazos.
The base long named after John Bell Hood – who served in the Confederacy – is just one of several military installations and facilities the US Department of Defense has been asked to rename by the Naming Commission, created by Congress to remove symbols commemorating Confederate figures.
Eight other military bases whose names were inspired by the Confederates who betrayed the United States by fighting and losing the American Civil War will also be renamed.
There was widespread pressure to remove public symbols of the Confederacy after the 2017 murder of a counter-protester at a white supremacist rally opposing the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee in Charlottesville, Washington. Virginia. The murder of nine people at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015 also helped spark the push.
Austin’s memo says base names should “fully reflect the history and values of the United States and commemorate the best of the republic we are all sworn to protect.”
The fort to be renamed after Cavazos is home to around 40,000 troops and is in Bell County, Texas, where Latino residents make up more than a quarter of the population.
Since its permanent establishment in 1950, the fort has commemorated the commander of the Confederate Army’s Texas Brigade during the Civil War. But it will now be named after a Mexican American from Texas who served in the US military in the Korean and Vietnam wars.
In Korea, as a first lieutenant, he earned the Distinguished Service Cross – the US Army’s second-highest citation for bravery – for repeatedly returning to a battlefield to personally evacuate wounded soldiers in fighting alongside him, according to the Naming Commission.
He earned another Distinguished Service Cross in Vietnam, where he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel, for leading soldiers into an ambush, staging a counterattack that drove their enemies back and exposed himself to fire. hostile several times during the process.
Later, Cavazos—who also taught military science as part of the reserve officer training corps at Texas Tech—became the U.S. Army’s first Latino brigadier general in 1973. Among his roles was command of soldiers based out of the fort which was to be renamed after him.
He became the Army’s first Latino four-star general in 1982 and was tasked with supporting, training and deploying whatever forces the Army could field at the time.
Cavazos retired in 1984 after a 33-year career in the military, which also saw him rack up two Legions of Merit, a Silver Star, five Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart, among other medals for service. in times of war and in times of peace. He spent his retirement in Texas before dying in 2017 in San Antonio.
“Richard Cavazos’ service demonstrates excellence at every level,” the Nominating Commission wrote in a summary of the late four-star general’s career. “His service in the 20th century will inspire soldiers as they continue these traditions of excellence in the 21st.”
U.S. House Representative Joaquin Castro — a Democrat from San Antonio — pushed for Fort Hood to be renamed after Cavazos and received support from the Hispanic Congressional Caucus. When this push began, no U.S. military base had been named for a Latino service member.
Other renaming recommendations include renaming Fort Gordon of Georgia to Fort Eisenhower after Dwight Eisenhower, who led the military in World War II and later became president; Fort Bragg in North Carolina at Fort Liberty; and from Fort AP Hill in Virginia to Fort Walker after Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, surgeon, prisoner of war and advocate for women’s suffrage.