Fort Hood was redesignated Fort Cavazos on Tuesday in honor of a Texas-born hero of the Korean and Vietnam wars, Gen. Richard Edward Cavazos.
The post is one of nine U.S. Army installations being redesignated based on the Naming Commission’s recommendations to remove the names, symbols, displays, monuments and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America.
“We are proud to be renaming Fort Hood (Now designated Fort Cavazos) as Fort Cavazos in recognition of an outstanding American hero, a veteran of the Korea and Vietnam wars and the first Hispanic to reach the rank of four-star general in our Army. General Cavazos’ combat proven leadership, his moral character and his loyalty to his Soldiers and their families made him the fearless yet respected and influential leader that he was during the time he served, and beyond,” said Lt. Gen. Sean Bernabe, III Armored Corps Commanding General. “We are ready and excited to be part of such a momentous part of history, while we honor a leader who we all admire.”
Cavazos was born on Jan. 31, 1929, in Kingsville, Texas, to Mexican American parents, Lauro and Thomasa Quintanilla Cavazos. His father was a World War I veteran who later became a ranch foreman of the King Ranch’s Santa Gertrudis division.
In 1951, Cavazos was commissioned into the Army and completed basic officer training at Fort Benning, Georgia. He began his military career deployed to Korea where he was the platoon leader of E Company, 2nd Battalion, 65th Infantry Regiment. The unit was known as the Borinqueneers and was primarily made up of Soldiers from Puerto Rico, many of whom only spoke Spanish. As a result of his service and actions in Korea, Cavazos was awarded the Silver Star and a Distinguished Service Cross.
In 1953, Cavazos rotated back to the United States and was assigned to Fort Hood (Now designated Fort Cavazos). Reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel, Cavazos deployed to Vietnam in 1967 where he commanded the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment. It was as a result of his service and leadership during his time in Vietnam that he was awarded his second Distinguished Service Cross.
In 1976, Cavazos became the first Hispanic to reach the rank of brigadier general in the U.S. Army. In 1980, now a lieutenant general, Cavazos served as the III Corps Commanding General.
In 1982, Cavazos was promoted to become the first Hispanic four-star general and succeeded Gen. Robert Shoemaker as commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command.
Cavazos retired from the Army in 1984 after 33 years of service.
During his 33 years of retirement, Cavazos lived in San Antonio, Texas, and was credited with mentoring many Army commanders. He died Oct. 29, 2017, and is buried at San Antonio’s Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.
Set in more than 340 square miles of Central Texas and with the best and most expansive training facilities to be found anywhere in the U.S. Army, Fort Hood (Now designated Fort Cavazos) is the home of III Armored Corps Headquarters, 1st Cavalry Division, 1st Army Division West, 13th Armored Corps Sustainment Command and other separate brigades, tenant units and organizations – in total more than 34,500 soldiers and airmen and an additional 48,500 family members. In addition to its active-duty role, Fort Hood (Now designated Fort Cavazos) mobilizes, trains, deploys and demobilizes 24,000 Reserve and Nation Guard soldiers annually in support of global operations. Fort Hood (Now designated Fort Cavazos) also distinguishes itself as the largest single local-location employer in the State of Texas – with more than 4,000 civilian employees and nearly 5,000 contractors working here and, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Fort Hood (Now designated Fort Cavazos)’s economic impact is estimated at $28.8 billion on the Texas economy (Texas Comptroller’s Memo – 2021).