The U.S. Department of Defense will change the name of Fort Hood to pay homage to four-star Hispanic General Richard Cavazos instead of its original namesake, a Confederate general.
Federal officials have until Jan. 1, 2024, to finalize the transition. The change is part of a broader movement from the naming commission to have the DOD rename 1,111 installations and facilities. Eight other military bases that derive their names from Confederate figures are also slated to have their names changed.
In a memorandum to top Pentagon officials, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin announced the pending change to Fort Cavazos and that officials had until 1 January 2024 to implement that recommendation. That same name was previously recommended by the Naming Commission, which Congress created to suggest new names or removal of names and symbols that commemorate Confederate figures.
“The names of these installations and facilities should inspire all those who call them home, fully reflect the history and the values of the United States, and commemorate the best of the republic that we are all sworn to protect,” said Austin in the memo.
Fort Hood houses around 40,000 soldiers.
Since its permanent establishment in 1950, the fort commemorated Gen. John Bell Hood, the commander of the Confederate army’s Texas brigade during the civil war.
It will now be named after General Cavazos, a Mexican American native of Texas who served the US army in the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Born during the Great Depression, Cavazos grew up on his family’s Texas ranch. From an early age, he showed devotion to the Army by enrolling in the ROTC program at what is now Texas Tech University immediately after high school. The first act that got him noticed was during the Korean War, when he returned to a raging battlefield five times to retrieve his fellow wounded soldiers, according to the Naming Commission. For his actions, he earned the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second-highest military honor for valor.
Cavazos served as III Corps and Fort Hood Commander from 1980 to 1982.
Cavazos retired in 1984 after a 33-year career in the army, which also saw him accumulate two Legions of Merit, a Silver Star, five Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart, among other medals for service in war and peacetime. He spent his retirement in Texas before his death in 2017 in San Antonio.