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FutureStarrFort Hood Gets a New Name - A Tribute to a Texas Hero
Fort Cavazos will soon become the name of an Army base in central Texas, named in honor of one of America's first Hispanic four-star generals who saw service during both Korea and Vietnam, commanding III Corps, which is located nearby Fort Hood. Renaming occurs as part of a 2021 congressional directive to remove names and symbols that honor Confederate leaders from military bases, with an official ceremony for doing so scheduled for Tuesday. What is Fort Cavazos? Fort Hood in central Texas was officially renamed on Tuesday to honor General Antonio Cavazos - one of the first Hispanic American four-star generals and brigadier generals - now known as Fort Cavazos and houses around 40,000 soldiers and their families. This change comes as part of efforts to remove names associated with Confederate leaders from military bases across the nation as part of an initiative initiated in 2021 to confront its racist past and remove names, symbols and monuments associated with Confederacy from public places such as Fort Hood from military bases across the US. The commission suggested renaming nine Army installations, including Fort Hood. On Tuesday at III Armored Corps headquarters, an official ceremony for this recommendation took place with many family members of Cavazos present, along with Lt. Gen Gabe Camarillo serving with him for 33 years and being close friends. Camarillo delivered the keynote speech. Camarillo asserted that Fort Hood should honor one of its military heroes who stood up for what was right. General Cuellar died in 2017 as an innovator and trailblazer within the Army; he became one of only four Hispanic generals ever to wear four-star rank, was decorated veteran in both Korean and Vietnam Wars, and believed in delivering superior leadership services to his troops. Since his retirement from military service in 1984, he has focused on creating a program dedicated to training Army leaders at all levels. By using cutting-edge technologies and simulations in training sessions, he revolutionized how Army prepares its leaders for combat. As part of its response to incidents at Fort, such as mass shootings in 2009 and 2010 as well as human trafficking operations, the military also removed "Horde" from an Army monument in front of it and replaced it with a plaque depicting a sword - these moves come as part of its response plan. Why is it important to rename Fort Hood? Fort Hood, located on the edge of Killeen in central Texas, is one of the world's largest military bases and home of the 1st Cavalry Division. Since Iraq and Afghanistan operations started, service members from Fort Hood have come here for training, deployment and eventual return into their communities. Respect the sacrifice and legacy of those who have served at Fort Hood by renaming it accordingly, in recognition of all those who have sacrificed so much while ridding ourselves of an association between its name and hatred or prejudice. Congressman Joaquin Castro from San Antonio is spearheading an effort to rename this post after General Richard Cavazos, born and raised in Texas. Throughout his military career spanning both Korea and Vietnam War operations - winning him both a Distinguished Service Cross (the Army's second highest award for valor) as well as Bronze Star awards - General Cavazos became first Latino four-star general. Congressional Hispanic Caucus has also suggested Spc. Guillen as the namesake for this post. Her life may have been cut short but her legacy will stand the test of time; her death became the catalyst for reforms at DOD regarding sexual assault and harassment issues. Fort Hood should also honor those who have served there over time and continue to do so today, by changing its name. Renaming would comply with a directive issued by the Department of Defense to erase references to Confederate States of America and has already initiated the process for renaming military streets and buildings. Should the fort be renamed, local businesses could experience financial ramifications. Killeen mayor Debbie Nash-King has claimed it will not affect business owners on Fort Hood Street but this has yet to be confirmed by council members; an meeting has been scheduled tonight to discuss this matter further. How will Fort Hood be renamed? Army base Fort Cavazos in Central Texas will soon change to honor renowned American hero Richard Cavazos - one of nine U.S. military installations previously named after Confederate generals - as part of the Department of Defense Naming Commission recommendations to confront racial injustice by eliminating all names, symbols, displays, monuments and paraphernalia that commemorate Confederacy from military installations and bases across America. However, community reaction to this change remains mixed as many have shown their approval or expressed strong disapproval in solidarity. Fort Hood will undergo its renaming at a ceremony that is closed to the public due to space limitations; however, this event will be livestreamed via social media. According to Fort Hood's official website, it will take place at III Corps Headquarters which can be found west of Belton Texas base. Though originally planned before the 2020 murder of a Fort Hood soldier, that event brought increased scrutiny to sexual harassment issues at Fort Hood and led the Pentagon to review its culture and policies related to sexual harassment and assault; consequently, several Army leaders were punished. Advocates believe renaming will foster a more welcoming culture within Fort Hood itself. Fort Hood lies halfway between Austin and Waco and serves as home for many U.S. Military forces and support units, including the First Cavalry Division, Fourth Infantry Division, III Corps Headquarters, Test and Evaluation Command of TRADOC Test and Evaluation Command and many more. Fort Hood is well known for its rich archeological resources spanning 5000+ years of human activity - this makes Fort Hood one of the premier US military posts. Fort Hood has not only served in Iraq and Afghanistan but also provided disaster relief efforts across the US and worldwide, such as fighting forest fires in Idaho or providing assistance to survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Furthermore, Fort Hood serves as an international military training centre with approximately 65,000 active duty, reserve, retired military personnel as well as civilian staffers at its base. What will the new name mean for Fort Hood? Fort Hood will soon change to "Fort Cavazos", honoring one of their finest military heroes - General Luis Cavazos (four-star general of Hispanic descent). A ceremony to rebrand will take place at III Armored Corps Headquarters of Fort Hood and be closed off to the public while livestreamed for those unable to attend, according to a news release. The move forms part of a wider initiative by the Defense Department to erase symbols honoring Confederate leaders. It comes following several controversies within the Army such as toxic leadership and sexual assault allegations. Since then, efforts have been underway to address these problems by improving how sex crimes are investigated and revising policies so it becomes easier for soldiers to report misconduct. Fort Hood's recent renaming is certainly an admirable step, but some veterans believe more needs to be done in order to fix its culture. These veterans say the renaming should be followed up with efforts to train more Hispanic and black leaders while revamping its operations. Congress recently passed a national defense bill which included language to allow the Pentagon to redesignate bases named for Confederate figures, such as Fort Hood in Texas. Furthermore, nine additional military bases could also be renamed in accordance with that legislation. Other places which could be renamed include Fort Benning, Fort Stewart and Fort Sam Houston - three military facilities named following the American Civil War by politicians who wanted to honor Confederate heroes with these names. Many communities near bases that will be renamed have deep connections to those serving there, yet some residents fear renaming will obscure this legacy. Mayor Jose Segarra in Killeen laments this fact, as "oldtimers" may still refer to Fort Hood. Yet many support the decision to change their names.