Fort Hood Officially Changes Name to Honor Mexican-American General — Here’s Why

Lead Photo: Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images
Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images
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Fort Hood, a U.S. Army installation located near Killeen, Texas, has officially been redesignated as Fort Cavazos in honor of late Mexican-Amercan Gen. Richard Edward Cavazos, the first Latino four-star general.

In 2021, lawmakers requested the Naming Commission, a bipartisan committee tasked to remove Confederate symbols and names from U.S. military assets, to change the name of Fort Hood, which is named after Confederate General John Bell Hood. 

“We are proud to be renaming Fort Hood 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,” Lt. Gen. Sean Bernabe, III Armored Corps Commanding General, said in a statement. “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. We are ready and excited to be part of such a momentous part of history, while we honor a leader who we all admire.”

Born in Kingsville, Texas, on January 31, 1929, Cavazos was commissioned into the U.S. Army in 1951 and began his military career when he was deployed to Korea as the platoon leader of E Company, 2nd Battalion, 65th Infantry Regiment. His unit was known as the Borinqueneers because it was primarily made up of Puerto Rican soldiers.

In 1967, as a lieutenant colonel, Cavazos was deployed to Vietnam where he commanded the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment. In 1976, he became the first Latino to earn the rank of brigadier general in the U.S. Army. In 1980, now a lieutenant general, Cavazos served as the III Corps Commanding General. He was promoted to become the first Latino four-star general two years later.

Cavazos retired from the Army in 1984 after 33 years of service and lived the rest of his life in San Antonio, Texas. He died on October 29, 2017, and is buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.

In June, the Naming Commission will continue its official redesignation of more bases named after Confederate leaders. It will rename the Fort Bragg military installation in North Carolina to Fort Liberty.