Names matter. They have meaning, significance and value.They provide an identity, a way of telling others who we are.
Place names – to the Department of Defense – “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,” the department said in a memo on Oct. 6.
In an effort to uphold that idea, the department approved a plan to rename nine Army facilities and more than 1,000 other sites, the memo said and Task and Purpose reported. The decision removes all of the “names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia” that honor the Confederacy from Department of Defense property.
Fort Hood – named after high-ranking Confederate officer John Bell Hood – is going to be renamed, according to The Naming Commission’s final report. The fort will be called Fort Cavazos, after Gen. Richard Cavazos.
So who is Gen. Richard Cavazos?
Cavazos, a sixth-generation Texan, was the first Hispanic American to earn a four-star rank in the U.S. Army, the commission reported. Recognized for his service in Korea and Vietnam, Cavazos “combined battlefield valor with leadership excellence,” the commission reported.
Cavazos enrolled in the ROTC program when he graduated from high school, according to a report from the commission. He led a company of Puerto Rican soldiers in Korea and quickly moved up the ranks of the U.S. Army.
He also taught at Texas Technical University as a professor of military science, worked at the Pentagon, and served as a defense attache to the Embassy in Mexico.
“His 20th century service will inspire soldiers as they continue those traditions of excellence into the 21st,” the commission said.
What other names were considered?
Throughout its research, the naming commission considered 3,670 names for different facilities. Before deciding on Fort Cavazos, the commission also considered renaming the fort after Msg. Roy Benavidez, Ltc. Harold Cohen, Sfc. Eduardo C. Gomez, Lt. Audie Murphy, Ssg. Ruben Rivers, Sfc. Paul Smith, Gen. Charles Young, Fort Courage, or Fort Central Texas.
How will the renaming work?
Renaming Fort Hood will cost about $1,539,000, according to estimates from the commission. The Department of Defense plans to implement the renaming “as soon as possible,” the memo states.
Changes will begin following a 90-day waiting period, or on Dec. 18, and must be completed by Jan. 1, 2024, according to the memo.
The commission recommended that the commanders of Fort Hood work with local “historical societies, museums, and veteran associations to donate Department of Defense assets that will be removed as part of the renaming process,” its report says.
Fort Hood, about 70 miles north of Austin, is the largest active-duty U.S. Army post in the U.S. and a top training facility since 1942, according to its website. About 40,000 soldiers work there as infantrymen, cavalrymen and tankers.
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