Fort Hood, better known as the Great Place, was officially redesignated as Fort Cavazos in tribute to Gen. Richard E. Cavazos, the first Hispanic American to earn the rank of four-star general, during a ceremony at III Armored Corps Headquarters May 9 here.
More than 400 dignitaries, military leaders, esteemed guests and community members gathered on Sadowski Parade Field to commemorate the event, share history and honor the late military leader. Several hundred more watched from remote viewing sites across the installation. The ceremony was also livestreamed to a national audience.
Commanding General III Armored Corps Lt. Gen. Sean C. Bernabe addressed the audience with praise and accolades for the military leaders and Soldiers working hard behind the scenes to make the event a success as well as the community’s continued support. He also addressed more than 60 members of the Cavazos family.
“For over eight decades, this installation has enjoyed the love and support of the Central Texas community,” he said. “A community that is quick to welcome newcomers, quick to offer a helping hand and quick to volunteer its services. For over eight decades, the Great Place has been the installation of choice nestled very tightly within a community of choice. Now, given the importance of this installation for our Army and for our nation, I can think of no better namesake than General Richard Cavazos.”
Guests heard remarks from retired Lt. Col. James M. Tucker and retired Lt. Gen. Randolph W. House, who served with Cavazos and recalled their service with humor and dedication.
Ninety-years-old Tucker, who served under Cavazos in Vietnam, regaled the audience with humorous quips about his years serving with the late military leader and conveyed his deep affection for Cavazos during an emotional speech.
“None of you ever knew him and loved him like I do,” he expressed. When I mention his name, I cry.”
Tucker shared that Cavazos believed in mentoring young Soldiers. As such, he said that Cavazos would always ask to spend time with the most junior Soldier of the organization.
Tucker demonstrated Cavazos’ sentiments by inviting Pvt. Roman Reyes, 1st Cavalry Division, the lowest ranking Soldier at the ceremony, to the podium and embracing him.
House served as Cavazos’ aid during his service and later, his unofficial aid for 33 years after he retired in 1984. He conveyed the impact Cavazos made as a military leader.
“General Cavazos once told me if you’re lucky, you may meet one great man in a lifetime,” House expressed. “There are many people here today, who were very fortunate because we met General Cavazos, a humble Soldier and a truly great man by any standard.”
Fort Hood was 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.
The Naming Commission aspired to support service members from diverse communities by giving military facilities “proud new names that are rooted in their local communities and that honor American heroes whose valor, courage, and patriotism exemplify the very best of the United States military.”
Cavazos had a long and distinguished career that spanned more than 30 years, with close ties to the post that is now his namesake, having served as the III Corps Commanding General for two years in the early eighties.
On May 25, 2022, the Naming Commission recommended that Fort Hood be renamed to Fort Cavazos, in recognition of Cavazos’s exemplary military service.
The Honorable Gabe Camarillo, Under Secretary of the Army, also acknowledged the Cavazos family and spoke about the significance of the redesignation and the humility of Cavazos.
“Much like the bond between the Cavazos family and the great state of Texas, today his legacy lives on and he continues to serve as a model for Army excellence,” he said about Cavazos. “And although General Cavazos is certainly worthy of all the pomp and circumstance of the special day, his family made very clear to us that he would have never wanted this recognition. He knew that there were many other deserving heroes whose names will never adorn an Army base and who never made it home from Korea or Vietnam. But this in many ways was who General Cavazos was,” Camarillo continued. “Selfless without condition, motivated by a deep love for his family, his Soldiers and his country. And those values live on in the great legacy of public service in the Cavazos family.”
Colonel Chad R. Foster, U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Cavazos commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Calvin Hall, U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Cavazos command sergeant major, cased the Fort Hood colors and uncased the new installation colors, signifying the redesignation to Fort Cavazos at 9:58 a.m.
The audience watched on large monitors as members of the Cavazos family joined Bernabe to unveil the new Fort Cavazos sign.
“I know you will agree, there is no better namesake for our installation than Richard Cavazos,” Bernabe reiterated. “Let his name and all that it represents inspire us all every single day to live up to his legacy … as a warrior, as a Soldier, as a master trainer, as a military innovator, as a coach and mentor and as a humble servant leader.”
For more information on Cavazos and the installation, visit https://home.army.mil/cavazos/about/fort-cavazos-redesignation.