Fort Hood, the sprawling Army base in Central Texas, will be officially renamed Fort Cavazos on May 9, base officials announced Friday.
From that day on, Fort Hood will carry the name of Gen. Richard Cavazos, a highly decorated war veteran who was the first Latino four-star general and first Latino brigadier general. It currently bears the name of a Confederate general, John Bell Hood.
The name change was recommended by the Department of Defense's Naming Commission, which was created in 2021 after Congress ordered in a defense spending bill the removal of all imagery and titles honoring the Confederacy.
Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin ordered the commission’s recommended name change last October.
"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, commanding general of the III Armored Corps and Fort Hood 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," Bernabe stated.
Fort Hood is the headquarters of III Armored Corps and the renaming ceremony — open only to invited guests and media — will be held there, base officials said in a news release. The event is not open to the public because of space constraints, but the event will be livestreamed on the base's social media sites, according to the base's statement.
Cavazos, who died in 2017 at 78, was a Mexican American born in Kingsville, Texas. He commanded III Corps, headquartered at Fort Hood, among other assignments.
Cavazos earned the Silver Star and Distinguished Service Cross for leading the “The Borinqueneers,” a segregated regiment made up of Puerto Rican soldiers during the Korean War. Former President Barack Obama gave the unit, officially E Company, 2nd Battalion, 65th Infantry Regiment, the Congressional Gold medal in 2014.
“As a young lieutenant in Korea, he led his company on three separate charges of an enemy position, returned to the field five times to evacuate his wounded soldiers before allowing medics to treat his wounds for that action,” Ty Seidule, a retired Army brigadier general who served as vice chair of the Naming Commission, said of Cavazos when the commission announced its recommendation last May.
Cavazos also served in Vietnam in 1967, commanding the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, and earned his second Distinguished Service Cross.
He retired to San Antonio and is recognized for mentoring "many" Army commanders, Fort Hood officials said in their news release.
Eight other bases with the names of Confederates are to be renamed this year. They include Fort Bragg, N.C., which will become Fort Liberty; Fort AP Hill, Va. which will become Fort Walker, to honor Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, the first woman surgeon in the Civil War and the only woman awarded the Medal of Honor. Fort Polk, La. will become Fort Johnson, after Sgt. William Henry Johnson, a member of the Harlem Hellfighters in World War 1 who was belatedly awarded the Medal of Honor.
In addition, the DOD is renaming military streets and buildings to remove names of the Confederacy or anyone who fought for the Confederate States of American. Two cruisers are being renamed and any battle streamers honoring Confederate service are being banned.
Fort Hood is home to the 1st Cavalry Division and other divisions and commands. More than 34,500 military personnel and 48,500 family members are stationed at the base. Fort Hood also is a used by U.S. Reserve and National Guard for training and mobilizing.
It employs more than 4,000 civilians, according to the base statement.