U.S. Army base Fort Hood, named for a Confederate major general who led troops into battle against the United States during the Civil War, will be renamed for a Latino postwar four-star Army general.
The new name will honor Gen. Richard Cavazos, who is noted for his leadership during the Korean War, when he earned the Silver Star and Distinguished Service Cross for leading the Puerto Rican regiment “The Borinqueneers.” He also served in Vietnam.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin ordered the renaming Thursday.
Cavazos is a Mexican American from Kingsville, Texas, who commanded III Corps, headquartered at Fort Hood, among other assignments.
The renaming, which could take months to complete, falls under the 2021 Defense Authorization Act that directed the removal of all imagery and titles that "honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America."
The movement to remove Confederate monuments from public spaces throughout the nation gained momentum after the 2017 deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and again after George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis in 2020.
Naming the base for a Latino Texas native fulfills the Congressional Naming Commission's goal of inspiring 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," according to the memo's reference to the words of Naming Commission Chair and Admiral Michelle M. Howard.
Cavazos died in 2017 at 78.
“He overcame racism and other obstacles through his 33 years of service and eventually led the U.S. Army Forces Command, making him one of the highest-ranked Army officials of his time,” the Congressional Hispanic Caucus said in a letter that recommended the late general's name replace Hood's.
More than one in four people in the Army base's home county of Bell is Hispanic, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Rep. Joaquín Castro, D-Texas, supported renaming more military assets for Latinos, and was happy to see the commission recommend Cavazos in May.
"Throughout our nation’s history, Hispanic and Latino service members have served with valor and distinction — despite, at times, facing discrimination at home and abroad," he said in a statement at the time.
Fort Cavazos will be a "welcoming community that our service members and military families are proud to call their home," he said.
Eight other Army posts were also to be renamed under commission recommendations.
Hood was from Kentucky, and he was perhaps best known for commanding the Confederate Army’s Texas brigade, a role that put him in the history books as an aggressive leader who personally led his troops into harm’s way. He joined the Confederacy after resigning from the U.S. Army.
CORRECTION (Oct. 11, 2022, 7:53 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the name of the Puerto Rican regiment Gen. Richard Cavazos led. It was “The Borinqueneers,” not “The Borinqueers.”