City of Killeen creates poll for residents to chime in on new name for Fort Hood
KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - The City of Killeen is asking the communities around Fort Hood to vote for a suggested name change for the military installation.
There are eleven names on the list of Killeen area military members and other possibilities.
Fort Hood was originally Camp Hood, named after Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood. Hood served with the U.S. for a few years before offering his services to the state of Texas and the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Author and historian Allen Mesch said the name was simply a local tie to the camp at the time of its inception. “It was a way of honoring these Confederate veterans,” Mesch said, “It was in Texas and it made sense to name it that in honor of the Texas Brigade.”
Area residents can vote on what they would prefer for the new name until April 20. The final decision will ultimately be made by the Department of the Defense.
The options included in the poll include:
MSG ROY P. BENAVIDEZ: Benavidez enlisted in the Army National Guard in 1952, and joined the Army in 1955. He spent the majority of his career in the 82d Airborne Division and Special Forces and retired in 1976 with the rank of Master Sergeant. “MSG Benavidez represents the highest ideals of endurance, commitment, resilience, camaraderie, and valor,” the City said.
GEN RICHARD E. CAVAZOS-: Cavazos served in the Korean and Vietnam wars and became the Army’s first Hispanic four-star general. He retired in 1984 and died in 2017. He commanded a brigade, a division, and III Corps. Cavazos concluded his career as commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command. He was reportedly influential in the development of the Battle Command Training Program and widely respected as a mentor, especially by other Hispanic officers.
SSG RUBEN RIVERS - Rivers enlisted in 1942 and was sent overseas to Europe in 1944. On 19 November 1944, he refused to retreat and instead engaged enemy anti tank guns to cover his comrades. He was killed and the rest of his crew wounded. A recommendation for the Medal of Honor was ignored until a review proving racial discrimination resulted in its award in 1997. “His fighting spirit and daring leadership exemplify the highest traditions of military service,” the City said.
SFC PAUL R. SMITH - Smith fought in the Gulf War in 1991. He was deployed to Bosnia in 1996 and to Kosovo in 2001. He also participated in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously, one of the first to be awarded in the Global War On Terror. Smith’s actions were distinguished by extraordinary heroism and uncommon valor above the call of duty.
GEN DONN A. STARRY- A long-serving soldier-scholar who oversaw strategic and tactical reforms that modernized the military, GEN Starry epitomizes both a lifetime of service and the intellectual vitality that maintains the excellence and effectiveness of the U.S. Army. GEN Starry’s Armored Cavalry command reflects Fort Hood’s Armor and Cavalry traditions.
BG CHARLES YOUNG: Young was born into slavery in Kentucky in 1864, but would eventually graduate from West Point in 1889, only the third African American to do so at that time. He was forcibly retired in 1917, but was called back to duty in 1918, and died in service in 1922. In 2022 - on the centennial of his death - Young was promoted to Brigadier General. “He was a deeply qualified officer who broke barriers and led by example despite clear discrimination against him. His leadership inspired many that would follow. BG Young’s Cavalry service is in keeping with the cavalry tradition at Fort Hood,” the City said.
FORT CENTRAL TEXAS: This name refers to the installation’s location and to the land and communities that have historically supported its mission.
FORT COURAGE: The City said this name would reflect a key quality for any soldier that the installation seeks to instill in its personnel, along with honor in their actions.
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