(The Hill) — The Defense Department on Tuesday officially renamed Fort Hood to Fort Cavazos, honoring the nation’s first Hispanic four-star general who served in both the Korean and Vietnam wars.
The U.S. Army held a ceremony at the base in central Texas to commemorate the official change, part of an effort to rename nine bases in the country that honor Confederate generals.
Until the renaming, Fort Hood had honored John Bell Hood, a Confederate general.
Fort Cavazos honors the service and legacy of Richard E. Cavazos, who was born in Texas to Mexican-American parents and eventually rose to become a commanding general of the U.S. Army Force Command.
Undersecretary of the Army Gabe Camarillo called Cavazos a “legendary” soldier and said he wanted to “recognize his impact” on the military.
“Today’s change is a fitting one,” Camarillo said. “General Cavazos displayed his talent, his bravery, his valor and innovation multiple times in a highly decorated career.”
Cavazos enlisted with the U.S. Army directly after high school in 1951 and served in the Korean War, where he became a platoon leader and earned the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest medal for valor.
He earned another Distinguished Service Cross medal in Vietnam and in 1982 became the first Hispanic general to put on four stars. He retired in 1984 and passed away in 2017.
Lt. Gen. Sean Bernabe said the Army was “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.”
“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 said in a statement. “We are ready and excited to be part of such a momentous part of history, while we honor a leader who we all admire.”
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin cleared the Pentagon to rename nine U.S. bases last year after a commission referred replacements to the department.
The commission was set up after historic racial justice protests in 2020 renewed attention on the glorification of Confederate generals in the military and across American institutions.
The Pentagon’s effort to reassign the bases launched in January with a deadline for the beginning of 2024.
The Defense Department expects to meet the deadline.
Fort Pickett in Va., was renamed Fort Barfoot in March. Last month, Fort Rucker, Ala., was renamed to Fort Novosel along with Fort Lee in Virginia, which was renamed to Fort Gregg-Adams.
Fort Benning, Ga., will be renamed Fort Moore later this week, while Fort Bragg, N.C., will be renamed Fort Liberty on June 2.
Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia; Fort Polk, Louisiana, and Fort Gordon, Georgia, do not have official dates yet for the renaming, according to Military.com.