Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) released the following statement applauding the decision to rename Fort Hood for Richard E. Cavazos, a military hero who made history in 1982 as the first Hispanic four-star general in the U.S. Army:
“I’m grateful that The Naming Commission has recommended renaming Fort Hood to honor General Richard E. Cavazos, a history-making general who fought bravely and inspired generations of young servicemembers to follow in his footsteps,” said Congressman Castro. “Throughout our nation’s history, Hispanic and Latino servicemembers have served with valor and distinction — despite, at times, facing discrimination at home and abroad. These courageous men and women have played essential roles in our most defining battles and protected freedom across the world. I hope the new Fort Cavazos will be a welcoming community that our servicemembers and military families are proud to call their home.”
In 2020, Congressman Castro and a bipartisan coalition of members of Congress voted to establish The Naming Commission, a commission tasked with developing a plan to rename military assets that commemorate Confederate leaders. Fort Hood is currently named for John Bell Hood, a confederate military leader and white supremacist who was relieved of his rank after disastrous defeats during the last year of the Civil War.
The Naming Commission received more than 34,000 public suggestions for new installation names that would better reflect the courage and strength of America’s Armed Forces. On April 12, 2021, Congressman Castro and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) wrote to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and The Naming Commission to highlight the importance of Latino representation in the names of military assets. The CHC letter suggested the names of several prominent Hispanic military leaders for consideration, including General Cavazos, Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez, Staff Sergeant Macario Garcia, Private Marcelino Serna, and Technician 4th Grade Carmen Contreras-Bozak.
Richard E. Cavazos was born on January 31, 1929 in Kingsville, Texas. A star football player, he overcame racism and educational inequality to enroll in Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech), where he committed to serve his country through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corp. In 1951, he was commissioned into the Army and later deployed to Korea, where the bilingual Cavazos was welcomed as the leader of the Borinqueneers, a regiment of mostly Spanish-speaking Puerto Rican soldiers. In Korea, his heroism earned him the Silver Star and the Distinguished Service Cross. After his service in Korea, Cavazos served in Vietnam, where was beloved as a commander who would fight side-by-side with his troops. In Korea, Cavazos earned a second Distinguished Service Cross. Beyond his service on the battlefield, Cavazos was a mentor to countless servicemembers, including future Secretary of State Colin Powell. In the final decade of his military service, Cavazos made history as the first Hispanic brigadier general and the first Hispanic four-star general in U.S. history. After retiring from the Army in 1984, Cavazos continued to be a mentor and role model for young military leaders. He died in San Antonio, Texas at the age of 88 and was buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.