A group of Latino lawmakers want the Biden administration to rename Fort Hood in Texas after the country’s first Spanish-American was promoted to four-star general.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has recommended that Fort Hood, one of the largest military installations in the country, be renamed in honor of the late General Richard E. Cavazos.
“Latinos now make up almost 19% of the country – so almost a fifth of the country – and have proudly served over generations in the military,” said Representative Joaquin Castro, Democrat of Texas and member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, says NPR.
“We think it’s fair that the contributions of different Latinos are recognized on this basis,” Castro added.
According to Castro, there isn’t a single military base on the American continent named after a Latino serviceman.
Government decides how to rename bases named after Confederate figures
The request comes as the federal government continues to decide how it will rename bases across the United States that have been named after members of the Confederate Services, a mandate included in the approved Defense Appropriations Bill. by Congress in January.
Tony Gutierrez / AP
Among them is Fort Hood, named after Confederate General John Bell Hood, who gained notoriety during the Civil War for commanding the Texas Brigade, which fought in at least 24 battles in 1862, according to the Texas State. Historical Association.
Fort Hood is now the armed forces’ largest active duty armored post, with nearly 40,000 troops on base.
Who was Richard Cavazos?
Raised in Kingsville, Texas, Cavazos commanded troops at Fort Hood and eventually led the United States Army Forces Command, which made him one of the top military officials at the time. .
He was also a member of the Borinqueneers, a famous National Guard unit formed before the Korean War and made up entirely of Puerto Rican Guards. Although it was later disbanded due to a lack of available personnel, it remained the only fully Hispanic unit in the history of the United States Army.
Cavazos won the Silver Star and two Distinguished Service Cross awards for his service during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. In one case, he was credited with exposing himself to enemy fire and the explosion of grenades.
“I really believe a lot of us got home because of the way he behaved,” Melvin “Brave” Brav, who served under Cavazos, told the San Antonio Express-News.
Cavazos died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2017. He was 88 years old.
What’s next for the naming commission
The Naming Commission – a congressional commission that reports to the Senate and House armed services committees – is currently taking suggestions from the public on what to rename some of the military installations with Confederation-related titles.
Nine army posts named after Confederate officers, another named after a former slave plantation, and two ships are being considered for renaming.
The commission says it will submit a report to Congress by October 2022, and the Defense Bill states that the Secretary of Defense will implement the plan no later than January 1, 2024.