Fort Hood is a military post located in Killeen Texas. The base derives its name from General John Bell Hood. The base was a strategic result of the need to have a base for testing tank destroyers. It can be said that this is one of the US military bases that was acquired during the war period.
History of the Fort Hood
World War II played a pivotal role in the development of Fort Hood as a new base for American soldiers to train on their anti-tank equipment. The German tanks proved to be very hostile and very durable chunks of metal to penetrate, and Fort Hood in Texas provided all the range and area where soldiers can train on anti-tank guns mounted special tanks.
In January 1942, the War Department announced its planned acquisition of 169 square miles of land to make Fort Hood. The total costs of the land, equipment, and the construction of the base was almost $23 million. The entire base was completed in August of 1942, a mere 8 months after the planning of the department.
In the middle of August 1942, the Army occupied the fort. the facilities provided training sites as well as housing space for more than 38,000 troops inside the base. The following year in January 1943, the War Department purchased another 25 square miles of land, this time near Gatesville, Texas. This came to be known as sub-camp, and later renamed to North Fort Hood. The area of North Fort Hood housed as much as 40,000 troops and 4,000 prisoners of war during World War II. It was also the area designated to become the disciplinary barracks of the US.
When the United States participated in the World War II Europe, there rose a need to replace casualties and fatalities in the American troops serving on the field. This prompted the realignment of the mission of many military installations in the US, and among them was Fort Hood.
By 1944, Fort Hood experienced a rapid decline in the Tank Destroyer Battalions. Meanwhile, the Field Artillery Battalions together with the Infantry Replacement Training Center replaced the Tank destroyer Battalions to fill in the gap of the increasing need to more American soldiers serving on the frontlines. The Infantry Replacement Training Center became the largest active area in the base, with a peak population of 31,545 troops in 1944. The total population in Fort Hood reached a peak of 50,200 troops in the same year, with the Infantry Center composing more than 60% of its total population.
Finally, when World War II ended, Fort Hood also diminished its number of residents, falling to a mere 11,000 troops by 1945, and holding only 1,807 prisoners of war who are mostly German and Italian.
Cold War Era
After the war, Fort Hood saw very little changes in its operations and missions. However, the post became a host to the Second Armored Division, Army Reserve Units, and the Texas National Guard. They used the existing facilities in the camp.
In 1954, III Corps, moved from the state of California to Fort Hood, Texas. The Corps was responsible for the supervision of training of combat units until 1959, when III Corps was deactivated. It was also during this year that the 4th Armored Division was reactivated at Fort Hood. This move was in preparation for the German Deployment of the tanks, in an strategy called Gyroscope movement.
III Corps was reactivated in 1961, and has since served at the Fort Hood to continue supervising the training of combat units.
Fort Hood Today
Fort Hood remains as one of the largest US military installations. It is home to the III Corps, the 1st cavalry Division, the 13th Sustainment Command, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, First Army Division West, and the 41st Fires Brigade, among others.
The III Corps today is responsible for preparing soldiers and units for combat missions, while taking care of their families and other civilians. Fort Hood is considered as the premier military installation of the US Army. It is also host to a community where there is unique partnership, service, and full-time caring for the retired veterans. It is seamlessly integrated into the community in the area, while enabling its soldiers to concentrate on a wide array of operations and difficult missions.
One of the main missions of the Fort Hood is to provide reinforcements to the NATO. However, the changing world and globalization have prompted the Corps to change its main mission, broadening the scope of its focus. Basically, it is a group that is designed to be ready for deployment anywhere around the world, at anytime of the day, and win and accomplish its mission objectives.
Interesting Facts and Figures
When the Fort Hood was built, the government had to relocate 300 families, or approximately 1,200 individuals from the base to nearby residential areas. It was unsafe for them to remain in a live testing area for anti-tank guns and equipment.
95,000 troops were stationed in Fort Hood in 1943, the highest it ever hosted during the war.
Rock Icon Elvis Presley is the most popular trainee at Fort Hood. He arrived in the installation on March 28, 1958. He received the same amount of treatment as the other trainees, although he was the largest recipient of mails which arrived in bags every day.
Currently, Fort Hood is the largest armored post that hosts two full divisions which are the 1st Cavalry Division, and the 4th Infantry Division.
There are three types of units at Fort Hood. These are infantrymen, tankers, and cavalrymen. They are also mechanics, healthcare professionals, and engineers, forming the backbone of the military installation.
The minimum wage at Fort Hood six decades ago was 30 cents every hour. This was very small, considering that a gallon of fuel cost 19 cents. During this time, there were also only 48 stars on the American Flag!
Initially, Fort Hood was a test and training site for new equipment like the armored half-tracks with mounted anti-tank guns. These were in response to the German tank onslaught of Europe.