FORT HOOD, Texas -- Breaking ground on a museum conceived to share the stories of warriors, past and present, who rode into battle and stand guard on the front lines, the site of the future National Mounted Warrior Museum was dedicated with an official ceremony here, Nov. 19.
“This museum will tell their stories at my hometown and after nine years of relentless efforts to breach countless obstacles, today we have the privilege to break ground for a world-class facility,” Gen. Paul Funk II, commanding general of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, said during the ceremony, “to guarantee that the memory of the Soldiers whose shoulders we stand on today will be memorialized for generations to come.”
The museum has been discussed for nearly 10 years, conceptualized by The Mounted Warfare Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committee of veterans from across Central Texas who envisioned a place to honor, commemorate and instill a sense of pride at Fort Hood and Central Texas. After a long journey, the foundation has finally brought their vision to fruition with Phase 1 of the museum.
The 58,000-square foot facility is expected to open in 2022. Phase 1, which includes 13,000-square feet of permanent exhibit space and 7,000-square feet of temporary exhibit space, is expected to be completed in September 2021.
“This place, the National Mounted Warrior Museum, will share the stories of Soldiers and units who serve and have served on Fort Hood over the years,” Bill Cleaver, chairman of the board for The National Warfare Foundation, said. “Stories will allow visitors to experience what it means to be a Soldier.”
Representing Lt. Gen. Pat White and Sgt. Maj. Cliff Burgoyne Jr., III Corps and Fort Hood command team, Maj. Gen. John Richardson IV, III Corps and Fort Hood deputy commander, shared his excitement for the upcoming museum because of his love of history. The deputy commander shared an emotional story about a World War II veteran he met at Fort Riley, Kansas, and how he realized from that moment the importance of preserving symbols and artifacts to remember the past.
“These items you find in a museum represent people,” he added. “Whether they are here with us today or whether they’ve moved on to Fiddler’s Green, they represent people and the Army is people.”
Funk said he recently read, “Undaunted Courage,” the biography of Meriwether Lewis by Stephen Ambrose, which shares the courage it took for the Lewis and Clark expedition. He said, like Lewis and Clark, The National Warfare Foundation committee members showed courage in the face of adversity, admittedly including his own.
He shared that the museum will join TRADOC as one of its 20 museums. He said he now realizes the importance of preserving the legacy of mounted Soldiers and sharing their untold stories of undaunted courage and looks forward to this museum telling the story of the mounted warrior.
“To guarantee that the memory of the Soldiers whose shoulders we stand on today will be memorialized for generations to come,” Funk said. “Here’s to the ones who got it done, time and time again.”
Richardson said he believes it is fitting for the future museum to be located outside the gates of Fort Hood, home of the historic III Corps, 1st Cavalry Division and 3rd Cav. Regiment.
“Their histories tell the story of the glory, the sacrifice, the heroism, the evolution and the triumph of troopers who rode before us,” the deputy commander said. “The stories that will inspire the next generation to mount up, ride and charge.”