FORT HOOD, Texas - A new memorial, in honor of the late four-star General Robert Shoemaker, has been placed in the lobby of the Shoemaker Center here.
Shoemaker became commander of III Corps in March of 1975. Two years later, in 1977, he would become the deputy commander of U.S. Army Forces Command. Then in 1978, he was promoted to general and appointed as commanding general of U.S. FORSCOM.
After he retired from the Army in 1982, he became greatly involved in the surrounding community. Shoemaker High School is named after him, he served as elected Bell County commissioner for eight years, he was president of the Heart of Texas Council of the Boy Scouts and was president of the Fort Hood Chapter of United Way.
“General Shoemaker was an amazing leader who served our nation, our Army and our Soldiers with distinction,” Liberti Lynch, engineering technician for the Directorate of Public Works Operations and Maintenance Division, said. “We thought it only appropriate for people who visit the Shoemaker Center to have an opportunity to learn a little more about his military service by displaying these items in the entryway.”
They were met with challenges while sourcing materials due to COVID-19, but persevered through to complete the project. The artifacts in the memorial were gathered with the help of the 1st Cavalry Division Museum director and Shoemaker’s surviving wife.
Lynch was heavily involved in making the memorial a reality. She visited the 1st Cavalry Division Museum to see how their display cases were set up, researched, communicated with vendors and monitored the project from start to finish.
The memorial features different elements including old photos of Shoemaker, along with his battle dress uniform shirt, a folded American flag and his many medals.
Some of the medals include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit and Army Distinguished Service Medal just to name a few, but Lynch finds his Silver Star medal to be the most intriguing.
“I find General Shoemaker’s medals to be the most interesting; in particular the Silver Star being the third highest military combat decoration awarded,” Lynch said.
Shoemaker passed in June 2017 at Seton Medical Center in Harker Heights at the age of 93, but it’s clear that his memory will live on for many years to come with the building and school that share his name and now the new memorial.
“It means a lot to DPW to have this project completed for the Soldiers and families to view upon their entry to the building named in General Shoemaker’s honor,” Lynch said.