FORT HOOD, Texas - A renovated building became a one-stop-shop for Soldier services as the 3rd Cavalry Regiment Brave Rifles opened its doors to the public following a ribbon-cutting event May 21.
Named “Old Bill Hall,” the building will house Sexual Harassment Assault Response Prevention counselor, Equal Opportunity, victim advocate, Military Family Life counselor and Career Counselor, all in the same building, as well as 20 common access card-enabled computers for the regiment.
“Over a course, after a couple of runs, we talked about what we wanted this building to be, what we wanted this place to be, and most importantly, we wanted this building to be a place that folks didn’t avoid,” Col. Kevin D. Bradley, the 3rd Cav. Regt. commander, said. “But, it was a place that you only came to when you had a problem or something bad happened, and that’s kind of the genesis of the idea of being Old Bill Hall.”
The narrative states that in 1898, American artist Frederick Remington was visiting the camp of the 3rd Cav. in Tampa, Florida, where the regiment was preparing for the invasion of Cuba during the Spanish-American war. Remington was a close friend of Capt. Francis Hardie, who was the commander of Troop G. During his visit, Remington’s attention was drawn to one of the troop’s noncommissioned officers.
Sgt. John Lannen struck the artist as the epitome of the cavalryman, and with Hardie’s approval, he made several rough sketches of Lannen in front of Hardie’s tent. From those rough sketches, Remington later penned the now famous drawing portraying a trooper astride his mount with a carbine cradled in his arm, now depicted on the interior mural in the building.
At some point, this drawing became known as “Old Bill,” and today it is universally recognized as the symbol of mobile warfare in the U.S. Army. This drawing represents a trooper, a unit and a branch of service.
“Today, it takes on a new purpose, and we just kind of talked about the story about Old Bill and what this building is intended to be going forward for our regiment,” the commander said.
The building, however, had no budget and no contractors to do the renovations.
“This was 100% a Soldier-led effort. There was no contract to do this, there was no money to do this,” Bradley said.” “This was completely resourced by the amazing NCOs we have here in the regiment and the great troopers that we’ve had that we’ve borrowed some expertise from previous lives and those who actually knew how to lay tile and paint and the artistry that you’ll see in here is 100% the experts in the regiment.”
One Soldier stood out during the renovation. That was Pvt. Efrain Corona, an infantrymen, Grim Troop, Saber Squadron, 3rd Cav. Regt. He recognized no one had the expertise in laying tile.
“He did this before he joined the Army and volunteered to do it on the weekends, and he showed the team in there of sergeant majors, first sergeants and officers that were in there helping how to actually lay tile correctly and made that floor completely possible,” Bradley said.
“I did this for a couple of years prior coming into the military, so when I saw that the floor wasn’t done.” Corona said. “I just asked, ‘Hey, what are you guys going to do with the floor?’ And that’s how it pretty much took off from there.”