Scrapbook donation
Retired Brig. Gen. Bill Weber presents a scrapbook featuring the exploits of the Fort Hood Tankers football team to U.S. Army Garrison - Fort Hood Commander Col. Chad R. Foster at Fort Hood, Texas, Jan. 9. The scrapbook was created by Weber's father, who coached the team in 1959. (Photo Credit: Samantha Harms, Fort Hood Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT HOOD, Texas - A piece of the post's history was donated to the installation here Jan. 9, by retired Brig. Gen. Bill Weber.

This donation came in the form of a scrapbook, which belonged to and was put together by retired Lt. Col. Robert E. Weber, Bill’s father. The scrapbook was originally created as a keepsake of the Fort Hood Tankers, the installation’s football team in the 1950s and 60s, and to tell the story of what Robert accomplished as the coach in 1959.

The scrapbook is now a valuable piece, which helps to tell the installation’s history.

“This donation contributes to our ability to remain connected to our installation’s history. So many have come before us and served our nation with distinction right here at the Great Place. But it has always been important to not just work hard but also to play hard,” shared Col. Chad R. Foster, commander, U.S. Army Garrison – Fort Hood. “The ‘Fort Hood Tankers’ are a fantastic example of how the Soldiers of the past did so. I am personally grateful to retired Brig. Gen. Weber and his family for this piece of Fort Hood history.”

The Fort Hood Tankers football team was announced in the Armored Sentinel, the name of the installation’s newspaper at the time, July 9, 1953. That season opened on Sept. 19 and featured a 10-game schedule, including all major Army bases in the area and one college.

It was the first time since the onset of the Korean War, which began in 1950, that Fort Hood had an installation team. During the war, Fort Hood only offered intramural football.

That first season, the Fort Hood Tankers finished fourth in the final standings of the Fourth Army Football League with a record of 1-3-4.

The coaching staff and players were all on detached service to the Division Trains Headquarters to participate on the team. Overall, there were 46 players and coaches, who came from a variety of units within 1st Armored Division, including, but not limited to, the 47th Armored Medical Battalion, 702nd Armored Infantry Battalion and 317th Tank Battalion.

Robert was assigned from 1959-1960 to the 13th Tank Regiment, 1st Armored Div., when the Division was stationed at Fort Hood. He commanded Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th Tank Regt., for a short time before he was assigned as the head football coach for the Fort Hood Tankers in August 1959.

Fort Hood Tankers football
In this undated photograph, the Fort Hood Tankers play against Bolling Air Force Base at the former site of Hood Stadium, which is now the location of Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center and its parking structures. Fort Hood, along with many other military installations, fielded an installation level football team following the Korean War and into the 1960s. (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

“This was an era when the Army and Air Force fielded teams in the major sports and competed against other major installations and/or divisions. He had previously been an assistant coach for the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe team in Paris from 1955-1958,” Bill shared. “The Army had these programs until the late 1960s when it ended because it could no longer be justified in terms of money spent, Soldier injuries and taking Soldiers away from what they should have been doing.”

Today, Soldiers can get involved in sports through All-Army Sports, in which Soldiers from active duty, reserve and National Guard compete in a variety of sports at the highest levels, to include armed forces, USA Nationals and Military World Games, and even the Olympics. Limited varsity sports and intramurals found on the installation, are conducted year-round.

“It’s part of our culture. It’s important for organizations if you want to have a team building opportunity for organizations, we look at something that generates teamwork,” Bill said. “Athletics is that for a lot of installations, and All-Army teams and that sort of stuff. It also gives an outlet for the Soldiers in this case to vent their frustrations and to turn their attention somewhere else besides what they’re doing and relax a bit.”

Overall, the Fort Hood Tankers did have a winning season the year that Robert coached them, closing out the season with a 6-4-2 record.

Prior to the beginning of the season, Robert shared this with the Armored Sentinel staff, “With a few breaks, I think we can do a good job of representing Fort Hood against all comers on the football field this year.”

At the moment, it is unclear where the scrapbook will be featured, but it is something that Foster is working hard to sort out.

“We’re still working on finalizing a location. One possibility is working with the Mounted Warrior Museum to have it on display to give visitors yet another glimpse into the legacy of Fort Hood. However, we are also considering how our Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation might display it at one of their locations,” Foster said. “In any case, this scrapbook will have a place of honor where Soldiers, family members and anyone else who is interested in the history of Fort Hood can view it.”