Gen. (Ret.) Richard Cavazos

By Amy TurnerOctober 5, 2023

2023 Hall of Fame Inductee

Texas Tech University (1951)

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Gen. (Ret.) Richard E. Cavazos was born on January 31, 1929, in Kingsville, Texas. He attended Texas Tech University where he completed a Bachelor of Science in Geology.

Commissioned in 1951, Cavazos served in multiple continental U.S. and overseas locations to include Korea and Vietnam and commanded at all levels up to his final assignment as the Commanding General, United States Army Forces Command. He commanded at every level from company all the way to 4-star command.

Cavazos made military history in the Army by becoming first Hispanic brigadier general and then first Hispanic four-star general in the U.S Army. He was a staunch supporter of National Training Center, was heavily involved in the development of the Battle Command Training Program which enormously influenced the war fighting capabilities of the U.S Army.

His service during tumultuous years in the U.S. has opened many doors for Hispanic Americans.

After 33 years of service, Cavazos retired on June 30, 1984. His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Distinguished Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Silver Star (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal with V Device (with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters); Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medals with V Device, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge (2 awards), Parachutist Badge and the Ranger Tab.

In 1988 Cavazos was appointed to the Chemical Warfare Review Committee by President Reagan. He served on the Board of Regents of his Alma Mater at Texas Tech University.

Cavazos passed away in 2017 at the age of 88 due to complications from Alzheimer’s. Upon the news of his death, countless Soldiers paid tribute to the man who helped shape today’s Army. “He was such a good soldier,” stated retired Gen. Gordon Sullivan, “… he liked combat soldiers. He was courageous, and they knew it, and they knew he couldn’t ask them to do anything he wouldn’t do with them … he was born that way.”

On May 9, 2023, Fort Hood was renamed Fort Cavazos. Lt. Gen. Sean Bernabe, III Armored Corps Commanding General spoke on the renaming: “We are proud to be renaming Fort Hood as Fort Cavazos in recognition of an outstanding American hero, a veteran of the Korea and Vietnam wars and the first Hispanic to reach the rank of four-star general in our Army. General Cavazos’ combat proven leadership, his moral character and his loyalty to his Soldiers and their families made him the fearless yet respected and influential leader that he was during the time he served, and beyond.”

About the Army ROTC Hall of Fame

The ROTC Hall of Fame was established in 2016 as part of the ROTC Centennial celebration. The first class (2016) inducted 326 former ROTC Cadets who had distinguished themselves in their military or civilian career.

The Hall of Fame honors graduates of the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps who have distinguished themselves in military or civilian pursuits. It provides a prestigious and tangible means of recognizing and honoring Army ROTC Alumni who have made lasting, significant contributions to the Nation, the Army and the history and traditions of the Army ROTC Program.

Read more about the 2023 Hall of Fame Inductees.