By Heather Graham-Ashley, III Corps and Fort Hood Public AffairsSeptember 19, 2012
FORT HOOD, Texas (Sept. 19, 2012) -- Fort Hood marked 70 years with a ceremony that included a look back at the post's beginnings and special recognition for one of the installation's good neighbors.
III Corps and Fort Hood Commanding General Lt. Gen. Don Campbell Jr. and Garrison Commander Col. Matthew Elledge recapped 70 years of Army training, community support and taking care of Soldiers, and later their families, during an anniversary ceremony at III Corps Headquarters here, Sept. 18.
From its beginnings as America's tank destroyer training center to today's status as one of the Army's top installations for training and support to Soldiers and their families, Fort Hood has etched its mark as one of the Army's premier training installations and the station of choice for Soldiers.
The post has not done this alone.
"For 70 years, the Soldiers of Fort Hood and the Central Texas community have worked together to train, equip and deploy this nation's finest young men and women to defend our nation on distant battlefields," Campbell said. "We have always pursued this mission together."
With all that Fort Hood has become and continues to work toward, the community has worked with the military to make this the "Great Place." Campbell acknowledged the contributions that 26 community partners have made to Fort Hood over the last seven decades, noting that without the support, Fort Hood could not be the "Great Place."
"We could not be as successful as we are without the local communities," he said.
Campbell had special recognition for one of Fort Hood's good neighbors, as he announced the post's intention to memorialize Frank Mayborn, a man who has been widely attributed as a key player in the post's establishment near Killeen.
He was a former public affairs Soldier who left the Army in 1945 as a major. Mayborn settled in Central Texas and established himself as a newspaperman and business owner, as well as a good neighbor to Fort Hood.
Campbell said Fort Hood's East Gate will soon be named in memorial tribute as the Frank W. Mayborn Gate. The Temple and Killeen newspaper editor and publisher died in 1987.
Mayborn's wife, Sue, was at the ceremony for the announcement.
"This is a tremendous honor," she said. "I cannot think of a place where he'd rather be recognized."
Campbell said the gate dedication is just a small gesture of gratitude when balanced against all that Frank Mayborn contributed to Fort Hood, not the least of which was when he pushed for the installation to come to Killeen.
"As a member of Fort Hood's Good Neighbor program, he was indispensable to our effort to make informed decisions in the pursuit of lasting. Meaningful partnerships across the Central Texas community," Campbell said.
Mayborn, as president of the Temple Chamber of Commerce, organized and chaired a military affairs committee, which played a vital role in the early phases of Camp Hood, the general added.
In the 1940s, the area that is now Fort Hood was little more than rural farmland communities when the Army moved in and constructed wood buildings to house troops preparing to enter World War II and converted the land to give those troops training areas.
Camp Hood "forever changed the Central Texas landscape from rural farmlands to what we now call the Great Place," Elledge said.
Juanita Faucett, 89, remembers the day when Camp Hood opened. She was a 19-year-old who was more focused on the heat of the day than the history she was watching.
She was also there for the 70th anniversary.
Faucett, whose family was moved from their home when the Army took the lands to establish Camp Hood, has already seen Fort Hood from the beginning. She worked for the Killeen postmaster for 35 years, from 1948, until she retired in 1983.
"I saw Fort Hood develop," Faucett said.
Often, Faucett, because of her position at the post office, was keyed in on some of the developments at Fort Hood earlier than most.
"The postmaster was one of the first alerted," she said, adding that Fort Hood did not have its own postmaster so mail was routed through Killeen. From her vantage point at the post office, she watched the population at Fort Hood ebb and flow.
Faucett said it was great to attend the 70th anniversary and watch a 20-minute video produced by the installation's Visual Information section, which covered the Central Texas' 70 years of transformation and training Soldiers for combat.
"It brought back a lot of memories," she said. "It was wonderful today."
While the day brought back memories for Faucett, Fort Hood leaders continued looking forward.
"I think Fort Hood has a tremendously bright future," Campbell said. "By my estimation, Fort Hood is in good shape as we look to the future."