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    Fort Hood, TX History

    Fort Hood was announced as a location for the training of World War II tank destroyers by the War Department in 1942. Around 100,000 acres were originally planned for the base and Texas was an ideal place for all the open space needed for the tanks. Fort Hood was named for the Commander of the Texas Brigade during the Civil War, Confederate General John Bell Hood.

    In 1943, an additional 16,000 acres were purchased in Bell County and 35,000 acres in Coryell County. The larger area in Coryell County became known as North Fort Hood, housing 40,000 troops and 4,000 Prisoners of War during wartime. After 1944, there was a large drawdown of tank destroyers. At the same time, the Infantry Replacement Training Center and Field Artillery battalions grew to become the largest activities on post. By the end of the war, there were only about 11,000 troops at Hood.

    The 3rd Corps moved in from California in 1945 and oversaw training of combat units from 1954-1959. In addition to the 4th Armored Division being reactivated and sent to Germany, Fort Hood saw Elvis Presley as a trainee in March of 1958. By September, his fate would go the way of the division when he too was sent off to Germany.

    In 1967, the Fort became a two division post, housing both the 1st and 2nd Armored Divisions. Both had a major role in the training and testing of new equipment and tactics, including the AH-64 Apache helicopter, the M2 Bradley fighting vehicle, the Multiple Launch Rocket System, and the Humvee.

    Many Fort Hood units were deployed to Southwest Asia during Operation Desert Shield in 1990. After its return from Saudi Arabia, the 1st Cavalry Division became the largest in the Army when the 3rd Brigade was reactivated in May 1992. Units continued support in the Persian Gulf even post war and were part of Operation Restore Hope in Somalia from 1992-1993. In 1998, the 1st Cavalry Division became the first US Division to take control of the Multinational Division North in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    The 4th Infantry "Iron Horse" Division, which had been split and re-stationed in 1995 from Fort Carson in Colorado, became the Army's first multi-component unit. Its main purposes were to enhance Total Force integration, optimize capabilities, and improve the Army's overall readiness of active, reserve, and National Guard members.

    The 1990s saw the modernization of the post itself along with technology including the M1A2 Abrams tank, the M109A6 Paladin Howitzer, and the AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter. In 2003, the 4th Infantry Division, based in Fort Hood, was part of the capture of Saddam Hussein. The division has since moved to Fort Carson and was swapped with Colorado's First Army Division West. The First Army Division West's mission is to provide training, mobilization, readiness, and the deploying of U.S. Reserve Component and National Guard west of the Mississippi River. Fort Hood is one of the largest active duty posts in the US Armed Services.