Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Great Place: Fort Hood

The U.S. Army's Fort Hood, or "The Great Place" as it is called by those who are stationed, live and work there, is home to III Corps, 1st Cavalry Division and a host of other commands and units. It is one of the largest United States military installations in the world.  

Fort Hood is named for Confederate General John Bell Hood, Commander of Hood's Texas Brigade in the Civil War. It is located in Killeen, Texas. We're here specifically to visit Fort Hood. 

The U.S. War Department selected the location of Fort Hood in 1942 for it's open space to test WWII tank destroyers. Today, Fort Hood is home to over 65,000 soldiers and their families.

In recent times Fort Hood units have deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. The 4th Infantry Division was involved in the capture of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Visiting The Great Place we walked among the displays of heavy artillery. Wayne described them to me, including when and where each type was used and how well they performed.  It was interesting, I confess, even though I don't share his military enthusiasm. Unfortunately, I didn't make a note of the details to include here. To keep the photos to a manageable minimum, I made two collages in which many are displayed. 


Not tanks
Ozzie and I were looking for a lift in a First Calvary Division helicopter gunship.  Didn't happen.

This vehicle sat outside the area where the other military vehicles were displayed.
On the side is handwritten in white paint, "Last vehicle out of Iraq" --
I'm not sure if that is recent graffiti or if it really is the LAST vehicle out of Iraq, but I'm suspecting the latter. 

In November 2009, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army psychiatrist, opened fire in the Soldier Readiness Center at Fort Hood, killing thirteen and wounding thirty others.

A poor quality and little picture
for a poor quality and little man:
Nidal Hasan
While we visited Fort Hood we passed the building where the shooting took place but didn't photograph it. That was a difficult thing to think about.  In August 2013, Hasan was sentenced to death for what has been said to be the worst mass murder at a military installation in U.S. history.

Sadly, as I prepare this post, another shooting at Fort Hood is on being reported on the television news. What a strange coincidence.

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