Fort Hood was named after John Bell Hood. A famous Confederate Army general, during the Civil War he gained recognition as the commander of Hood's Texas Brigade. In 1861, John Hood resigned his commission in the Union Army to join the Confederate Army, where he started out as a First Lieutenant in the cavalry. He made rapid progress and in May of 1862, he was made a Brigadier General. His men rewrote the song "Yellow Rose of Texas". Part of the new words were "The gallant Hood of Texas played hell in Tennessee." At Chickamauga, Hood lost his right leg. Not one to give up, he had himself strapped in the saddle and continued leading his troops. Lee relieved Hood of his command after Hood refused to turn over ambulances his soldiers captured during the second battle at Manassas, which was called Bull Run by the Union. Hood wanted to keep the ambulances for his soldiers. Hood's soldiers demonstrated their displeasure over the decision to can the general, and Lee wound up reinstating Hood. However, Lee stipulated that Hood had to apologize. Hood never did. After the war was over, John Hood moved to New Orleans. Unfortunately he was unsuccessful at his business attempts. Sadly he and his wife died of yellow fever in 1879, leaving behind ten children.
The first train steamed into town in May 1882, giving birth to the city of Killeen. The railroad positioned Killeen as the central shipping point for the surrounding agricultural area. Throughout the late 1800s up to 1942, Killeen remained a small but bustling rural community of less than 2,000 residents. When the Army came to Killeen, it was a small, sleepy cotton farming community of twelve thousand. Much has changed since then. In 1951, Killeen's future was secured when Congress designated Camp Hood as Fort Hood, a permanent installation. Killeen offers top notch dining and shopping. There are many first-class hotel accommodations. Stillhouse Hollow Lake and Belton Lake are both a short drive from the city, Both lakes offer a wide variety of recreational activities.
The original site of Fort Hood was selected in 1941. The construction of South Camp Hood was started in 1942. North Camp Hood, seventeen miles north of South Camp Hood, was established after the first land acquisition and the founding of the cantonment area.
Exemplifying the Korean buildup and subsequent military preparedness was Fort Hood, Texas, at the time the largest single military installation in the country. This 340-square-mile area of rolling hills and plains had reduced its activity at the end of World War II. But with the outbreak of fighting in 1950 it was reactivated and expanded. South Camp Hood was designated as Fort Hood, a permanent installation, in 1951. North Camp Hood became North Fort Hood. What is now West Fort Hood was formerly a US Air Force Base. Both the airfield and the base were run by the U.S. Air Force from 1947 to 1952.
From 1952 to 1969, the facilities were run by the U.S. Army under the Defense Atomic Support Agency. It became part of Fort Hood in 1969. Not until 1953 did extensive permanent construction begin, in response to the developing Cold War. More than 380 permanent officer and enlisted quarters were built. Some 200 family housing units; an elementary school; a water supply system; a post exchange; and an enlisted club went up.
In 1961 the Southwestern Division and its districts began a comprehensive master-planning program as the basis for developing Army installations in the Southwest. This pace-setting program marked the first time that photogrammetry, large digital computers and composite photographic techniques were combined with then-conventional engineering and planning processes. A small staff, primarily in the Fort Worth District, made in-depth studies of existing and future requirements for land use, buildings, airfields, roads, utilities and drainage systems. The plans that resulted from these studies became the basis for development into the 1980s. Although the Office of the Chief of Engineers considered the growth factors used in the plans overly bold, time has shown they were very conservative.
At Fort Hood, the master plan called for 1,000 housing units, a theater, library, field house, barracks and officers quarters, a dental clinic and tactical equipment shops. Construction started in 1961. In 1963 ground-breaking ceremonies were held for the installation's Darnall Army Hospital which opened in April 1965.
The work continued into the 1970s as the post's population increased and the Army established a policy of modernizing living and recreation facilities for its soldiers. These projects have not been spectacular for the Southwestern Division, but they have made Fort Hood its single largest continuing military effort. Similar work on a smaller scale took place at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and a number of air force bases in the region.
On 5 November 2009, at least one gunman, identified as a US soldier, attacked other personnel in at Fort Hood, killing at least 12 people and wounding almost 30 others. The gunman was shot and injured when authorities responded, but 2 additional suspects were held in connection with the attacks, but were later released. They were also identified as US soldiers. The gunman was later identified as Major Nidal M. Hassan, an Army psychiatrist, who was scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan later in November 2009. By 6 November 2009, the casualties were 13 killed and 30 wounded.
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