Military Base Guide: Fort Cavazos (Formerly Fort Hood)
Fort Cavazos, formerly known as Fort Hood, occupies more than 300 miles across two counties. It’s located north of Austin and has a sizable regional community here. Fort Cavazos trains armored divisions on over two hundred thousand acres, a “premiere” training ground and deployment area for heavy forces.
Fort Cavazos History
Fort Cavazos, as mentioned above, got its start as Fort Hood during World War Two. This Army installation isn’t as old as others, but its legacy is just as important.
During World War Two, the Army determined it needed wide-open spaces to develop anti-tank measures against German armored units.
Killeen, Texas, was selected as the site of a new Army anti-tank tactical center. In 1942 the Tank Destroyer Tactical and Firing Center opened as part of Camp Hood (later Fort Hood).
This base would be redesignated (see below) as Fort Cavazos following a DoD-wide review of military installations named after Confederate troops. At peak use during WW2, some 90 thousand troops worked there.
Postwar, Camp Hood found utility as a training center for armored units. It was redesignated as a Fort in the 1950s, and in 1954 the relocation of III Corps from California brought about the first signs of what we know today as Fort Cavazos.
III Corps would deactivate in 1959, but it would be only a few short years before it was reactivated to be used in Vietnam and later in Operation Desert Shield.
Fort Hood was renamed Fort Cavazos in 2023 after General Richard Cavazos, who Military.com describes as “a Texas-born Mexican American who twice earned America’s second-highest military honor during the Korean and Vietnam wars.”
Fort Cavazos Surrounding Area
The fort is a reasonable drive (about two and a half hours) from the Dallas/Fort Worth area. It’s about an hour’s drive from Austin, Texas, depending on the time of day and traffic.
Austin is likely the main attraction for many in the surrounding area due to its proximity and the fact that it’s considered “the live music capital of the world”. There is an active cinema culture in Austin, the city is home to many world-famous music venues, and the international cuisine there is top-notch.
But just a bit farther away, Dallas/Fort Worth has much to offer, including pro sports (obviously, the Dallas Cowboys are a draw), the Jubilee Theatre in Fort Worth, with plenty of vinyl record stores and local music culture to explore.
Fort Cavazos Mission and Units
Fort Cavazos is home to First Army Division West and III Corps. This installation may be home to one of the largest populations on a military base worldwide; at one time, more than 45 thousand troops were stationed there. III Armored Corps is a global-capabled deployment force. Garrison operations include support services and programs to help units train and deploy.
Important organizations at Fort Cavazos include:
- Finance Management Center
- 13th Sustainment Command
- 1st Army, Division West
- 1st Cavalry Division
- 1st Medical Brigade
- 21st Cavalry Brigade
- 36th Engineer Brigade
- 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment
- 407th Army Field Support Brigade
- 41st Fires Brigade
- 48th Chemical Brigade, 20th SUPCOM
- 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade (504th BfSB
- 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade
- 85th Civil Affairs Brigade
- 89th Military Police Brigade
- III Corps (COC)
- Operational Test Command (OTC)
- Warrior Transition Unit
Fort Cavazos In-Processing and Check-In
Your in-processing and check-in procedures may vary depending on your branch of service, time of arrival, and mission requirements. Army troops should generally check in at the Copeland Soldier Service Center, which is open 24 hours a day. If you are not Army, check your gaining unit’s command support staff for check-in requirements and procedures.
You must furnish PCS orders and medical/dental records when checking in. All reporting must be done in uniform during normal duty hours.
Base Child Care at Fort Cavazos
Fort Cavazos has Child Development Center locations for children between six weeks and five years. Full-day, hourly, and before/after-school care options may be available. See MilitaryChildCare.com once you have orders to the Fort, but know you must register your child with Child & Youth Services before placement can be approved.
Those who need additional childcare options should know about the Fort Cavazos Family Child Care (FCC) program. You may qualify for on-base care in approved military family housing by screened providers. Call the Family Child Care office on post to learn more.
Fort Cavazos Housing
Housing at Fort Cavazos is run in a private/public partnership with RCI Partners Lend-lease and Universal Services. On-post housing options include properties ranging from two to five bedrooms.
Waiting lists may apply, be advised the wait for on-post housing can range from two weeks to a year, depending on demand. Any service member “with a family housing requirement” may apply for on-post housing.
Apply for on-post housing within 30 days of arrival at Ft Hood. Your start date on any applicable waiting list will be when you departed your last duty station. Contact the Housing Office to learn more.
Those who live off-post may experience a 5-minute to 15-minute commute to the installation.
PCS and TDY Lodging
Call Holiday Inn Express, Candlewood Suites, and IHG Army Hotels for reservations if you are traveling on TDY or permanent change of station orders. There is a high amount of official travel to Fort Cavazos; reservations are strongly encouraged. If you cannot get on-post PCS or TDY lodging, you must request a statement of non-availability to be reimbursed for off-post lodging.
For rates and registration information, see the IHG Army Hotels website.
Depending on when and where you travel to the Fort by commercial airline, your final destination may be one of the following airports:
- Waco Regional (51 miles)
- Austin Bergstrom (60 miles)
- San Antonio (112 miles)
- Dallas Fort Worth (134 miles)
- Dallas Love Field (134 miles)
Expect to fly into Waco or Austin in typical cases. In both areas, rush hour is a major concern. Plan your arrival with your sponsor or have your sponsor pick you up from the airport to avoid competing for rideshares, taxis, or shuttles.
Vehicle Registration and Driver’s License
All driving privately owned vehicles at the Fort must observe Texas state driving laws. Those laws include mandatory safety equipment, cell phone restrictions, and proof of insurance.
You must have your vehicle inspected as per Texas state law. Base decals are not required for entry or exit on the post, but you must show an appropriate, unexpired military ID or the equivalent.
Fort Cavazos Schools
There are no DOD Schools on the post (see below), but the area features nine independent school districts;
- Copperas Cove
There ARE schools on Fort Cavazos; elementary, middle schools, and a high school, but the Killeen Independent School District runs these. They are not DoDEA schools.
Children entering kindergarten must be five or older on September 1st of the current school year. Call the Fort Cavazos School Liaison Office for more information about admissions and related issues at 254-288-7946.
Fort Cavazos Colleges and Universities
Fort Cavazos has partnerships with a variety of higher education institutions to provide classes on post or nearby, including:
- Central Texas College
- Excelsior College:
- Texas A&M University, Central Texas
- University of Maryland Global Campus
- Upper Iowa University
According to the Department of Defense, “Central Texas College and Texas A&M University-Central Texas currently offer classroom-based instruction, blended/hybrid courses, and fully online programs of study while our other partner institutes offer fully online programs of study.” Some classes are available on-post, and others are offered close to the installation.
Fort Cavazos offers guidance counselors on a walk-in basis; “Our professional guidance counselors offer a holistic counseling approach which includes career/educational/financial aid counseling. “ Options include:
- Education and career counseling
- Credentialing Assistance
- College programs
- Tuition Assistance
- Career Skills Programs
Learn more via the following resources:
- Education Services Division 254-287-4824/4432/285-5697
- Army Personnel Testing 254-287-4292/7605
- Multi-Use Learning Facility (Computer Lab) 254-287-5839
- Basic Skills Education Program 254-287-4292/7605
Main Base Address And Phone Number
Bldg. 36000, Shoemaker Lane, 2nd Floor
Fort Hood, TX 76544
Important Fort Cavazos Contact Numbers
- Post Operator (254) 287-1110
- Reporting In (254) 287-3832
- Chaffee Child Development Center (254) 287-4749
- Army Medical Center (254) 288-8000
- Housing (254) 287-3704
- Barracks/Single Service Members Housing (254) 286-7705
- Government Housing Office (254) 287-4212
- Temp. Lodging (254) 532-8233
- Employment Readiness Branch (254) 288-2089
- Soldier Readiness IN/OUT Processing (254) 287-2223
- ID/CAC Card Processing (254) 287-5670
- Claims (254) 287-2599
- Legal Assistance Office (254) 287-7901
- Tax Center (254) 288-5040
- Victim Advocate Program (254) 287-3583
- Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center (254) 287-8000
- Family Child Care (FCC) (254) 287-5448
- School Age Services (SAS) (254) 287-7950
- School Liaison Office (254) 288-7946
- Copeland Soldier Service Center (254) 287-8502
- Loan Closet (254) 287-4471
- Relocation Readiness Program (254) 287-4471
- Transition (254) 287-3513
- Transportation Office (254) 287-4515
- Soldier Service Center (254) 287-3832
- Visitors Center (254) 287-9909
About the author
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.