Fort Hood, Texas
...The Great Place
1st Cav. Now Officially Part of Fort Hood
Editor’s Note: In 1971, the 1st Cavalry Division came to Fort Hood after distinguished service in Vietnam. This story is reprinted from the Armored Sentinel May 7, 1971.
A spectacular ceremony at the division rapid reaction force (DRRF) field marked the official change of the first Cavalry Division. During the ceremony the colors were changed from that of Old Ironsides to the First Team signifying the official change in designation.
Included among the list of guests were Gen. William C. Westmoreland, Army chief of staff; Gen. Ralph E. Haines , Jr. commanding general V. Underwood, commanding general of 4th Army.
Also present were Lt. Gen. Beverly E. Powell, III Corps and Fort Hood. The ceremony, complete with an array of air and ground vehicles, commemorated this change of command.
A crowd of several thousand spectators was present as the ceremony began with a 19 gun salute to Westmoreland. Following the salute, a huge Old Ironsides crest was raised in the center of the field, marking the final time the division crest would be raised at Fort Hood. With the crest in full view of the gallery of spectators, the Old Ironsides troops passed in review before Westmoreland.
The troops then returned to the field, re-positioning their vehicles in a symbolic structure of the new division. Nearly one-third of new division's 254 rotary-winged aircraft created an impressive scene as they landed on the field. The crowd of spectators could see the helicopters approaching from a great distance and could follow their flight until the seemingly never-ending file of aircraft landed in perfect formation on the field.
As the troops formed in their land and air vehicles, a 1st Cav. Div. Crest was raised in front of the crowd, creating an impressive background for the formation.
"Today, the colors of the 1st Cav. Div. return to Ft. Hood after almost six years in Vietnam, " continued the Army chief of staff. "At the same time, the colors of the 1st Armd. Div. Leave for Western Europe. These color's symbolize our nation's commitment to an honorable, lasting peace in world affairs. They represent the growing success of Vietnamization Southeast Asia and our commitment to an honorable lasting peace in world affairs. They represent the growing success of Vietnamization in Southeast Asia and our commitment to a strong Atlantic Alliance as a deterrent to war in Western Europe."
Westmoreland pointed out that the division would be more than just an experiment organization. "As this division tests its new organization, it will also be responsible for the contingency missions formerly assigned to the 1st Arm. Div. These dual tasks…one anchored to the present and the other pointed to the future, pose a special challenge. I am confident the First Team is equal to this new mission, just as it has met every challenge of the past."
As the general made remarks on the vast array of military equipment present for the ceremony, he paid a special tribute to the individual soldier. "The equipment we use is only as good as the individual soldiers who operate it. And everywhere we have fought has reaffirmed that no amount of equipment or sophisticated weaponry can replace the combat soldier on the ground who, in the final analysis, must close with the enemy in battle."
When Westmoreland concluded his remarks, the commander of troops boarded his aircraft and led the entire field of equipment and men in a spectacular aerial and ground pass in review, the first official passing review of the 1st Cav. Div. (Tricap) at Fort Hood.